TV ad commitment issues, the waiting game, and hopes for a brighter future: Ad Age TV Pivot
Welcome to Day 3 of our special-edition Ad Age TV Pivot newsletter.
A message from Ad Age Senior Editor Jeanine Poggi: During our special two-day TV Pivot event on Tuesday and Wednesday, Ad Age brought together sales leaders from media conglomerates, along with major marketers and media buyers, to discuss how they’re navigating a world without live sports, the amount of business they expect to strike during the upfront ad haggle and what forms of innovation they hope will emerge during the crisis.
Now let’s look at the takeaways, outlooks and key messages from this week’s event in our executive summary below, courtesy of Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft. (And if you weren’t able to tune in at all, take an even closer look at what you missed on Day 1 and Day 2.)
Top 5 takeaways
First up, don't miss Ad Age TV Pivot host Jeanine Poggi’s insightful summary of the five most important highlights from this week’s conversations with industry leaders:
• 'Flexibility' will be the most over-used phrase
• Live sports will have plenty of contingencies
• Catalyst for ad innovation
• Uncertain marketplace
• Shift to streaming
You can read her extensive breakdown here.
Pump the brakes on options
As advertisers attempt to navigate an uncertain marketplace—and cautiously embrace scatter—marketers could cancel between 20 percent and 30 percent of TV ad commitments in the third quarter, a trio of agency leaders has predicted.
Horizon Media’s executive VP David Campanelli, Magna Global’s U.S. president Dani Benowitz, and Omnicom Media Group’s chief investment officer Catherine Sullivan agreed that anticipating a figure of 20 percent to 30 percent “doesn’t sound crazy,” as Campanelli put it. And there’s still no clear-cut path for the TV industry through the rest of the year.
“We have people who are canceling, we have very few people firming up, and we have some who are doing sort of half of their cancelations,” Benowitz said, referring to the third quarter as a “mixed bag.”
Read more about the panel’s outlook for TV in 2020 here.
The CW postpones its new season
Following a series of production delays caused by the coronavirus, The CW has announced that it is delaying the start of its new season until January 2021, in what the network’s chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz called a “proactive strategic decision.”
The CW’s fall line-up will instead consist of new original and acquired scripted series, as well as alternative programming, including “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and the final season of “Supernatural.” Come January, it will bring back many of its hallmark shows, such as “Riverdale” and “Nancy Drew,” as well as a handful of debut series.
Read more about the network’s shift and what marketers (and viewers) can look forward to here.
Substance over sizzle
If you ask one industry heavyweight, the upfront set-up is past its prime and it’s time for a change—and the pandemic might just be the catalyst.
“The upfront marketplace is not, and should not be, restricted to a June-July time frame for broadcast-year commitments, or to a November-December time frame for calendar-year commitments,” argues upfront veteran Rino Scanzoni, who for more than 30 years led negotiations for agency powerhouse GroupM and the former MediaVest.
Scanzoni believes that between networks’ transition to full-year programming schedules and modern internet capabilities that make virtual events all but seamless, among other developments, it’s only reasonable to change the upfront formula.
Read his op-ed, in which he argues for a complete overhaul of the TV upfronts as we know them, here.
Live from New York ... comedy in the time of coronavirus
If you’re wondering how to keep up your humor in a desperately unfunny era, just ask “Saturday Night Live” director Paul Briganti. As part of our ongoing Ad Age Remotely series, Briganti, who has repped for commercials out of production shop Tool, reveals how he was able to direct “SNL” remotely for the final episodes of the show's recently wrapped 45th season.
Watch the full interview with Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz here.
TV equals disruption
It seems the common denominator of TV industry news is that we’re always just around the corner from the Next Big Thing.
“Cable! Color! Satellite! Interactive! Streaming!” and so on, writes Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco of TV's historic rollercoaster. From the first FCC-sanctioned commercial in the 1940s to rethinking the age-and-gender measurement focus, TV is always on the verge of its next “it girl” that’ll disrupt the business as we know it. So where do we go from here?
Read (and reflect) further about TV’s disruptive past as part of our 90 years of Ad Age series here.
And that’s a wrap for Ad Age TV Pivot! Hopefully, this time next year we’ll once again be together, sampling buffets, fighting traffic and straining for a Wi-Fi signal in Carnegie Hall, reminiscing about what a crazy year this was.