Tuesday, May 28, 2019

"My Head Hurts"








I said that seven times when I saw this was in the paper.  And it merited each “Ow!”

I get it.  There are people who want money so badly they’ll say stuff that makes absolutely no sense to get it.  And then blame us for not understanding it.

I understand it.

I understand it makes absolutely no sense!

I also understand that people who want more and more and more and – let me put in another one – more money will say whatever it takes to accumulate it.  If you are succeeding, ‘nuff said.  If you are not, you promote poppycock, explaining you are.

Okay, here we go.

They call them the “Network Television Upfronts”, because every year in May, the old-time networks unveil their coming season of programming to advertisers, negotiating “upfront” – hence the name – rates of payment for inserted commercials, aired during the breaks in the programing.  (Advertisers consider the programs to be the breaks, but they’re wrong.)

Here’s the thing.  Hold on to your hats, and whatever else you don’t want to fly off in a whirlwind of brazen insanity.

Quoting the facts gleaned from reading that newspaper article:

Next year, the “upfront” revenues are expected to be 2.4% higher than the revenues for this year.

Even though – hold tight –

In the most coveted cohort of 18-49 , viewership dropped 11%  And a higher 14% for viewers 18-34.

In other words – for those who need other words and I see no reason you would –

Next year, advertisers will be paying 2.4% more to reach an audience that is 11-to-14 percent smaller.

Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  (Putting them on one line to save space.)

Why are they doing that?  Paying more for  “Good and Plenty” everyone knows “Contains less ‘Plenty’”?

There is an answer to that.  Though, if you are currently drinking milk, it may come squirting out of your nose.

Here’s the reasoning behind paying more for considerably less.  (The guy who invented the word “reason” may want to sue for egregious misuse of the concept.)

I shall quote directly from the article, sparing my delicate brain from arranging the nonsense.

“There is a finite amount of quality ratings points in (network) television.  Everyone fighting for that smaller and smaller amount results in inflation.”

Here’s that in English.

You think the network television business is cratering?  Think again.  This way.

You start with agreement.  “Viewers of network television are increasingly rare.”  And then you go here.  “And like everything else rare – diamonds, rhinoceri – those vestigial network viewers are, therefore, increasingly valuable.”

Ipso and its half-brother facto, the ”bump”is 2.4% more to reach less people next year than to reach more people this year.

Do you feel a skeptical chuckle coming on?  An eyebrow, raising entirely on its own?

Okay, so there’s increased competition.  Shouldn’t that make the networks try harder? 

Not necessarily.

And here’s why.

Following the prevailing “Business Model”, the more network viewership diminishes, the more the price to connect with that diminishing viewership goes up.

You can see where that leads, right?

If a diminishing audience size makes the networks more money, the way to win big is to ensure it continues to diminish…

By airing worse and worse programming.

Venn Diagram (or something thereabouts)

“Decreased viewership means more money for the networks.”

“Bad shows decrease viewership.”

“Bad shows means more money for the networks.”

Networks higher-ups aren’t idiots.  (“Good only for this argument.”)  They know that scheduling great programming would mean cutting their own throats.

They say they want to.  (To make their kids proud of them.)

But they don’t.  (To afford sending them to college.)

Suddenly, the applied strategy makes absolute sense.

“Victory Through Failure.”  (Which I believe is on the Trump Family Coat of Arms.)

Just remember.  Next time, you watch network programming and think, “This show is terrible”, somewhere a network president’s going,

“We did it!”

And you know what?

They did!


cjdahl60 said...

Actually, I think it's more nefarious than you think. With this model, the networks are able to justify rate increases whether ratings increase (costs more to reach a larger audience) or ratings decrease (costs more to reach a more exclusive audience). They can justify getting paid either way. Good old capitalism......

Stephen Marks said...

I think it's even more nefarious then either Earl or cjdah160 think. The paper Earl read this item in probably has 20% fewer readers than the year before and therefore the ads surrounding the story Earl was reading cost more. I guess it's a supply and demand thing, a trickle-down economics thing. I'm shocked that in a story about advertisers paying more for less Earl didn't put the letter "e" at the end of at least one "Ow".