Broadcast Televsion Part II

So last time we talked about how you can easily waste your money if you don’t understand day parts, specifically wasting your money buying a “fancy” prime time spot in shows like American Idol or Blue Bloods. We discussed how to buy other day parts and reach the exact same audience with a higher frequency. So what about ratings don’t you understand? Let me shed just a little light on ratings. So what is a rating point? I, like many of you, struggled with this while I was working for a TV station as digital sales manager. I said how much is a rating point worth? Sounds like a simple questions right? Well it isn’t. You see ratings vary by PUT (people using television) or HUT (house holds using television) and depending on the potential of available viewers, your “points” become less expensive – or VERY expensive.

I think it stands to reason you can understand the PUT would be much higher for Monday Night Football, or Sunday Night Football (NBC).  But if you are a local business can you really afford to pay $3k-$5k to reach all these people using television?  Here in Jacksonville you can get a spot in one of these programs for pretty close to the above mention rates…and the program will do a fairly good number, could be as much as a 20.  Which means that program was watching by 20% of the entire television viewing audience.  But what if the game is a blow out?  What if that “20” was only a true 20 for the first half or worse yet the first quarter.

You see you really have to be careful not be sold a shinny number that is all mirrors.  Again, like last week, when buying a program you have to be careful to be sold on the sizzle of a program.  TV stations would rather put you in a program that cost them upwards of $75k to air, and free up some inventory for other spots that need to run for a national buyer or inventory that was oversold previously.  Getting you to buy 1 spot for $3k, if you are moving money, means a TV station can free up as many as 5 or more spots that you had reserved for your schedule.

While on it's face buying a great “number” in a special program seems like a great thing…stick to the day parts I discussed last time and never sacrifice frequency for sizzle.  Next week I am going to discuss how TV inventory works and why you should know how to play the game.  Stay tuned…