Slashing Ads

Yeah, Baby…


It’s a big headline: NBCUNIVERSAL IS SLASHING EVEN MORE TV ADS. I love Axios. You should subscribe.

And to us, as viewers, it seems inevitable. No one actually watches most TV ads. We haven’t for decades now. Great ads, ads created for the Super Bowl? Yeah, we watch those, but great ads — really heart-touching ads — are a tiny fraction of the assault we face when we turn the on the TV.

Truth is, it’s been harder than TV execs hoped. It’s been difficult to replace that income they’ve become used to for 70 years.

On top of that, everyone knows that nothing works better than TV when it actually works. Ahh, but that’s the tough part, isn’t it?

What will work when it comes to TV ads?

Because if you produce something that doesn’t work, that is a really, really expensive mistake.

But I want you to click on that headline and read the article to see how this relates to Radio.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Ok then…

now that you’re thinking of yourself as a viewer, a consumer of the product you choose to watch on TV, pivot and gaze upon our listeners…

those that choose what to listen to, whether on the radio, or on their phones, or streaming in their cars and offices.

It seems inevitable to those people that Radio will die soon, because they — we — all know no one actually listens to 7 minutes of commercials back-to-back when they’re driving in their cars, much less 12 or 15 minutes of ads every hour!

And fewer and fewer are willing to listen even in their offices, because they can listen to Spotify or Pandora, the free channels, and hear 2 minutes of ads per hour tops.

Radio can’t even cut down to 2 minutes of ads per stop set.

And that is why no one believes that listening to Radio has remained remarkably stable in the past decade. Be honest, it’s hard for us to believe that and we see the data.

So, Radio owners and execs, you have two big problems — well, a lot more than two, but let’s stay on this subject and limit it to two:

  1. You have to find a way to live with lower margins so that you can decrease the number of spots on your stations. I’m talking 10% profit or less.
  2. You have to start spending money persuading everyone that Radio is not, in fact, dead, or else tomorrow’s advertisers will not be willing to buy ads on your stations no matter how cheap they are.

Look, it’s not like Radio doesn’t have a great story to tell. But we have to start telling it, and before we do that, we need to do something about this absurd commercial clutter. You know it as well as I. We all know it. C’mon, fix it! That’s why you get paid millions every year.

I’m not certain how any product that wants to grow can limit itself to digital advertising, especially when the numbers, upon magnification, are so suspect even when not intentionally fraudulent.

TV is too expensive for most local advertisers, and even the national ones are feeling the pinch.

That leaves good old Radio.

Hire some good writers. Hire some great voice actors. Find a way to accountability. And make less more.

Then you’ll have earned that corner office and private jet.