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Guest Commentary: Creative ideas build a station’s bottom line

Feb 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Memo to general managers: The world of television has changed forever … and the future is uncertain. But one thing is becoming clearer by the minute: If consumers can’t find your show, your TV station or your network … then they can’t watch it.
Consolidation, technology and advertiser and consumer behavior are all clouding the television picture. Throw in time-shifting and video-on-demand-not to mention vertically integrated media conglomerates and advertisers exercising long-overdue influence-and the picture gets even more muddied. And if it’s confusing for those in the industry, think about what it’s doing to the audience.
That’s why your promotion and marketing departments, and the executives that run them, are more important to your success than ever before. Whether you’re a TV station or a cable or broadcast network, you need the best creative ideas you can get.
Promotion and marketing teams are the key to the bottom line’s growth. With the pendulum swinging toward a media buyer’s world, we need a strong offense to attack the defense.
Think of the proliferation of digital program guides and how this affects local newspaper TV listings. How can we embrace personal video recorders and emerging technologies? How can marketers work with advertisers to help promote tune-in to the new shows? What can we do to provide more value for advertisers? Will the Web and wireless applications provide the best way to influence viewers?
Promotion and marketing departments have to stay ahead of the curve. Our business is changing; consumers are changing. Audiences continue to gobble up technology that makes it easier for them to watch their favorite shows when they want to watch them … and for them to skip commercials when they don’t want to watch them. Traditionally, advertisers have paid television’s bills. So who pays the bills when the consumers stop watching the commercials?
Ultimately, what do you think is going to happen when the TiVos of the world reach critical mass (and they will a lot faster than most people realize)? If we aren’t proactive and working to address these very important issues, then I promise you the advertisers will stop paying our bills. Recent movements by Madison Avenue’s brightest executives have made it quite clear that new solutions are needed.
Which is why those of us in television have to take the initial steps to adapt our industry to the changing times. Why should we wait for someone else to tell us what to do or how to arrange our business?
To this end, why not determine your future by helping us write the new rules for television promotion and marketing today?
During Promax & BDA 2002, we’ll write these rules with experts from markets throughout the United States and more than 40 countries around the world. The best and the brightest will be in Los Angeles June 26 to 29 to focus on the above issues and share the techniques that keep promotion, marketing and design executives in front of the many challenges facing television stations today.
We all know budgets are tight. Consolidation and financial difficulties post-Sept. 11 have left many unable to meet bottom-line needs. But that’s all the more reason to follow through with this particular conference, because when all is said and done, one idea generated by the more than 100 educational sessions at Promax & BDA could make the difference in getting the edge over your competition, be it on a local or national level.
Your promotion and marketing experts are more important to your bottom line than ever before. Together with your sales and senior management teams, creative executives can keep dollars flowing into your stations and help your advertisers by moving their products off the shelves and their cars off the lots.
By emphasizing your creative services personnel and setting your team free to explore the cutting edge of the rapidly changing television business, you’ll take an enormous step toward maximizing your ratings and revenue. And in keeping your promotion and marketing departments ahead of the curve, you’ll make sure your audience knows what you stand for and, most important, where to find you when they turn on the television set.#
Mark Stroman is chairman of the Promax board of directors and a senior marketing agent with the Endeavor Entertainment Marketing Group in Beverly Hills, Calif.