Good News Spread at SNTA Conference in N.Y.

Mar 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

If ad dollars are going to be flowing away from network television this season, syndicators want to get their share.
The Syndicated Network Television Association said it attracted about 500 clients and media executives to its conference in New York last week, up 30 percent from last year.
Buyers said the event, which featured a series of rapid-fire closed-door presentations from individual syndicators to specific agencies and clients, was well organized and went smoothly.
New SNTA President Mitch Burg, a former media buyer himself, said he thinks that advertisers fed up with the high price of broadcast network television will consider syndication as an alternative during the upfront.
Earlier in the week, at a conference of the Association of National Advertisers, 42 percent of the marketers surveyed said they planned to spend less on broadcast television. Among the places to which they said they planned to shift some of their spending were cable, the Internet, branded programming and syndication.
In his opening presentation to the SNTA audience, Mr. Burg said syndicated shows are growing their audiences, attracting younger viewers than the networks and accumulating higher ratings than are cable networks in an increasingly fragmenting universe.
Since joining SNTA in January, Mr. Burg said, he has concentrated the organization’s research efforts into the areas the industry has been talking about, notably audience erosion, particularly among younger viewers. And during his presentation he noted that syndication has added 20,000 gross ratings points over the past two years, about half of the decline in broadcast GRPs.
Mr. Burg also pointed to statistics that show syndicated sitcoms reach more adults 18 to 34 than any of the networks and are competitive in reaching adults 18 to 49.
When he was a buyer, syndication wasn’t seen as a reach media, Mr. Burg said. “You didn’t think of it that way. We have to get it out there and communicate it,” He said.
Mr. Burg also talked about a friend who made a deal with a cable network on behalf of a retailer. Mr. Burg said the deal was clever and not terribly expensive. But what’s the point? he asked, because if no one’s watching, the advertising isn’t going to “get people to walk through the door.”
Compared with cable, where most programs generate audiences that fall below a 1 rating, syndicated shows generate big numbers. “When you have great ratings you talk about them. When you have small ratings, you talk about total viewers.”
Individual syndicators seemed pleased with the conference.
Advertisers responded well to individual presentations, said Elizabeth Herbst, executive VP, advertiser sales, Universal Domestic Television, in a statement. “This day gives us the ability to reach many buyers in a very focused and energized environment.”
Similarly, Clark Morehouse, senior VP, advertiser sales, Tribune Entertainment Co., said, “We have been overwhelmed today by the positive advertiser response to `Home Delivery.’ An ad-friendly show like this really lends itself to product tie-ins.”
The SNTA conference ended with a cocktail party attended by stars of many syndicated shows, including Ellen DeGeneres, Regis Philbin, Tony Danza, Kiefer Sutherland, Anthony LaPaglia, Maury Povich, Montel Williams and Judge Greg Mathis.