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The $4.5 Billion Question Finding the Right Mix for Promoting Fall Shows
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The $4.5 Billion Question Finding the Right Mix for Promoting Fall Shows

As TV networks get ready for the fall season, the promotion of new and returning shows has kicked into high gear, representing a significant investment for the networks. In fact, national ads aired this summer and fall to attract viewers are estimated to be worth roughly $4.5 billion, according to Nielsen.  While the power of promotion is clear, new research from Nielsen comparing networks’ promotion strategies leading into the 2011/2012 TV season found that the key to an efficient and equally effective promotion strategy is finding a balanced mix of promos both on and off-network.

Paid promos accounted for less than three percent of national tune-in promo activity, and on-channel promotions represented more than $4 billion in ad inventory.  Can some of this on-channel inventory be converted to new ad revenue? Would promos be better optimized across sister networks?

Promotion Strategies

In general, broadcast networks relied heavily upon on-channel promos, with less than ten percent of promo activity dedicated to cross-channel, or paid promos.  When comparing the national promotion strategy across various cable networks, there was no one-size-fits-all approach. For one cable network, cross-channel advertisements were an integral function of their national promotion strategy, representing nearly half of all promos (45%). Another cable network relied heavily upon on-channel promos with hardly any paid promotion, while another efficiently delivered on paid gross rating points (GRPs).

There’s also an opportunity to explore digital promotion with greater attention as cross-platform, or digital campaigns, can be just as effective– if not more so– than TV elements on their own.  Therefore, it’s critical that networks evaluate which elements of their campaign are most effective and the best use of marketing dollars and on-air inventory.

“It’s key to consider promoting off your own network, instead looking to sister networks or online for valuable opportunities to engage with consumers,” said Justin Rosen, Director, Media Analytics at Nielsen. “Cross-channel platforms may create opportunities to engage not just loyal, regular viewers, but capture new viewers.”