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Rick Presas April 25th, 2011 11:41 AM

Dealing with TV Affiliate Stations when making commercials
 
Greetings all,

I've been working in DV production for about 3 years now, and have decided to attempt a foray into local commercials (the quality of the stuff that gets made here is pretty laughable, so i feel i can offer a unique product). I work in a fairly small market (<250,000) and have a couple of potential clients lined up.

What I'm concerned about is my interactions with the local TV stations. A couple of my prospect clients have basically asked me "Ok, so you get the commercial MADE for us, but then we have to go through the TV station ourselves anyway, right?"

Is this as simple as me essentially saying "YEP. All I'm offering is a higher quality product than they can give you, and at a competitive price. Where the commercial gets shown is not my problem." or should I be prepared to act as more of a middleman between my client ad the stations?

The TV stations would surely always prefer to have In-House commercials done, so I don't know how welcoming they'd be to me beyond telling me broadcast standards and whatnot. WHat is the next logical course of action for me in either establishing a relationship with the station or in answering these clients questions on the matter?

Gabe Strong April 25th, 2011 01:30 PM

Re: Dealing with TV Affiliate Stations when making commercials
 
I actually have done EXACTLY what you are talking about (along with a
ton of other not so great ideas). Basically, the way I handled it was
to go talk to the local stations, and tell them that I had clients that
I did production work for and that I may be able to help 'convince' the
clients to air on their station. Then I asked for their preferred
delivery method, if they had an FTP server for those 'quick turnaround'
spots when you get a political that comes to you at 5pm and wants you to
finish the spot that night and have it running the next morning. By
presenting it to them as EXTRA revenue opportunities for them, I got
on their good side (I'm bringing you clients that will pay for airtime)
then I just told my clients that I could handle everything as far as
getting it on air for them.....just tell me what station you want it
on and so forth. I initially had stations try and ask me
'well who is the client?'....probably hoping to 'cherry pick' my client
and offer them the 'in house production special'. I of course told
them that my clients were confidential and that they would find out
who they were IF I was able to talk my client into airing with them!
It has worked pretty good for me in that I give 'extra value' to the
client so they don't have to deal with the TV station in figuring out
all the details of airing the spot, and the TV stations are starting to
see me as 'giving' them extra revenue by 'convincing' my clients to
air on their station. It doesn't hurt that several of my clients
turned down the stations 'in house production' and then hired me, so
they could get a better product, and then aired on the station that
they turned down the production from. Those stations think I am some
sort of 'magician' as I have 'somehow convinced these clients' to air
TV spots! In reality all the client wanted was a BETTER spot than
what they provided.


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