As we all know the coronavirus lockdowns have put many things on hold. Most notably to some has been the absence of live sports and the delays in the TV and film industries. According to this article by Axios, many of the major TV networks are pushing back the release of their fall lineups due to disruptions in their shooting and production schedules, which have come as a result of these lockdowns. So, here’s the trickle-down from that:
No/fewer new shows = fewer viewers
Fewer viewers = a smaller audience seeing ads
A smaller audience = slashed TV ad budgets
This is especially important when you think that historically, September through December are some of the most critical months for brand/product marketing because the TV season rolls from the back-to-school shopping right into the holiday shopping season.
Additionally, many of these channels are also reeling from the possibility of the NFL not returning – which for networks like CBS and NBC account for over 20% of their annual ad revenue. Another huge blow to not only the network’s revenue but to the number of eyeballs that are focused on those TV sets.
What Does This Mean For You?
The affects of this fall into 3 separate camps (which are not mutually exclusive) – you as a TV watcher, you as a Brand, or you as an agency
For you as a viewer… well there’s no way around it, this sucks. I expect that there will be lots more re-runs in our future and potentially a run on Futurama and Sex and The City box sets on Amazon. But seriously, as a consumer we’re going to see a lot of licencing of overseas shows and syndications so that these networks actually have something to put on air.
For you as a brand… this means that you will probably need to find somewhere else to allocate those billions of dollars in TV ad spend. Things to think about are where people are currently spending their time – think Social Media, Streaming Services, and YouTube. Now is a great time to start thinking about those Q4 numbers and realizing that your coveted TV budgets might not get the same lift as seen in the past due to decreased viewership.
In May, Goldman Sachs released a report which indicated the coronavirus would expedite the shift from TV advertising to digital advertising, much like it’s pushed tech adoption forward by nearly a decade as people choose to stay home more and use their phones and computers to shop for supplies from the safety of their living rooms.
But there are some advantages to this move: measuring the performance of your digital campaign is a lot easier than measuring the performance of a TV campaign (which usually has to be coupled with digital campaigns to reach the under-40 crowd anyway).
For you as an agency… it really depends on what kind of agency you are. If you are buying air time on TV for your clients it might be time to start asking the networks for some serious discounts on your packages. If you are an influencer marketing, or digital marketing agency now is the time to start bringing this up with your clients.
Many companies have been in holding patterns since the Pandemic started, but the reality is that for the next while things are going to be more or less the same as they are now. So if your clients had been reserving that TV budget for when things got better, it might be time to start re-allocating that spend to other channels.