The ranking comes from Advertiser Perceptions, a company that surveys thousands of advertisers each spring and fall to see what they think about media brands with whom they might do business. The polls measure diffferent qualities that contribute to overall brand strength. ABC took the top honor for a media company, as well as for broadcast TV brand strength and sales knowledge. Another Disney-owned property, ESPN, won the brand strength competition among cable networks. Here’s the list of Media Brand winners in categories that also include print, digital, mobile, and ad networks:
This is a big problem for traditional news outlets, including broadcast and cable TV, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Advertising dollars are moving so quickly to the Web that by 2016 it could be the single biggest platform for selling goods and services. But news organizations have done a lousy job of persuading their advertisers to follow them online. For example, it’s hard to watch a network TV newscast without seeing a promo for a prescription or over-the-counter medication; they’re collectively the largest category with 16% of the ads. But they’re harder to find if you turn to the newscasts’ Web sites: Financial services dominate that world with 31.3% of the online ads vs about 8% for the medicines. There’s a similar story in cable news: For example, CNN gets most of its advertising from motion pictures and TV, insurance, and telecommunications. On CNN.com, though, the top categories are financial, toiletries and cosmetics, and job search.
The newscasters bear some of the blame. Most rely on static banner ads and sponsored links. Despite their roots in video, the TV newscasters sell few video ads: they accounted for just 2.5% of cable news’ online ads and much less than that for the network TV sites. If the pattern persists then it “throws into question the financial future of journalism as audiences continue to migrate online,” Pew says.
Ofcom, Britain’s communications regulator and competition authority, today announced the conclusion of a review of how TV advertising is bought and sold in the UK. Back in June, the organization stated that it would look into the business of advertising to determine if certain practices could prevent, restrict or distort competition. Particular areas of concern were transparency of pricing; bundling of airtime combined with the possible market strength of different companies; and the limited evolution of the trading model and its possible impact on innovation. Having found no clear evidence of harm to consumers, the group opted not to refer the matter to the Competition Commission. Separately, Ofcom has concluded that the rules governing the number of minutes of advertising on UK TV are sufficient and for the moment require no action.
Broadcasters and Pay TV distributors will have to make sure that ads have the same average volume as the shows they accompany according to the rules the FCC adopted today. It will take a year before the regulations that implement a congressional mandate — the 2010 Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (also known as the CALM Act) – take effect. When they do, consumers shouldn’t have to lunge for the remote control to avoid volume spikes for sales pitches. While the order sounds straightforward, the industry had big concerns: Cable and satellite companies warned the FCC that they might not be able to monitor all of the channels they carry. To deal with that, the FCC says the distributors are off the hook if they can get channels to certify that their ads comply with the rules. Large pay TV providers will be subject to spot checks every two years; regulators will investigate smaller operators if there’s a pattern of complaints. In addition, pay TV and broadcast companies urged commissioners to
Nobody delivers the pro-broadcast network message more effectively than CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack. But he was far more bullish than usual today at his yearly industry forecast during the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. He says the broadcast networks are in for a great 2012 with ad sales up 7.3% — and not just because of the quadrennial effect. Even without the impact of political spending and the Olympics, broadcast sales would be up 5%, he says. That’s partly due to a pickup in the economy. “We remain confident that we’re on the road to recovery,” although he isn’t so sure about the pace, he says. The biggest drag on the economy, he says, is government spending cuts. ”This is also what is keeping the unemployment rate so high,” he says.
