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Old May 4th, 2010, 08:44 AM   #1
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national commercial air time

Anyone have some good references they can point me to on purchasing national airtime for commercials?

I am assuming as the production company, it is our responsibility to handle that (would be our first of this level). Or am I mistaken?
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Old May 4th, 2010, 12:32 PM   #2
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Depends on whether you want to get involved with buys and placements or not.
I don't provide air buys, just the production.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #3
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Ad agencies have Media Departments that do this. It's usually not the job for the production company.

As media placement usually costs many times what the actual production does, it's often best to deal with an agency.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
As media placement usually costs many times what the actual production does, it's often best to deal with an agency.
Just don't be surprised if you find out that the Ad Agency has a video production department internally that will be "more than happy to look after producing the commercials" for your client...

The broadcaster I provide most of my PSAs for USED to do all of my client's PSAs as a "value added" service for their media buy (which in this case is a half hour slot on Saturdays on a REGIONAL, not national, feed). In this case though, the broadcaster was providing relatively low quality commercials and my client wanted to "up the ante". When you are talking about a media buy in the tens of thousands of dollars or more, agencies are certainly willing to do "loss leader" specials on things like production...
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Old May 4th, 2010, 06:46 PM   #5
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the problem is there isn't an agency involved, I came up with the idea. so I feel like I will probably be on the hook for the rest.

So far all the "agencies" that handle media buys have their own production company, so I don't want to go with them (for obvious reasons).

this might take a lot of research on my part I guess.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 12:38 AM   #6
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I'd start calling sales at the national networks and tell them you want some info as you are looking to buy
airtime. I'd suspect that the sales staff would be VERY happy to help you out. Be careful and don't give
them too much info (don't give them your client's name or anything). I've had to do this on a regional
level (not national but I'd suspect it is much the same) and as mentioned, the network or ad agency (I've had to do it both ways) will try REALLY hard to get the name of the client out of you so they can just
cut you out of the process (well, I suspect that's why they were doing it anyways,) But, if you just
don't give them any info except that you want info on a media buy, you can take care of it yourself. Of
course it's a fair bit of work, but you can bill the client for it, as long as the client asked you to take
care of this for them.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Planchon View Post
the problem is there isn't an agency involved, I came up with the idea. so I feel like I will probably be on the hook for the rest.

So far all the "agencies" that handle media buys have their own production company, so I don't want to go with them (for obvious reasons).

this might take a lot of research on my part I guess.
Agencies generally get 15% of the air buy, so you would need to get setup with the media outlets as an agency to get a discounted air buy.
I have thought about adding this service, but it is hard enough trying to compete with other production houses, without adding agencies to the list of competitors as well.

All the Best!
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Old May 5th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #8
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Are you sure you want to do a national campaign?? Seems like a giant leap for both you and the client. Question, will this be a Direct Response flight? (ie. 1-800 Call now for your Sham-Wow etc)? If so, that's usually handled a little differently than normal clients. I can help give you some leads there. Otherwise, as others have stated it's basically calling the channels Sales teams. Since alot of cable companies are owned by the same conglomerate (TNT, TBS, CNN Turner, E!, GOLF, VERSUS Comcast, MTV VH! etc Viacom) some might be somewhat consolidated, but I'm not sure (I don't think so to be honest).

Another route to consider is National Cable Communications. They buy regional markets nationwide. The plus side is it's one phone call, easier on you, and you can handle the role as 'Ad Agency/Media Buyer' by giving them networks & timeslots you prefer be bought (MTV, VH1, Bravo or CNN, MSNBC, FXNC etc) and it's pretty simple. As David Jones said slice off 15% of the invoice & pocket it yourself, billing the client 100%. The downside is the buy individual markets (Detroit, Philly, NYC, Boston, Atlanta etc). So it's not truly national, and essentially a little bit more costly to the client. The sell smaller markets like Richmond, Syracuse etc, so you can mix & match large & small markets if you wish. I think the rule of thumb is for the price of the top 8 markets, you could just buy a National spot for the same rate. Problem is it's a lot more work that way. Unless you go to just 1 channel.

Out of curiousity, are you & the client aware of the cost for a national spot?? If you're looking for prime on even almost all cable channels you're probably figuring over $1000 per :30 spot. And that's on the mid-lower tier nets like Golf, Vs, TVLand etc. during their non-highly rated shows, if they have any (ie. not Tiger Woods Golfing, or VS NHL Hockey etc)
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Old May 5th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #9
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Media buying - just like video production - is an established business.

You'd LAUGH at someone inexperienced who stood up and figured that they could simply walk in to a camera store - buy a bunch of gear - and get a professional finished work created over the next few days.

