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The New World Of Advertising

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I watched “24” last night –see Dave Barry’s summary here— in the new mode:  I waited until 9:15, and then sped through the commercials.  Which brings us to this article from this AM (subscription required, and routine for the well-informed):

For decades, advertisers at the huge annual ad-buying event known as the “upfront” have required TV networks to guarantee the number of viewers that will be tuning in to each show. This year, advertisers will be making a range of new demands.

They will be insisting on far more information about how people consume particular TV shows — from the number of viewers who watch a program on a delayed basis rather than live to the number of people who actually watch commercial breaks. As a result, networks at the upfront, which is being held this week, are expected to have a tougher time nailing down early commitments for ads on their fall shows, something they have been able to count on in the past.

One of the problems that DVR’s have brought about:

One of the big issues at stake is how to take DVR audiences into consideration. While it is clear that many viewers use the devices to skip through ads, networks continue to demand advertisers pay for those people who do watch ads as long as seven days after they air. Last year, marketers rebuffed networks’ demands and paid only for live audiences.

This year, media buyers and network executives say a consensus seems to be emerging between the two sides: Networks will be able to charge advertisers for any viewers who watch a program within three days after it airs.

Yesterday I interviewed Michael Malone, high tech journalist and author of many fine books including the brand new Bill & Dave, the story of the founders of Hewlett Packard.  Among the many subjects we covered was the new reality for advertisers:

HH: Is that what every newspaper should be doing, Michael Malone?

MM: They should have done it a long time ago. They didn’t do it because they were afraid they’d lose their advertisers. And what they would not accept was that the advertisers, and the advertising agencies, are still evolving, and they’re very carefully inching their way forward, trying to understand how this web and blogosphere world works. But we’re starting to see the first major companies…look at Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit, and his podcast. It’s sponsored by Volvo.

HH: Yup.

MM: We’re starting to see the big boys coming in and advertise in cyberspace.

HH: Yup.

MM: And newspapers should have been set up to grab that advertising when it transferred over.

HH: Is it too late?

MM: I think it’s too late for most papers.

The web is eating up ad dollars.  “Advertisers have already begun to throw in,” Malone added. “By the end of this decade, you’ll see a major migration by advertisers over to cyberspace.”

Which is why we love’s space in the world of the web, and why we expect to grow and grow even as the dinosaur media thrashes about in the swamp.

Read the whole Malone interview here.


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