HOW DARE I?
I have been privileged to work in the broadcasting industry for most of my adult life. I began in local ad sales and progressed to management. My current role as a business owner and independent producer of Raw Travel TV has been the most fulfilling and eye-opening of all.
I have overseen all facets of a completely vertical (independent) television syndication service (production, ad sales, distribution, marketing, etc.) for over 22 years. I’ve worked with scores of general managers, programmers, and station group executives, as well as advertisers and related industries.
My company, AIM Tell-A-Vision Group, has strived to produce missing or under-served content in the grand and growing video landscape for over two decades.
Media that matters – I know that “media that matters” could sound glib and trite, but we genuinely pursue this mission. And because, at least with Raw Travel, my name and face are all over the show (and credits), I sometimes take it personally.
This may be why I never, ever “mail it in.” Be it good or bad, I always strive to do my best. For Nine Seasons, I’ve done my best work as a commitment to our viewers, our affiliates, our advertisers, and myself. I wouldn’t be writing these words nine seasons in if it hadn’t worked.
The broadcasting industry and viewers have largely rewarded those efforts. Raw Travel has grown to become the nation’s most-watched travel show on commercial TV, and I owe a debt of gratitude to too many people to list.
THIS IS WHACK!
And there are so many caring and talented people in the broadcasting business, many of whom have become friends over the years. I’m grateful for what this business has given me. Therefore, I’m declaring “War” on “Whacked Weekends.”
I’ve watched the quality of weekend syndicated steadily decline over the years, and I’ve wondered “why”? Sports are on the weekends, and big-name event programming is on the weekends. Many families are all together and at home on weekends. Weekends are nearly 30% of an entire week’s schedule. Weekend programming can help lift weekday and local news ratings.
This is why I scratch my head when some broadcasters in some markets seem content to program shows that are borderline unwatchable or, in some cases, embarrassing. Sometimes directly after big-time sports or news with big-time lead-in audiences.
It can be the salacious, embarrassing content disguised as sports bloopers, or old content disguised as new, or content jammed with beyond the industry standard commercial load. These hurt stations more than an immediate clicking of the remote (or the powering up of the laptop or smartphone).
In each of these instances, the producer(s)/distributor(s) is betraying the trust of affiliates, advertisers, and most sacred of all, the viewers. To me, this is unforgivable anytime, but especially now when viewers have so many choices.
GREED IS NOT GOOD (TV)
Consider the long-time indie syndicator turned “mogul” cramming in more commercial interruptions than the industry standard. Often this is within programming that can, at best, be described as borderline watchable if it didn’t have a single, solitary commercial.
The commercial interruption count comparison included doesn’t even take into account the numerous archaic but annoying interruptions advising the viewer, “don’t go away” or “we’ll be right back.”
Given the sub-par quality of some of the shows this producer is putting out, it sounds less like an invitation than a threat or challenge to endure.
We know this results in more clutter but more money for the producer. In the process of this naked display of greed and negligence, this incredibly self-serving and short-sighted approach sheds viewers (see research below). I’m assuming most stations want more viewers but are unaware of this issue.
Understandable with all the content, smaller and smaller staffs are tasked with overseeing.
Are broadcasters aware of the bikini-clad girls that are jump roping or hula-hooping (or anything that requires bouncing and jiggling)? It’s a “sports blooper” show, or so we thought.
Or of the minute-plus long end-credits that drive viewers away at the end of shows?
Or of the non-evergreen and dated content put out as fresh that is no longer relevant, much less compelling.
WEED THE WEEKENDS
I believe good weekend programming and a healthy, unique first-run ecosystem can help broadcasters compete against the onslaught of competition for viewer attention.
We need more independent producers who work in a broadcast-first platform. And many of them are doing good work.
But for these good producers and programs to survive, they need room to grow.
Just as one weeds a garden so the vegetables can bear fruit, the same should be said for weekend programming. Stations need to weed out the lazy, the greedy, the inappropriate, and the just plain bad and plant more of the good.
Give the producers, programs, and stations the room to grow with more runs of the good stuff and less of the lousy cluttering up the landscape.
I created this “Too Whack for Weekends” video to hopefully bring some light-hearted attention to this issue.
As I said, I love this business and the people in it. It’s been very good to me.
But I’m getting a little long in the tooth for these types of causes. I could easily just bump along and not cause waves. However, I don’t think that is in anyone’s best interest, except perhaps the lazy, greedy, or incompetent producer.
So here we go! Go ahead and call me Don Quixote if you like. It won’t be the first time, and I won’t take offense.
After watching the video, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line at RawTravel (at) AIMTVGroup.com
ADDITIONAL RESEARCH BELOW:
Eighty-five percent of TV viewers would be willing to hand over personal information like age, gender and location in exchange for fewer ads, according to a survey from Sharethrough. Other key data points in the report include:
· 66% of people indicate they don’t actively watch TV ads and grab their phone once a commercial starts
· 73% of respondents said they would pay more attention to the ads if they were better targeted to their interests, more diversified, and with less ads per commercial breaks
· 58% said they would use their TV remote to buy a product or get a coupon for a product they liked in a commercial
It’s no secret that TV viewers don’t like heavy ad loads during their shows. But according to Hub’s “TV Advertising: Fact vs. Fiction” study, a heavy ad load not only leads viewers to say the number of ads during a show is unreasonable, but it also has a negative impact on their viewing satisfaction generally. Asked to rate the overall experience of watching the show – all things considered, not just ads – positive ratings went from 44% among those who saw 5 or fewer ads, to 33% among those who saw over 11 ads. Those who were most satisfied were those who found the ads relevant, with 58% giving a thumbs-up among those who said the ads had featured products that matched their interests.
NATIONAL AD INVENTORY COMPARISON