Feature Commentary

A column where industry thought leaders share their POVs on issues that affect the broadcast media industry. (Feature commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVB.) We welcome your feedback to: commentary@tvb.org.

Dumb Stuff Said in Washington, D.C.

11-20-14
Inside the bubble of Washington, DC — which often challenges Hollywood as the true entertainment capital of the world — one hears astonishingly silly proclamations almost daily… —Dennis Wharton, EVP Communications, NAB…More>>

In God We Trust (Everyone Else Bring Data)

11-07-14
The issue of secular vs. cyclical shifts of spending in advertising remains as one of the most critical factors impacting media stocks and played out as an important issue this past week over the course of a flurry of earnings reports from owners of national TV properties. Which view (or views) are right? As the vast majority of media owners have now reported their third quarter results, we can put our own conjecture aside for the moment and focus on what the new data is telling us instead. —Brian Wieser, CFA, Pivotal Research Group…More>>

A Revisionist’s Recent History of TV and Internet Advertising

10-24-14
One of the most important historical “facts” underpinning why national TV ad spending has been weak this year is the idea that the industry is experiencing some kind of broadbased “shift” by marketers, collectively. While we are fully aware that the large brands who dominate TV have been incrementally shifting spending into digital media for nearly 20 years, we have disagreed that anything particularly radical is occurring at this time, at least on a broad basis. —Brian Wieser, CFA, Pivotal Research Group…More>>

MBPT Spotlight: In 2015, the Programmatic TV Tipping Point Begins

10-17-14
The reality is that both buyer and seller can potentially benefit from programmatic TV. Media agencies can achieve lower effective target CPMs (true advertiser target) while sellers can improve yield. And all players complete transactions in less time, with fewer mistakes.…More>>

TV Automation is Already Here -- Retire The Fax Jokes

8-15-14
The good news is that a sizable portion of the TV industry has already successfully adopted the sidecar approach for programmatic TV.  They are already delivering on the vision of programmatic TV execution with the same automation and optimization that digital ad tech provides. —Walt Horstman, President, AudienceXpress…More>>

TV: Simple Medium, Complicated Analysis

6-06-14
The economy continues to produce new brands who seek to distinguish themselves from their competitors on the basis of awareness of differentiation of brand attributes. Television in general – and network TV in particular – remains the least inefficient way to accomplish this goal despite a myriad of alternative choices and despite high absolute costs. -Brian Wieser, CFA, Pivotal Research Group…More>>

Upfronts Still Stunt Newfronts

5-23-14
Brian Wieser, CFA, Pivotal Research Group: “…we continue to believe that any shift from TV to online video is little more than a trickle, rather than a flood....To the extent online video really does compete for TV budgets, it will most likely occur with smaller cable networks.”…More>>

Nielsen Data: TV Dominates Time, Other Media Grows

3-07-14
Brian Wieser, CFA, Pivotal Research Group: “If time equated to money…either too much
money is being spent on internet advertising or too little is being spent on TV.”…More>>

Silverman Out To Remake Local Broadcasting

2-24-14
Harry A. Jessell, TVNewsCheck, discusses programming legend Fred Silverman's belief that TV stations' future is in producing their own entertaiment programming, with opportunities in daytime, primetime (especially Saturday) and on subchannels.  "There’s gold in their backyards that can be mined," Silverman says. "What a lot of local stations don’t realize is that they have weathermen who are more popular in their respective communities than a lot of national personalities."…More>>

Super Bowl Underscores the Big Business of Must-See, Live TV

2-05-14
David Carr, of The New York Times reminds us that “live events — including the N.F.L.’s regular season, the Grammys, the Oscars and the Golden Globes” — satisfy “a deep hunger for a common experience and all the ritual that accompanies it.”…More>>

