Profile: Shelley Watson

Oct 22, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: VP and media director, Broadcast Investment Group, Starcom North America.
Recent interesting deal: “The Toys R Us-ABC Unlimited deal. While I can’t discuss all of the upcoming elements, it is truly an integrated deal, not just a bundled media deal. The unique aspect of the deal is that it lines up select assets of the Disney Co. behind the primary business and marketing goals of the client. No division was a must-buy, and no player stood in the way of the higher goal if their property was not a fit with the marketing objectives. The level of collaboration was incredible, down to the detailed sharing of the client’s business plan for the upcoming year. Simple concept: build legitimate solutions that organically support the client’s marketing initiatives.”
The next big thing: “Multiplexing-multiple airings of the same show on different networks. The current spin claims the benefit is for the viewers and the advertisers who are trying to reach those viewers. And while that could easily be a byproduct of the concept, it’s not the impetus for its creation. It was developed as a means for networks to amortize increasing program costs across viewing sources or risk not being competitive in their bidding for those programs. While I don’t disagree with the viability of the concept, what poses a concern is the pass-through of these costs to the advertisers. Not every viewing source is of equal value or quality in terms of delivery or perception.
“Creatively, the other big thing on the horizon is the concept of product integration, the next generation of product placement. It’s a product that is deliberately woven into the fabric of a television program. Overdone product placement will eventually starve itself out of the market, but the covert marriage of entertainment and consumer brands will move a client’s business forward. The only truly valuable product integration is when it organically emerges from the content, and the product or service is integral to the story.”
Is there anything you wish you bought less of: “In theory, no. As an investor, I love the art of the deal and all the work and preparation that go into it. But a deal lives beyond the actual negotiations, and I am a big believer in service. It’s hard to do repeat business with those who don’t live up to the deal.”
Is there anything you wish you bought more of: “On a personal note, my two favorite shows, `The Gilmore Girls’ and `Alias.’ Professionally, I’d like to see even more high-quality, family-friendly programs available in the marketplace.”