But he also expects broadcasters to begin winning back some of the $1.6B in ad dollars that have migrated to cable. He says that the move toward cable was largely driven by the growth in the number of channels, and that “has run its course.” Meanwhile, technologies that encourage time shifting — including DVRs and VOD — disproportionately help broadcasters. DVR time shifting has helped boost the major networks’ audience share to 45% from 43%. For example, Modern Family gains 8M viewers from time shifters — that’s the largest playback audience — while NCIS gains 5M. He’s also encouraged that viewers are starting to accept ads on VOD; CBS saw 70M VOD views of its primetime shows …
Three of the most prominent ad-forecasting firms kicked off the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference this morning — as they typically do at this event — by unveiling their updated forecasts for 2012. And they pretty much agree: 2012 will be better than 2011. MagnaGlobal is on the conservative side, projecting 3.2% growth in North America, and GroupM is more bullish at 4%. MagnaGlobal EVP Vincent Letang says that the U.S. ad market will benefit from the strongest-ever quadrennial effect with $2.4B hitting the market from political campaigns, and $600M related to the Summer Olympics in London. That’s why GroupM Futures Director Adam Smith warns that the ad-growth number in 2013 — without the quadrennial effect – ”might be harder to look at.” The forecasters agree that television and digital will benefit most from the growth in ad spending. But they warn that pay TV providers need to watch out: Subscriptions “will go down by 500,000 a year for next five years” partly due to competition from Web video providers such as Netflix, says ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King, whose company released its forecast last night. He also says that there’s a reason to take the forecasts with a big grain of salt. “The factor that none of us have incorporated is a default” by European country.
The ad firm’s forecast will set an upbeat tone for the Monday kickoff of the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, the widely watched series of CEO briefings that runs through Wednesday in New York. Zenith’s projected 3.5% growth, to $160.3B, contrasts with +2.2% in 2011. Much of the improvement is attributable to the predicted excitement around the Summer Olympics in London, as well as the recovery of Japan’s economy following the earthquakes and tsunami in March. That will help to drive large financial companies, retailers, and auto makers back into the ad market. Television will be the main beneficiary, with a 5.1% increase to $61.9B. But the Olympics won’t be enough to stop the ad slide at the major broadcast networks (-1% to $16.9B). The problem is the time difference with London: That “will mean fewer events airing live than there were for the Vancouver Olympics,” Zenith says. It predicts that more viewers will “tune in online to watch their favorite events rather than wait to watch pre-recorded versions.” Syndication will suffer a bigger decline (-12% to $2.2B) as studios struggle to find a daytime host who can match the popularity of Oprah Winfrey. But national cable networks including USA, TBS, and FX will continue to improve (+10% to $20.1B).
In other media: The Internet is still soaring (+16.4% to $30.3B) and will be helped in 2012 by political candidates hoping to reach voters on social media destinations led by Facebook. The Olympics …
The dust has barely settled from the turmoil that last week engulfed the Academy Awards cermonies for 2012, and word is out that ABC is asking from $1.6 million-$1.7 million for 30 seconds of ad time during the 2012 telecast. That’s about the same as or a bit less than the $1.7 million the network sought for the same amount of time for the 2011 show. The commotion over the departures of producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy had little to do with pricing, which was established weeks ago according to Ad Age’s MediaWorks blog. Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal quickly filled those slots. Back in 2009, prices for Oscar ads dropped to about $1.3 million because of the recession, ratings performance and other factors. Current asking prices haven’t fully restored Oscar’s luster to 2008 levels when 30 seconds of time went for about $1.8 million.
The 2012 election campaign has barely begun, but broadcasters can expect to see “an unprecedented frenzy of political advertising,” with total sales running as much as 18% higher than the $2.3 billion spent in 2010, Moody’s Investors Service says in a report today. The U.S. Supreme Court has tossed out spending caps for corporations and unions, making this the first presidential election in more than a decade without such limits, the research firm says. “The campaign frenzy will get some of its oxygen from high-visibility headline issues, including a weak domestic economy, high unemployment and a continued slump in real estate,” Moody’s says. “Control of Congress is also in close contention.” Republicans “may possibly view the Senate to be within their reach in 2012.”
Just about everyone says that the 2011 upfront ad sales season that kicks off this week will be a record-setter. Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente expects advertisers to commit about $9.2 billion for prime time spots at ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC in the season that begins this fall. That’s up 7.5% vs. last year and will beat 2008’s record $8.8 billion. He also says this will be the first year buyers will spend an equal amount on all of cable, up 15.3%. But don’t fool youself into thinking that this has much to do with the quality of the sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows that execs will unveil to ad buyers this week at the networks’ unconscionably extravagant presentations.
