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  • Writer's pictureJim Gagen

Old School – Not So “Premiere” Week

How Low Can They Go?

If you are like me, despite the fact that we all know Network TV ratings have declined over the years, you probably are at least a little surprised how far they’ve fallen the recent Premiere Week as reported in last week’s Ad Age.

For those who didn’t read the article (it is rather long), the key facts are:

· A18-49 ratings for the first season’s week are down 12% vs. last year

· In three years, Premiere Week’s deliveries have fallen 28%

· In five years, they’ve fallen 43%

· For the first time, one of the Big Four failed to average a 1.0 rating in this key demo with ABC averaging only .9 and none of the Big Four averaged as much as a 2.0

· The average age of the Primetime audience is getting older - now 58.8

· Football still delivers strong ratings

What To Do?

While the erosion of Network Primetime audience is a problem for media planners, it’s not our job to fix the problem. That’s the job for network executives. However, if video is necessary to meet our plan objectives, our job is to find ways to continue to deliver the video message to whoever is the client’s target audience. TV viewing may be down in specific areas, but people still watch it - just differently.

“Re-building” the Buy

Fortunately, media planners have many ways to re-build the buy or “putting Humpty Dumpty together again”. In no particular order, the following summarize the options available:

· A rating point is a rating point, so lower ratings just mean you need more spots to reach rating point goals.

· Primetime is not the only network daypart. Revisit what morning news, daytime and late fringe bring to the mix in both rating points and cost efficiencies. And don't forget about football.

· Consider syndication, which provides comparable ratings to network primetime (especially now), cost efficiencies and essentially provides two national dayparts not available in network with early fringe and prime access.

· Cable provides cost efficient delivery, targeting ability via lifestyle networks and variety

· Pre-roll/OTT extends the video reach and provides greater targetability with product purchase data as well are getting those young demos back that have abandoned primetime network TV

Not Rocket Science, but That’s Okay

While this blog may not be revolutionary thinking, sometimes it’s good to not overreact, step back and remember the fundamentals. That’s Old School.

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