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Cratering media and other thoughts

November 10th, 2008

Election season – especially when you have a high profile, contentious election – is always a golden time for TV stations; they get rich off all the ads candidates buy. Over the last month I’ve spoken to several TV folk who were petrified over what was going to happen to their business when the election was over and all of the political ads stopped running. Well, here we are, and the dicey economy is forcing advertisers to hold on to their marketing budgets. Consider that media holding giant Viacom was down 37% for Q3, at least partially because of a soft advertising market… and that was WITH heavy political ads.

Locally, CBS-3 is minding its pennies… insiders say the station pulled the plug on its text message plan – folks in the field used texting to relay information back to the newsroom – without telling anyone. People in the field at the World Series discovered this when their text messages never went through. Also, there’s been a salary freeze for all management at the station. At another station in town, one prominent female anchor has been told she’ll lose her job when her contract ends this winter – she just makes too much money.

Shaky times… and not just for the media, but for the agencies creating those ads.

By the way, some media comings and goings… long time Inquirer columnist/reporter Larry Eichel is taking what sounds like a cool job at The Pew Charitable Trusts… one of my faves, ESPN’s Sports Guy, might be looking for work… and we already know that my favorite penguin Opus has left the building.

So while traditional media might be headed in the wrong direction, others are innovating. Check out Timberland’s product placement on the MySpace video blog of sports rapper Paul Brogan.

Lastly, marketers often argue (and we’re including ourselves) that tough economic times are precisely when you should increase your marketing commitment. Well, Sprint has heard us.

Don’t ya think this is a smart approach? Doncha?

Posted Under: Advertising, Media & Journalism
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