Why Sports Is Must-See TV -- Especially in the Digital Era

1-24-14
“But just about any day of the week is a big one in the television sports industry, because sports is one of the few categories of programming that doesn't lend itself to delayed viewing or binge-watching. It just about must be seen live.  Sports has it all: drama, suspense, anger, comedy, jubilation, amongst a range of other human emotions. Despite the plethora of reality competition shows that solicit viewer voting, it may be the one area where audiences really feel that they make a difference in the outcome.”  Hillary Atkin, The Atkin ReportMore>>

Why TV Ad Spend Will Grow More Than Digital Spend In The Next Five Years

1-17-14
Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, predicted at the closing panel of  Gridley & Company’s 13th Annual Marketing, Internet, Financial Technology and Outsourcing Services Conference that  TV ad spend in the U.S. will grow more each year for the next five years than digital video ads will.More>>

TV - Not Dying. Diversifying.

1-09-14
Mike Bloxham, vice president, national TV and video at Frank N. Magid Associates discusses “the biggest player in the ecosystem: TV” and where the focus should be—“across any screen that can deliver it.”More>>

Local TV News: The Solid Medium

12-04-13
Bruce Goerlich, CRO, Rentrak: "the relatively low-tech medium of local news delivers a substantial audience day in and day out, provides reach, and can deliver traditional, and online buyers. I believe that solid delivery can help form the broad base of a media strategy."More>>

Note To Brands: Make Your Own Kind Of Network

11-15-13
Dario Spina, MediaPost: "If marketers think boldly — like the Millennials — and build their own virtual networks, then they’ll truly and powerfully connect with this always connected audience.  And maybe then the Millennials will inspire even more creativity in us, and just a bit less terror."…More>>

Media Industry Challenge: Over-Supply By Jack Myers

11-06-13
Jack Myers discusses the impact of programmatic and automated systems being developed for media buying and selling in the industry and the fundamental shift in demand vs.supply.More>>

Local TV Broadcast News Drives Audience Engagement

10-18-13
Kathy Crosett of Media Sales Today spotlights TVB's "American Conversation" study and reminds her readers of the importance of local broadcast news.More>>

Finding The Glue To Make Local TV Stick

10-11-13
With all the recent mergers and acquisitions among TV station group owners, the question is no longer whether or not there will be a small group of local TV empires. Tim Daniel in TVNewsCheck discusses the question - which ones will succeed and which ones will fail? Empires that succeed and endure have created the best "social glue" and it turns out home-grown glue is the best.  And nobody does local better than local television broadcasters.More>>

The Future of Television May Be Only One Screen

10-02-13
Reporting from the NY Games Conference, Charlene Weisler discusses "What is television today and what are the challenges to the current business model?"More>>

Cable's Edge Over Broadcast: More Ad Time

8-11-13
Jon Swallen Chief Research Officer, Kantar Media Intelligence North America discusses cable's ad revenue increase via the addition of what basically amounts to one more :20 ad per hour annually since January 2010.More>>

Facebook's Video Initiative Is A Reach
By Brian Wieser, CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Pivotal Research Group

8-01-13
If there is a single most important take-away from the PR effort associated with this news, it is that it may serve to highlight how "reach" can be more important than impressions or ratings, especially in context of our focus on why we have argued that television dominates the media budgets for most of the world's largest brands. Reach matters more than ratings from a planning perspective, and planners are more influential than buyers in allocating budgets across media.More >

Jack Myers Predictions for the Future of Media and Advertising

7-25-13
Jack Myers shares his predictions for how the digital media ecosystem will emerge; what the future holds for content; and how marketers, agencies and media companies will respond. Jack’s predicts the future of Google, media buying and planning, TV networks, and the network TV Upfront. More>>

The Power of Local TV

7-10-13
Bruce Goerlich, CRO, Rentrak discusses the power of local TV in its localness—its ability to connect and unite communities. The best example of this is the reaction of TV viewers to traumatic events.More>>

Who Are They Kidding?

