Television Media Buying versus Online and On-Demand Media Buying

While television media buying remains a key plank in the direct response marketer’s strategy, it has become more and more challenging to get a pure-play DRTV hit. The high cost of television media coupled with more competition for media slots makes it harder than ever to launch a new DRTV product.One of the problems is that there are more direct response marketers on television than ever, competing in the same product categories for the same avails. We are also seeing an erosion in the value of linear television itself. Technology influences and lifestyle changes are diluting the mass-market effects that made broadcast TV such an attractive advertising medium in the first place.

Following are some of the factors contributing to this erosion:

  • A flood of new cable channels and niche programming options are undermining the mass-media marketing formula
  • Overall television viewership is decreasing; television advertising is reaching a smaller audience
  • Television viewers are forwarding past commercials using DVR technologies such as TiVo
  • More and more viewers are multi-tasking while watching television. Our busy lifestyles and multi-media remote controls are filtering out more and more television ad content.
  • DVDs, video on demand (VOD), video games and other technologies are competing for viewers’ attention/time
  • Pirating of television shows on peer-to-peer networks using technologies such as BitTorrent
  • Today’s consumers prefer the Internet over television for product information; they tend to be tougher, more educated buyers

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Darts Against the Media Buying Board

For DRTV media buying professionals, there’s no relief in sight, at least from Jacobs’ perspective. The fact that media time is tight, prices are high and results are less than desirable has pushed this media buyer to switch to the kind of media plans that he used back in the early 1990s: buy more broadcast than cable, since the former is more negotiable.

“While it’s tougher to make broadcast work, we’re taking our network orders and doing market purges and buying those markets that index over 100,” says Jacobs. “We’re trying to pick the markets using some kind of logic, instead of just throwing darts against the board.”
Rob Medved, president at Cannella Response Television Inc. in Burlington, Wis., credits an increasingly fragmented channel lineup and notable news events with creating a “very inconsistent viewing audience,” this year. He says short-form DRTV media on larger networks has been very difficult to obtain, which is not very different from last year.
“Healthy scatter and hybrid DRTV media buying do not allow for much remnant inventory,” says Medved. “At the same time, the rise in the price of gas and a slowing of the housing market run have also curbed the response pocketbook.”

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