As if consumers haven't rebelled enough about increased commercial and promotional proliferation on television, broadcasters are inserting the knife deeper and twisting it more aggressively. While ABC says the total number of minutes per hour of advertising hasn't change in three years, the network, which began the practice last season, this year has required show producers to slice episodes into six acts versus the traditional four increasing the number of breaks per hour and angering viewers in the process.
Seemingly oblivious to people's abhorance of advertising, ABC Ad Sales Chief Mike Shaw said, "We've had the exact same commercial load for three years in a row. People must "feel that way because they love the show so much, that they really notice it when the breaks are there." That's precious.
Everwood producer Greg Berlanti doesn't like the practice saying, "It makes you long for the day when everything comes out in boxed sets of DVDs so you can enjoy it." Given the rise in outraged, DVR-enabled consumers, that day may not be far off. The current television advertising model is a losing proposition. As broadcasters struggle to maintain ad revenue by shoving more ads through consumer's eyeballs, people, increasingly armed with methods of avoiding ads, will rebel, lowering ad viewership thereby causing broadcasters to foist even more insanity-based methods of forced ad viewership upon consumers until the entire broadcast television model implodes on itself and finally experiences the death it so dearly deserves.
While we're not quite what the draw is about watching television on a 2.5 inch screen in a world of 50 inch televisions, we can't complain about Walt Disney's deal with Apple to provide next-day downloads for $1.99 via iTunes to the new video iPod of ABC's popular series Lost and Desperate Housewives, among others. With dwindling television viewership and, hence, dwindling ad revenue for networks, providing mobile, commercial-free, pay-per-view programming makes a tremendous amount of sense for the nets. If this takes off, networks will run with glee to the bank. Marketers, with an ad medium pulled out from under their feet, may not be so happy.
With Kid Rock, Dennis Hopper, Matthew Fox, Jerry O'Connell, Michael Imperiole, Wayne Gretzky, Rick Pitino, Alex Trebek, and Sir Richard Branson; trainers Bob Baffert, Bobby Frankel, D. Wayne Lukas, and Todd Pletcher; and jockeys Jerry Bailey, Jorge Chavez, and retired Racing Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has introduced a new $5 million ad campaign with the tagline,"Who do you like today?" Gee, we don't know but campaign creator Conover Tuttle Pace's Chip Tuttle clarified who the campaign was aimed at, saying, "This is really targeted to the core fan, the light fan, and the potentials." Well, gee, again. That sounds really focused.
Recovering from his astute targeting comment, Tuttle went on to explain the campaign, which has the celebrities, trainers, jockeys, and fans asking or answering the question, "Who do you like today?", saying, "I think everyone in this room would agree that we've just about exhausted the variations of brown horses running in a circle. We're out of clever ways to do that as television advertisers." Well, we'd definitely agree with you on that, Chip. Tuttle also says the campaign is intentionally not focused on the horses but on the people who play the horses.
Here's an ad for the Washington state lottery in which a woman freaks out to a 911 operator for reasons other than one would initially think. As Adrants reader Sean Orr points out, this spot does a great job illustrating America's hyper-capitalist, greedy obsession with money no matter what the cost. Oh sure, it's humor but what's humor without a reality on which to base it?
Since her days on Party of Five and The Byrds of Paradise, we knew one day Jennifer Love Hewitt would finally see herself at the top of the television rating charts. And she's not there not just because of her breasts. She has an alluringly charming attraction - cute but not overly bubbly - which seems to have finally paid off with her I-see-dead-people drama Ghost Whisperer on CBS. Currently, the show is number one on Friday nights with 10.86 million viewers. Given endlessly proliferating fragmentation and a Friday night time slot, ten million is very impressive. Patricia Arquette's similarly themed show Medium still does slightly better but that's in a far better time slot. With the success of Ghost Whisperer, it looks like JLH can finally leave behind her clothing company (it's a joke, people), her TV Guide covers (also a joke) and set her sites of television success.
In an OMMA keynote, CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer said the webcast of "Everybody Loves Raymond" was an experiment to determine how many people watch the show online and what traffic is driven back to the Viacom site. The webcast carried no ads but in the future, Kramer said shows could carry ads which advertisers would pay additionally for and an option to view ad-free shows for a fee might be offered as well.
As if something to be excited about, a Gallup poll shows half of Americans trust mass media news organizations to report fully, accurately and fairly. And that's up from previous years. Back in 1976 when news was news rather than entertainment, 72 percent trusted news organizations. Today, it's just a circus of talking heads spewing nonsense, sensationalizing things or relentless teasing for the most minuscule of stories that run during the last minute of the broadcast. Where's Walter when you need him?
An ad, unveiled Wednesday night, promoting the upcoming NHL season which opens with a Chinese philosopher's quote, a bare-chested player and a woman in a bra and robe has been called offensive by Chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations Martha Burk, the woman who led an unsuccessful attempt three years ago to get the Augusta National golf club to admit women. Responding to NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur's assessment the spot simply portrays the woman as the man's spiritual trainer, Burk said, "That's a major stretch. The woman is a sexual ornament, in my view. It's appealing to adult men while trying to masquerade as something for kids."
The ad, which is hardly gratuitous and carries the tagline, "My NHL," was directed by MTV Video Music Awards winner Sam Bayer. Conductor, a California-based ad agency, produced the spots, which were filmed in British Columbia. The campaign, which break Monday, September 26, is set to air on NBC, Outdoor Life Network, and Canada's TSN. The ad can be viewed on the homepage of NHL.com.
Hearst Entertainment and Atchity Entertainment International have teamed to produce a reality show, currently called Money Makeover Show, in which "unusual, extreme, entertaining, and heartfelt" financial experiences will be featured.Presumably, the "contestant" with the most interesting financial situation will win and be given a financial makeover. The show is in development with no set air date or network buyer and is scouting for people with interesting financial stories.
Hollywood's only true spirit, Tony Pierce, sat down with UPN Love, Inc. star Busy Philips for an interview. Philips was previously on the tube in Freaks and Geeks and Dawson's Creek and in the movie, White Chicks. While no one's ever heard of Love, Inc. Tony says it's "a good old-fashioned sitcom. It's witty, it's funny, it's quick and it's packed full of hot babes." We just might have to tune in.