The business of television is dying, and all we can do is repeat the behavior that got us where we are today. If this isn’t the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is.

I just got off the phone with an old friend and colleague who was discussing the terror that exists within the industry today as we look toward 2009. The disruption to media is very real, and everybody is frightened about tomorrow. And yet, it’s just same‑o, same‑o for many.

  • ITEM: A study to be released next week by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester reveals that a majority of marketers believe TV advertising has decreased in effectiveness over the past couple of years. In the words of the immortal Frank Barone, “Holy crap!” 87% said they would increase their online spend this year.

    One potentially ominous sign is that a majority of marketers said that when DVR penetration tops 50%–Nielsen estimates the current universe at 23%–a majority of marketers say they will cut their TV ad spending by 12%.

    So what’s the response to all this disruption? According to Broadcasting & Cable, “…almost half were experimenting with new types of TV advertising that would boost that effectiveness by working with the DVRs and VOD services that have given viewers more control over ads. Those include ads in online streams of TV shows, ads embedded in VOD programming, interactive TV ads, and ads placed in the set-top box menus.”

    In other words, marketers are trying to find new ways to do the same old thing.

  • ITEM: Remember when NBC’s crack leadership said during the writers’ strike that they would be offering something bold and different for this year’s upfront? The suggestion was even made that they would do away with the upfront altogether and choose instead to visit the big agencies in person.

    Well, guess what? Now that the strike is over, it’s back to normal for NBC (“normal” being the problem itself). They’ve announced that they WILL be holding an upfront. The big, bold move is that it will be more focused on NBCU than just NBC. Big deal.

    David Goetzl wrote for MediaDailyNews that “there had been speculation that networks might use the turmoil brought on by the writers’ strike as a launching pad to save money and abandon the expensive presentations. But in the copycat television business, one network was unlikely to drop out unless its competitors all did.”

    And so it goes.

Again, when you find yourself stuck in a hole that you’re digging, the first step in getting out is to STOP DIGGING! But the scent of food is strong near the tar pits, and these companies have shareholders who want their dividends. Insanity.


  1. Yep, insanity…doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results! We HAVE to change! How exciting!

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