Similarly, you're imagining that the skills that a qualified media buyer has - relationships, negotiation skills, core familiarity with reach and frequency analysis, station ratings and avails - that you can simply walk in an "DO" this stuff because you're "interested" in doing it yourself?

You're nuts.

As the former owner of an advertising agency I can speak with some authority here.

The reason you hire qualified specialists is that the BIG money at risk is typically the MEDIA BUY. You're paying someone to excite RF waves and sent them skyward. If they are received properly and motivate people to act and purchase - then you're a hero. If they just blast skyward but never reach the properly intended audience, or even if they DO reach that audience, but the offer, or the message, or the creative approach doesn't drive SALES - then you've just effectively burned up thousands (perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars and have NOTHING to show for it.

Not a game for non-pros, IMO.

You want to gamble, go to Vegas - you'll save money in the long run compared to amateur advertising.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #10
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Thanks for the links.

I am not a rookie at the production side, just the media buy side, and I am not looking to do it myself, I just wanted to know if there are agencies that handle JUST the buy, and don't try and handle the production too.

and yes, we are VERY aware that it costs a lot of money.

thanks again!
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Old May 8th, 2010, 11:56 AM   #11
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I've bought locally and statewide for my clients. In short, I have set my small production company up as an agency. It's not difficult as the stations LOVE to have your business. You do need to know some fundamentals though. You need to understand targeting and reach. That's an important thing YOU need to know as the agency. You need to know what kind of mix you want and how to target specific demographics

I haven't bought national but I've certainly looked into it. For example, I contacted Time Inc. to look at buying a specific shows or time block on CNN nationally for example. Locally I've bought time on Time Warner and Cablevision and the buys ranged from rotation on local news stations to targeted shows such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to ESPN. You need to know how to help your client reach LIKELY customers and that often is NOT reaching the largest audience, it's reaching a TARGETED audience.

Keep in mind the style of the commercial is important as well. That's why it's good to be both production company and agency. The decisions have to happen in pre production. A commercial targeted at CNN or local news might not be the same for ESPN and might not be the same for The Colbert Report. If you don't know what you're doing, the cable companies can scatter to programs and hours that have nothing to do with where the ad will do most benefit for you client. In effect, you're designing an ad campaign, not simply producing a TV spot.

You also need to be mindful of meeting the specs and delivery methods. I use DGFastchannel. Tape was a complete nightmare and I'm glad that's gone for me. Some stations have their own FTP methods. I've even had cases where one cable company needed local spots to be 29.5 seconds instead of 30 which made a minor nightmare with the timed end tags.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 05:55 PM   #12
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Hey guys.....client wants to have a spot go National

I have a client who needs a TV spot made. I can do that no problem, but he also wants to have it go on national air time around the country. Typically in the past I have given the client the finished spot and they take it to the TV stations. Can anyone point my in the right direction as far as who to call and how to go about this?

The spot is about a new household product

Thanks so much
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #13
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You go to the network.

I do buys for my clients in various states and I deliver to Time Warner and Cablevision (Rainbow Media) by using DGFastChannel. For Comcast I've FTPd directly. I NEVER use tape.

If you wanted to buy CNN nationally for example you'd talk to Time inc.

Always buy for the client when you can and collect 15% agency fee.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:20 PM   #14
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Silas--

Yes, the commission is nice, but if you don't know what you're doing you not only will do a disservice to your client, but it'll take over your life. Media Buying is a profession like any other and takes experience to do well. Did you read any of the posts above yours, which already, I think, answered your question pretty well (especially Bill's)?

Do you have the knowledge and resources to do a targeted demographic, psychographic and lifestyle cluster analysis? Can you analyze every potential time period on every potential network to determine the best media buy? Can you converse fluently about GRPs and CPMs, prepare Reach and Frequency curves and ROI analysis? Are you prepared to maximize efficiency by employing cross-media buys? Do you even know what any of that is?

Does your client have the slightest idea of how expensive National time is, even late night/early am DR time?

My suggestion is to contact one of the many Media Buying Agencies around the country and let them handle this. But if you really want to handle this on your own, then Craig's right; every network has a huge Sales Department that does this. They can prepare packages for you with every Network in their Group (i.e all the Discovery Networks, all the Scripps Networks, all the Viacom Networks, etc.).
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #15
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Do you have the knowledge and resources to do a targeted demographic, psychographic and lifestyle cluster analysis?
Yes, you always ask for this and the sales depts. will give you this info. Believe me, it's not difficult to learn. Just learn it. KNOW YOUR TARGET.

BTW you may not even be able to produce the most effective TV spot for the client unless you KNOW YOUR TARGET. So if you're actually producing the TV spots you should know this stuff!
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