TV & Movie Marketing Prediction: In Your Face

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 18th, 2013 at 6:04 pm,

“… the only people watching a show — ‘Heroes’ perhaps — at the time it’s being broadcast by a network — say NBC — are the “saps and [expletives] who can’t figure out how to watch it in a superior way.”

It’s a fascinating contrast to his image from the writers strike, but that’s how Tim Kring “complimented” his viewers at the Creative Screenwriting magazine’s 2008 Screenwriting Expo. By referring to the couch jockeys that help make up the ratings as “saps and expletives,” all the while trying to explain away that the bad ratings for Heroes aren’t his fault. I think he’s trying to avoid the same ax that came along and took out 2 other writers from the NBC Heroes-wagon.

What does Kring mean by “superior way” to watch? He’s referring to online or recorded (DVR) programming where a show is watched later.

It seems that he’s scuttling his own boat of fans, but wait, he wasn’t done. He went on to ramble about how serialized drama only works if people sit in front of their TV sets at the time a network broadcasts each episode. There ya go. Now he included his bosses, the network. But enough about Tim Kring’s “Bill Shatner” impersonation.

While Kring attempts to alienate what’s left of his fan base, he does make an obscure point that is launching me into one of my rants.

A Bruce rant… (I mean, Observation) on Why We Have To Have Ratings and Marketing:

Today’s processes where you can either record something or go online and watch something later is the technology that is changing the landscape of television as we have known it. We are in the middle of an era of change (no, I don’t mean “Barack Obama” change, we’ve heard enough about that). But change is coming for network television as it’s being dragged into the new era of technology, kicking and screaming. This is a new era that they have to begrudgingly face and deliver product with.

But just when they start moving in the direction of appeasing advertisers and viewers, someone like Joss Whedon comes along with Dr. Horrible and makes one hell of a point about the lack of need for studio backing, advertising dollars, and what not.

Program ratings are just an avenue of measure for the advertisers who buy the time from the networks, but they’re not all buying the time on the web where the shows are also available.

It seems that no one has thoroughly pieced this together yet since they treat each entity as a separate piece. If they were to look at it all as a whole, adding up the metrics of live-watching with after-aired watching, shows would probably not be coming and going as fast as they are these days. They’d be given more of a chance and the “cancel” trigger wouldn’t be pulled so fast.

As it stands, we can record shows via DVR, TiVo or other avenues of delayed digital gratification, (DDG). Everyone can jump the ads anytime they want, and that’s what networks (and advertisers) don’t want or like. When you jump the ads, you are not brainwashed into shuffling out your front door zombie-like to go buy product ‘X’ off a shelf somewhere.

In 1998, $200 billion was spent on advertising and marketing and as a benchmark, spending on marketing has always hung around the 2% mark of the U.S. Gross National Product.

What has always befuddled me is that advertising works. If it didn’t, ads wouldn’t be there and all of television would be an expensive subscription service. From the numbers, can you understand why it is so important for the companies buying ad time?

Yet regardless of where advertisers buy their time, there are still issues. If we skip ads on TV and look at the idea of subscription television, it too has its flaws. It’s the same end result: Where people spend their money.

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  1. Another fantastic post, Bruce :)

  2. Yup, another great primer, gathering of facts from Bruce, our resident researcher. :-)

    Things do indeed need to change with the advent and increasing popularity of DVRs. Advertisers will find ever more creative ways to intrude on our TV watching/Movie going experience.

    You’d think paying $80/month for cable and $9 to go see a movie would be plenty to finance what we watch on the small and big screen. 8-)

    Vic

  3. On a similar note, I love Heroes, but I have yet to see anything of the third season. That’s because I don’t watch TV, and instead I waited for the seasons to come out on DVD to watch. This, I’m sure, brings the ratings down during the actual broadcasting, but to me you can’t determine ratings just by how many people tune in that day just because they were lazy enough to still be at home.

  4. @maverick
    Ah, but that’s EXACTLY how they determine ratings. AFAIK right now they don’t even take time-shifted viewings into consideration even though that can be easily tracked.

    Vic

  5. There’s some advertiser out there wondering just how much sh** they’ll take if they inject their product at the bottom of a screen where you can’t get away from it.

    What’s the lesser evil: The public flailing or the monies generated.

    And don’t worry Maverick… Buying the DVD is part of the income stream so you made some bean counter a happy report.

  6. @Bruce

    Yeah, well remember back in the day when all they had prior to movie trailers at the theater was a blank screen? You’d think the masses would have risen up when they started showing commercials before a movie starts after dropping $7-9 on a movie ticket – but no… the sheeple did nothing.

    There won’t be any outrage or backlash once it begins on TV, either.

    Vic

  7. Ha! You’re right!! When I saw my first commercial in the movie theater, I remember the groan and a rather loud “WTF!” spouted out of me before I ever knew what hit me!

    I’m not fond of paying to see something and getting spammed with ads at the same time. I’ve paid my dues with $$.

