ATAS Eyes Promoting Emmys

Oct 4, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences executives are still scratching their heads-and pointing fingers-over what went wrong with its low-rated Emmys Awards show on ABC last month. Now the group, feeling shortchanged by ABC, may take some marketing efforts into its own hands.

The academy is considering supplementing a network’s marketing plans with its own paid advertising. Media executives think supplemental marketing costs would amount to less than $1 million and would consist of outdoor, print and other media. The academy might even make a small cable network media buy.

“We have talked about it casually-on a theoretical basis,” said ATAS Chairman and CEO Dick Askin.

This would be in a similar mode to how the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences spends extra marketing dollars around its big event, Academy Awards, which is now broadcast in February.

The TV Academy still blames ABC’s lack of marketing for the poor performance of the 2004 Emmys Awards program.

“We told ABC we were disappointed,” Mr. Askin said. “I saw little presence of many Emmy promos this year, although ABC said they promoted the show well.” The show drew a 9.4 Nielsen Media Research household rating and a 4.6 rating in adults 18 to 49-the lowest household rating since 1990.

“We got a lot of e-mail from people saying they didn’t know the Emmys were on,” Mr. Askin said.

A silver lining was that ratings for the three-hour show were pretty consistent from beginning to end, said Mr. Askin, adding that means the quality of the show was good. Traditionally, if ratings trend down during a program, it indicates viewers are turned off to its entertainment value.

Media executives said the network could have done more to market the event-specifically on ABC’s own cable networks. But TV network producers consistently complain about not getting enough marketing support-sometimes even if the show is doing well ratingswise.

Mike Benson, senior VP of marketing, advertising and promotion for ABC Network, said his network did a proper job in marketing the Emmys-including print and radio and cable.

“We gave it the same amount of promotion as the last time we had it, [when] it did a huge number,” he said. In 2000 the network earned a 14.2 rating, the highest for the show since 1996, when ABC also had the Emmycast and earned a 14.4 rating.