Media’s Best-Kept Secret: Local Broadcast TV

THE REAL FUTURE OF TV

Scott Chorski, GM of WKBT-TV, sent me a link yesterday to an Adweek article, along with a quick note stating how so many today are attacking the “30-second spot”, while very few write about what actually works. Scott is dead right. If I had a nickel…

I read the article he shared and came away feeling upset. I was upset because of a specific unsourced and misleading statement in the article.

If you want to find comment and opinion about the relevance and effectiveness of television (or any medium) today, you really don’t have to look too far. There are plenty of opinions on that subject. I would strongly advise you think twice before accepting these opinions as your own, or as fact.

The Adweek article in question states ” … the 30 second spot continues to lose relevance and effectiveness.” I didn’t find the source or data supporting this statement. Funny, we have plenty of sources and data demonstrating just the opposite. Real world stuff here, like unmistakably strong business performance. Lots of it, scattered across dozens of markets, within dozens of categories, in every economic condition. Statiscally significant stuff.

We could argue this point ad-nauseum, each side presenting its own stack of data. I’d rather not do that, because it’s counterproductive. And because we’d find out we actually agree on the real point.

This has nothing to do with the relevance or effectiveness of the medium. It has everything to do with the people using it and the decisions they are making. That’s exactly where Adweek and ESA agree.

Those who know the “why” and “how” of using broadcast television as an advertising medium are in the overwhelming minority today. They’re not too forthcoming in sharing their secret either, and I can’t blame them for that. Those in the majority — either using TV the wrong way, or not using it at all — like to claim the medium is losing effectiveness. Which is probably why you can find so many more “articles” on that side of the fence.

Fine by us. Though opinions like these make our jobs a little harder — after all, it takes effort to disprove ill-founded assumptions — in a strange way this misinformation fortifies our clients’ competitive advantage over those in the majority.

While “the majority” races to figure out how to insert ads into in-flight iPad video streams or (insert latest can’t-miss medium experiment here), we’ll be placing our bets on broadcast television. Again.

Funny how a medium that has more than its fair share of critics has so much upside for local businesses, even today.

And suddenly, I’m not so upset anymore.

Dave Eckstein, ESA & Company | Real. Local. Results: 2012Dave Eckstein is a Partner in the firm ESA & Company. He specializes in highly profitable market share growth for local businesses and gets a kick out of demonstrating a declining cost of customer acquisition. He plays baseball, but isn't that Dave Eckstein.

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