    But now when you go to a movie, advertisers are probably pitching top dollar to get their product in front of movies like Batman and Cloverfield and Iron Man, just to name a few.

    It’s a nutty, advertising world. I just hope when aliens finally do land, they’re not here thinking Coke is the leader of the world or something!!

  8. What is Tivo and DDG?

  9. Before you know it, the ads are going to be IN the dvd’s we buy during the shows or movies we have PAID to view. We already get commercials before the DVD starts, it’s a matter of time until we’re bombarded by ads CONSTANTLY.

  10. Besides the reality tv domination, the onslaught of drug ads turn me off to broadcast tv altogether……..

    I watch tv shows and movies on dvds now.
    I no longer subject myself to the all incompassing advertisment sucubus that is broadcast commerical tv. 8-O

  11. Yea, I get it. I use my phenomenal will power and resist the mind wipes.

    Keep in mind, if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be there… and you’re surrounded by those it works on … they’re everywhere…

    In traffic with you, in the stores buying things they were told to buy… shudder!

    I got into it with a co-worker… if it weren’t for the advertisers paying the bills to have networks and cable channels make shows, what the heck would we have left?

    24/7 of PBS concerts and membership drives? I don’t know… it’s a weird balance we live with, but advertisers are everywhere. Every street, every building, every bit of public transit… when you think you’re safe, they think they’ve got you!

    OK, it’s late… I call it an evening.

  12. I see your point B, I just simply stay out of that game and only reap the dvd spoils. Mehuahhaahhaaa!!!!

  13. Hey man, everyone has bills to pay, if the movie theaters want to make more money by showing ads before the previews start, I don’t care. I show up early to get good seats, but spend the time talking to friends, I don’t even notice the ads, and when I do, it might actually be for something good, like a nice mom&pop restaurant that put up the $$ to advertise there, and hey, why not, it’s not like I pay more for the food because I saw them on an advertisement…

    I guess it’s either this or we live in a socialist government… And if you haven’t experienced it yet, give it a few years, we’re getting there, lol.

  14. [Oops, forgot I can't say the magic word for the spam filter.]

    Hey man, everyone has bills to pay, if the movie theaters want to make more money by showing ads before the previews start, I don’t care. I show up early to get good seats, but spend the time talking to friends, I don’t even notice the ads, and when I do, it might actually be for something good, like a nice mom&pop restaurant that put up the $$ to advertise there, and hey, why not, it’s not like I pay more for the food because I saw them on an advertisement…

    Commercials on tv are more annoying since it breaks up the show, but the ones in theaters are not so bad, once the movie starts you don’t have to worry about it. :-)

    I guess it’s either this or we live in a Soc###### government and we see propaganda instead of commercials… And if you haven’t experienced it yet, give it a few years, we’re getting there, lol.

  15. Are you guys really just realising this now? Great post, Bruce, BTW.

    Product placement in TV and movies is as old as the Silent era, when everybody wanted the Clara Bow marcel wave, kiss curl, and Max Factor lipstick!

    I think that advertisers have merely changed tactics, ‘Wayne’s World’ parodied product placement in TV years ago, and even on Radio, before the flickering image of film first appeared in black and white, on movie or TV screens, Radio ‘soap operas’ promoted, you guessed it, ‘soap’!

    The ‘Euphemism’/metaphor of ‘soap opera’ is still with us today, and is applied to dramas on TV that rely heavilly on Advertisers for their existence.

    The internet is not immune. Look at this webpage! It is surrounded by advertising, both subliminal and overt.

    All we can do as consumers against this constant barrage is remain ever vigilant. Until an advertiser manages to insert a microchip into every newborn, (don’t laugh, how many ‘rewards cards’ have you signed up for? Even your SUPERMARKET is tracking your buying habits on behalf of advertisers!) We can still exercise some personal autonomy.

    Big Brother has been watching you for a VERY long time!

  16. Haha, careful now, someone here is going to (as the boys in SNL put it) j*** in his pants if he sees you talking like this, hahaha.

    Anyway, they ARE definitely keeping track of your buying habits, it makes it so they don’t buy too much of unpopular products and too little of popular products. They can also adjust their price points based on what sells and what doesn’t. It is what drives our economy, it is to optimize their profits.

    Some people see this as helping the “rich get richer” but that’s exactly how it works, people who can efficiently make use of the resources available to them will be successful, while those who don’t, won’t. Might not seem like it benefits consumers, but in the long run, it maintains competition and innovation, without it, there will be no motivation for people to improve or come up with new things. We would be stuck in the 1800s in terms of technology, lol.

    Either that or we need a perpetual cold war to keep innovations coming, hahaha.

  17. We are all just part of a big consumerism machine.

    Except me… ;)

  18. Uh huh, and how many pairs of shoes do you have?? :-D

  19. gottarhyme: Thanks.

    I may change my prediction of product placement.

    Maybe we’ll be subscribing to the different advertiser pay channels and we’ll get 20 minutes an hour of some form of bonus programming!