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Old July 16th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #1
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Developing a plan for a broadcast

I have a client that's very interested in broadcasting an event I've shot and edited. I have a quote from a local TV station willing to hook us up with the time slots, but I'm treading into unknown territory here. I've suggested that the cost of broadcasting be covered by having multiple businesses sponsor the event. There are different packages covering a range of options from short 5-second plugs to 30-second commercial slots. I've come up with the basic costs for me to produce each kind of spot, and part of the plan is figure out how much to mark up each package to cover the costs. Now, the other question is figuring out how many times a spot should be aired during the event. I have a 3-hour time slot to play with. The event itself takes up 2 hours and 40 minutes, but I could trim that down if needed. The broadcaster is not part of a large network where national spots play at predetermined intervals. It's basically up to me to fill up the 3 hours.

Long story short: How do you figure out what an appropriate number of spots is? Is there some kind of formula or data somewhere that shows the best balance of content and advertising that satisfies sponsors and viewers?
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Old July 16th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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The current normal timing seems to be about 18 minutes of ads per hour of program. It doesn't address your basic question but as a viewer, one of my pet peeves is to see the same ad more than once in an hour. Same sponsor is okay but I want to see a different spot each time his ad plays. What particularly drives me nuts is when the same exact ad plays in positions 1 and 3 in a 3-spot break, something that seems to happen a lot these days.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 11:29 PM   #3
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I'd be more than happy to build as many ads as they want to have some differentiation- but since this is a first time venture for my client, they really want to keep costs down. Once I have a concrete number of sponsors to work with and can figure out how many spots I need I can make sure that I don't have the same spots running multiple times in one break. I know exactly what you're talking about- and yes, it's very annoying.
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Old July 17th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #4
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Just curious what type event this is that would take 2 hours and 40 minutes to cover?
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Old July 18th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #5
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It's a state level scholarship pageant. The entire live event takes over 4 hours, including a 20 minute intermission. I cut out all the stage transitions and interstitial stuff between segments along with any rambling or stuttering by various speakers. When all is said and done, it gets whittled down to about 2 and a half hours. It's an event that I volunteer for each year, and now my client wants the event to grow. I want my business to grow too, so I think we're working on something really cool.

I think I've come up with a workable plan though. I'll shave off another 10 minutes to increase available ad time to 30 minutes. Then I'll create an assorted selection of sponsorship packages to cover a range of budgets. The big packages will get their commercial aired more often plus bonuses like billboards and lower thirds. Lower end packages will offer fewer slots and/or shorter ad lengths (15 seconds vs. 30 seconds).

I'm used to focusing solely on the production and post production side of things, so actually putting together an entire package like this is new territory for me.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #6
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While I'm sure it's very important to the participants, you might want to consider if it's going to be something that will hold the general public's interest for its full 3 hour real-time duration. Perhaps editing it down to a 1-hour highlights show would give you a more saleable product as far as potential advertisers are concerned. I'm trying to think who would be motivated to watch the full 3-hour coverage and what the products/services might be that advertisers will want to reach that audience with and unless your kid is one of the key recipients or competitors or is bound for college and is 'scholarship shopping' I can't think of anyone who would stick with the show for its full 3 hours.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 08:16 AM   #7
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I agree with Steve. I can't see anybody sitting through 3 hours of scholarship pageant except a parent waiting to see their own kid, and once that happens, click.
A 1 hour show makes much more sense, with a nice open / opening billboards sponsorship / VO tease going to break, coming up the finalists in the... / bump in from break, VO recap & segment setup / closing bills.

Good Luck!
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Old July 18th, 2010, 11:26 AM   #8
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You REALLY need to understand your target market and how to reach it. Then you need to convince potential advertisers that they can reach their target market.

Have you defined your target market?
Have you developed a plan to reach out to that target market to know the show is airing?
Can you actually gauge the interest in viewing for your target market?
Is the time slot given one that will likely attract your target market?
Is there past history that helps you estimate the viewership based on time slot and show content?
Do you know if the market target is motivated to watch 3 hours especially against competing programing on other channels or other activities they might pursue?
Once you have some of these numbers or estimates have you developed a plan that will persuade potential advertisers?
Do you have an idea what the value might be to the potential advertisers?
Do you know what you need to charge to cover costs and/or profit if that's your goal?
Will the show be rerun and how will you handle that with advertisers?

I do low budget cable spots.
If I do a commercial for a local tennis school I know the client can get the estimated viewership for a tennis tournament on ESPN, the cost of the time buy, the number of new students it would take to make it a worthwhile buy.

The cable company providing the time slot should be able to give you numbers to play with based on recent past history of the time slot on the channel.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #9
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For what it's worth, Shawn IS in Anchorage. I don't know what Alaskan programming is like but I know that northern Canadian programming has a large focus ON the north and programming that might not "fly" in the south is a hit.