Once buyers recover from the networks’ childish efforts to dazzle them with celebrities, shrimp, and booze, they’ll begin their mundane deal-making for clients who need to be sure that they’ll have airtime to help them move product. But companies don’t want to make the same mistake that a lot of them made last year by postponing ad buys in the hope of landing a better deal in the scatter market. Many who waited had to pay as much as 40% more for spots in the first quarter of 2011. Auto makers, TV’s biggest advertisers, can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. They hope to sell about 13 million cars this year. That would be up 13% from last year, but still short of the 16 …
(Live-blogging; refresh for updates): Christina Aguilera can’t remember the words to America’s National Anthem, the Super Bowl XLV was a great game that ended with controversy, and the Green Bay Packers won over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. (As for that awful halftime show, I know where all the Tron: Legacy jumpsuits went to be recycled.) But now we can start judging this year’s crop of $3 million-for-30 seconds Super Bowl ads.
The car and tire ads are back with a vengeance, and Kia’s Optima commercial looked like an Indiana Jones movie on steroids with all those cool backdrops and special effects. The Doritos ads are great, especially the gross one where a guy sucks Doritos crumbs off his co-workers’ fingers and pants. But the Pepsi Max commercial sucked. Really, there are people who think hit-him-in-the-nuts gags still generate yucks?
The Coca-Cola ad was ridiculously over-the-top with dragons losing their firepower. I was surprised by the fabulous Volkswagon Passat ad featuring a pint-sized Darth Vader (see the longer version here) as well as by that Teleflora commercial starring Faith Hill and “your rack”. But that Ericsson Android phone ad with the human thumbs was, in a word, creepy.
Snickers received a lot of ink last year with its Betty White commercial during the Super Bowl. This year its parent company Mars tried to get hit by lightning …
Back on December 12th, I broke the news about a Cola War between Coke and Pepsi raging over Simon Cowell’s new U.S. version of The X Factor coming to Fox this fall. And I tipped that Pepsi was leading. Now that sponsorship battle has been won by Pepsi, according to an announcement just made by Fox Broadcasting Company, Cowell’s Syco Television, and FremantleMedia North America today. ”The comprehensive sponsorship of The X Factor by Pepsi includes an extensive, multi-platform off-air marketing partnership; weekly in-show integrations and placements; and an immersive content experience online. Pepsi will be the exclusive beverage sponsor of THE X FACTOR both on and off-air,” the announcement states.
Obviously all those scandals affecting the UK version of Cowell’s The X Factor talent show didn’t scare away advertisers for the American version. I heard there was a $50 million to $100 million auction going on between Coke and Pepsi. Coca-Cola has been a longtime sponsor of Fox’s American Idol; it got in on the ground floor for less than $10 million. That was a bargain based on ratings that were off the charts for the 12-week program, beating network promises by about 10% and capturing 23 million viewers for the closing finale. The soft drink company has one year left on its Idol contract and it made sense that Coke would want to jump on The X Factor bandwagon as well. But even though I heard Coke was offering more money, my sources said Cowell et al thought Pepsi would make a better fit. And he said so today. “I am absolutely delighted Pepsi is going to be our partner for The X Factor in America,” Cowell officially announced. “It feels like the perfect fit, and I love their ambition and excitement.”
Because of doubts about American Idol‘s format, Pepsi passed on a multimillion-dollar sponsorship when the show was still an unknown in the early stages when dealmakers were trying to have more of the show’s expenses underwritten. Pepsi didn’t want to make that mistake again. Not to mention that different sponsors would help The X Factor brand itself a new identity on Fox in the U.S. market outside of Idol’s shadow. No matter, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is convinced that with both a reworked Idol kicking off this month and a transplated X Factor, Fox could have a banner 2011. Unless America is just saturated with talent contest shows. That’s not the case in Britain where Cowell’s UK version of The X Factor enjoyed its biggest season to date despite of, or because of, the constant controversies. Meanwhile, Fox is said to have earmarked a whopping $35 million to promote the launch of The X-Factor next fall.
It is the zeitgeist show at the moment, so it was probably inevitable that politicians would turn to Glee in their campaigns for the November elections. A new ad for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, which represents a full-court assault on his Republican challenger, Bill Brady, is virtually a carbon copy of That’s What You Missed on Glee recap that airs at the beginning of every episode of the Fox musical dramedy, complete with a handmade version of the show’s logo. Fox’s copyright department is yet to weigh in on the clip, which will be rolled out officially tomorrow, to coincide with the new episode of Glee, but is already going viral on YouTube with more than 42,000 hits.