6-19-13
Dennis Wharton of The NAB discusses Time Warner Cable's urging of "reform" of retransmission consent laws and their "concern" over rising cable rates.More>>

Helicopters Bring Viewers Vivid Images of Tornado

5-20-13
Our hearts go out to the people of Moore, Oklahoma who suffered unspeakable losses in the wake of this week's tornado. We are proud of the critical role local broadcast television played in the lives of Moore citizens and "friends of Moore" that tuned in from across the country. In this featured article, Brian Stelter of The New York Times discusses this latest tragedy, and how local TV news professionals rose up in the face of utter devastation. "The live pictures and reporting...reminded some of the enduring value of local broadcasters at a time when apps and social networks tend to get more attention."More>>

Mister Rogers: No Tattoos, But Wisdom To Spare

5-14-13
Karen Herman, director of the TV Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television reflects on her 1999 interview with Fred Rogers and his thoughts on the power of television to educate.More>>

Over-The-Air And Streaming Outweigh Cable, Sat Bill

4-18-13
Andrew Dodson of TVNewsCheck expresses a deeper appreciation for the magic of broadcasting.More>>

Ad Economy Update
By Brian Wieser, CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Pivotal Research Group

4-05-13
We recently conducted a survey of media industry participants, cutting across different functions to gather a broad perspective on the state of advertising. We heard almost universally that uncertainty in the macro-economy is having no impact on advertising budgets. More >

Making The Strong Case For Local TV News

4-03-13
In response to commentary by Ed Rabel critical of local TV news, the president-GM of WXII Greensboro/Winston-Salem, N.C., rebuts: "We live in a new golden age of over-the-air television. Leading stations with strong newscasts find themselves offering more services to more people than ever before."More>>

Peter Dunn, CBS Stations President, Sounds Off On Pew Study

3-27-13
B&C guest poster, Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations, disagrees with some findings in Pew’s “The State of the News Media 2013.”More >>

The Triumph Of Disinformation
By Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

1-17-13
In the 3rd quarter of 2012, television continued to dominate video viewing. According to Nielsen's 3rd quarter 2012 Cross-Platform ReportMore >

Assessing TV Networks: Reaching For The Right Metrics
By Brian Wieser, CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Pivotal Research Group

12-14-12
While ratings remain an important metric for media industry observers to monitor, they are only one variable involved in determining how valuable a TV network is to advertisers. As ratings converge between broadcast and cable networks in particular, the insights that ratings provide on the health of a network will also diminish. By contrast, reach – and a network’s incremental reach in context of the rest of a marketer’s plans – has become more important in recent years, because it becomes harder to cost-effectively aggregate reach. To the extent that fragmentation continues, the importance of reach will only grow into the future.More >

What’s Coming In 2013? Think Technology.

12-06-12
Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT, talks to Media Life about why 2013 may be the year that tech really takes over and why trends should matter to media buyers. Click here for JWT’s 10 Trends for 2012 Executive SummaryMore >>

The Future Is Already Here (It's Just Not Very Evenly Distributed)
By Brian Wieser, CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Pivotal Research Group

9-14-12
We wrote an extensive piece on viewing trends of kids this week, highlighting the notion that there is no sufficiently high-quality data to support any assertion that the rise of online video and Netflix is related to declining TV viewing among kids. Nonetheless, many among our readership are adamant that their observations within their own households and among their friends confirm the secular trend thesis. While some segments of the population are heavy users of online video, even this segment still watches a lot of traditional TV. Live-only television will continue to account for the dominant share of video viewing until much further into the future than any investor should likely be concerned with.More >

Copyright or Copywrong?
By Brian Wieser, CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Pivotal Research Group

7-27-12
The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing this week on “The Cable Act at 20”. The hearing highlighted to us that Congress is paying particular attention to the regulatory matters which drive so much of the video industry’s structure. Broadcasters benefit from the status quo despite technological change around them, which can’t be stopped under any circumstance. However, broadcasters should hope that their efforts to use the law to restrain the growth of technology (including the delivery of broadcast signals over IP) won’t have the unintended consequence of unleashing regulatory changes which will not prove as beneficial as those regulations which are in place today.More >

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