Kimmel Quips as ABC Touts Power of Broadcast TV to Ad Buyers

May 19, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Like Fox on Monday, ABC on Tuesday went before advertisers and media buyers to pitch the mighty power of broadcast TV and show off some of the new shows that will be on its fall schedule.
“Television is the strongest advertising medium available today,” said Anne Sweeney, president of ABC Media Networks.
For TVWeek’s comprehensive coverage of the upfront presentations, visit the Upfront Navigator page.
Ms. Sweeney noted that advertisers these days are looking for more out of their media partners. She pointed to findings from the Walt Disney Co.’s AdLab that looked at the live ads that have been running on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in late night. AdLab found that when a live ad was paired with a traditional ad, the ad’s effectiveness nearly doubled and there was a double-digit increase in purchase intent.
She demonstrated by showing a tape with her sitting next to Mr. Kimmel on his set.
“Your intent to purchase ABC just went up 13%,” she said.
Mike Shaw, ABC’s head of ad sales, added that his network’s programming boasted the high-income households that still have money to buy branded products.
“ABC delivers consumers, not just viewers,” he said.
Page Thompson, president of Omnicom Media Group North America, noted the networks are pushing the effectiveness of broadcast television.
“That’s the message of the week. We heard it at Fox and now at ABC,” Mr. Thompson said. “No one’s arguing that. We’re arguing about the cost.”
As an antidote to the sales pitch, Mr. Kimmel came out and told viewers, “Everything you’re going to hear this week is bullshit. There is no AdLab.”
And the new shows? “We’re going to cancel about 90% of them,” he said. “Everyone is full of shit except Mike Shaw.”
Mr. Kimmel noted that ABC wanted Jay Leno in its late-night lineup, but that NBC decided to retain Mr. Leno “even if we have to destroy our own network to do it.”
He joked that NBC will offer the TV equivalent of early-bird specials, running its late-night show at 10 p.m. and announcing its primetime schedule before the other networks.
“I don’t know if they’re two weeks early or 50 weeks late,” he said.
Mr. Kimmel said ABC would be offering advertisers great brand integration opportunities. “If you pay enough, your product can kill Dr. Izzie on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” he joked.
And as for affluent audiences, he said, 10% of ABC viewers are “watching from homes they still own.”
Ad buyers don’t need an upfront, he said. They need therapy.
“Who cares? It’s not your money. Just give it to us,” he said.
ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson presented the networks’ new programming, noting that even in this digital new-media landscape, “It’s all about the shows, not the delivery systems” that drive viewers.
ABC showed the first act of its drama “Flash Forward” and the entire pilot of its comedy “Modern Family.”
The comedy was well received by buyers.
“I think they’ve got a hit there,” Mr. Thompson said.

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