Another consideration is Gold (1 sponsor), Silver (2 or 3 sponsors), Bronze and Supporter levels of sponsorship - gold gets naming rights - "Bob's Northern Char Restaurant presents..." (IF the pageant will allow it!) and gets preferential ad placement as well as bumpers during the show and stylized name/title keys borrowing from their logo. Silver and bronze get ad spots in proportion to contribution. Supporters get screen credit with VO read at the end.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the insightful responses, everyone.

Quote:
Have you defined your target market?
Girls, between the ages of 13 and 23 and their parents.
Quote:
Have you developed a plan to reach out to that target market to know the show is airing?
I'm in the process of creating promotional advertisements that will launch on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Myspace. Promos will also air on the broadcast and cable channel the show will appear on. If I can scrape together a budget to work with, I can also set up some online text-based ads and printed material.
Quote:
Can you actually gauge the interest in viewing for your target market?
This one is a bit fuzzier. There has been an upswing in interest ever since it became known that former VP Candidate Sarah Palin was a contestant back in the 80's. Part of the idea is that getting this pageant on the air will boost its overall image and generate further interest- especially for those that don't know much about it.
Quote:
Is the time slot given one that will likely attract your target market?
Unknown at this time. Sometime between now and when the show is ready to hit the air, My client, myself, and the broadcaster need to decide on and select a timeslot of our choosing.
Quote:
Is there past history that helps you estimate the viewership based on time slot and show content?
Unfortunately, no. The channel we're going to be airing this on is relatively new. The broadcaster is trying to gain viewers and keep in line with their goal of providing lots of local content. The good news is that we'll be able to air this show up to 4 times, so we'll have more than one chance.
Quote:
Do you know if the market target is motivated to watch 3 hours especially against competing programing on other channels or other activities they might pursue?
Think there will be some folks who tune in for the full 3 hours. I think there will be more people that tune in for only part of it. TV programming is already extremely differentiated as it is. Basic cable subscribers have more than 50 channels to surf through- and this isn't counting the extended packages and premium channels. Still, if we hype it up enough, I think we can manage to get at least 5k-10k viewers. Our advantage is that we'll be broadcasting in the state's largest center of population, so the program will be available to over 300k people.
Quote:
Once you have some of these numbers or estimates have you developed a plan that will persuade potential advertisers?
This is what I'm working on right now. I'm a production guy who is used to being hunched over a computer making shiny things in After Effects.
Quote:
Do you have an idea what the value might be to the potential advertisers?
This is one of those places where I'm out of my league. For this, I'm leaning on my client a bit to use their knowledge of their existing sponsors and see what we can come up with. I know some people who are in the sales departments at a few stations in town, so I'm also picking their brains on how to figure this out.
Quote:
Do you know what you need to charge to cover costs and/or profit if that's your goal?
I know what the raw costs are for the airtime and what it would cost to have me quickly produce an ad (if needed) or billboard, and I'm in the process of coming up with numbers that my client can take to their sponsors to sell space.
Quote:
Will the show be rerun and how will you handle that with advertisers?
One station is offering to run the show 4 times, and another slightly larger station is offering to run it once for about the same cost. If we're going to run the show 4 times, I think it would be advantageous to come up with packages that reflect that. Higher dollar packages could buy slots in all 4 blocks, lower cost packages would air less often in less than all 4 shows.

I completely understand that not everyone would like to sit for 3 hours to watch the Miss Alaska Scholarship Pageant in its entirety. However, the flip-side of that coin is that I can't muster the willpower to sit through a 30-60 minute fishing show featuring a pair of paunchy, middle-aged guys mumbling about the advantages of shiny spoons versus purple spinners. Also, the fact that bigger networks can air marathons of shows like "The Real Housewives of ....." shows that there is a market for everything.

Shaun brought up a good point too. Alaska works a little differently than the lower 48. People tend to be more supportive of local subject material. They're proud to be living in The Last Frontier, and they don't want lose the "small town" atmosphere. I'm not anticipating an instant hit, but I do think we'll get a response that will result in more contestants and turnout for next year. Plus, I have the potential to gain some new clients, so everyone wins.
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Old July 20th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #11
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Great details Shawn. It sounds like you're thinking this through with understanding of the the strengths and hurdles in your specific situation.

Obviously the key is driving your target market to the TV show for the best ROI for the advertisers. Since they obviously pay for the ad time in advance, your pitch to them has to be convincing and the ability to deliver results will result in repeat advertising.

For them it will be advertising cost vs risk that you can't deliver the eyeballs and that the eyeballs, if delivered, may not respond to the ads. This is what you need to take into account in your presentation.

Claim too many eyeballs and too high a response to their ads can result in disappointment and a lack of confidence in future productions. Go too conservative in your claims and the advertisers may be happy that expectations were exceeded but you than underperform financially. This is where using whatever you can muster as past performance patterns (even if not directly related) as indicators so you can make a ballpark estimate.

BTW even though I'm in NYC "hyperlocal" has value. We have cable stations that cover high school sports for example.
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