NBC wants advertisers, not upfronts

Lisa Napoli Feb 20, 2008

NBC wants advertisers, not upfronts

Lisa Napoli Feb 20, 2008


KAI RYSSDAL: In the wake of the writers’ strike, change is coming to television, too. NBC is getting ready for a new way to schedule “Must See TV.”

Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli has a preview.

LISA NAPOLI: The idea of a fall TV season is as old as the medium itself, and it’s about as dated as a black and white television.

JONATHAN TAPLIN: It’s such a holdover from an earlier age that it just doesn’t make any sense anymore.

That’s former producer Jonathan Taplin of the University of Southern California Annenberg School. He says NBC’s switching to a staggered schedule, where it launches new shows year round. It’s all about appealing to advertisers. Taplin says the network will make its programs available to them earlier than rival broadcasters. That’ll give marketers a chance to buy into and plan around new programs while they’re being developed.

TAPLIN: Just basically saying, here’s the panoply of stuff we do that you can buy, and that’s a smart thing to do.

James McQuivey of Forrester Research says it’s also a necessary thing to do for the network’s survival.

JAMES MCQUIVEY: The consumers have changed. The advertisers want to get in front of them, and NBC is thinking, well this is a way to satisfy the advertisers who want to reach the consumers. Everybody is hopefully going to be happier as a result.

NBC insists this doesn’t mean advertisers are going to start deciding what shows you see on television. TV columnist Tim Goodman, of the San Francisco Chronicle, doesn’t buy that.

TIM GOODMAN: We’re already in a world where product integration is just part of the game now for television series.

With ratings tanking and viewers skipping commercials, or television altogether, what advertisers want is likely what they’re going to get.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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