WGA STRIKE CENTRAL
As we noted yesterday, most networks are in a good place, being part of larger conglomerates with cable shows. What NBC can do, for example, is move inventory from their cable networks like Project Runway or Burn Notice, onto the broadcast network. Fox is a global company as well and can move stuff over from FX, etc. Broadcast nets have plenty of show archives they can move into primetime as well.
If the strike moves forward past the end of the year, we’re going to see some real creative stuff come down from the programming folks on the fly to create momentum. They will, in essence, become DJs of the TV airwaves. An Aaron Spelling theme night, etc…But what will advertisers pay-especially the top-tier ones? All upfront deals will go out the window. It’s very important that the networks treat the agencies and advertisers with kid gloves if this goes down-because it will come back to haunt them in the next upfront.
The whole DVD issue is a huge money maker for the networks and producers–it’s how they’re making money now. Otherwise, they’re not making as much as they used to. Jason Kanefsky, MPG SVP/National Broadcast, notes ratings point goals are diminished, which means their ability to create dollars is diminished. He’s telling clients rating points are already down 10%–forget C3, the ratings are down, and it may be partly because we are going into daylight savings later. They will get a better read during Nov. sweeps and when there is no baseball on. "But as we stand today, the network situation is dire and this strike will only make it worse," he noted.
Some agencies tell us they are already telling clients they are going to be very, very careful on what they accept as make-goods. They’re trying to get as many ratings points as they can, and are slightly over-buying in Q1.
The strike will almost be like a test lab of what viewers are going to do. Will they go to the web and look at different sites? Will it also be a boon for syndication? Stay tuned