TV Commercials - where to start? at
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Old May 7th, 2007, 12:48 PM   #1
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TV Commercials - where to start?

My company is interested in getting started doing some TV spots for our clients.

Something just being tossed around right now.

I'm trying to get some figures in place but in doing so I realize I have no idea where to start. So I have some questions:

1. Who do you contact to get a TV spot aired locally, regionally, nationally, internationally?

2. What does air time cost? I know it's based on a lot of factors including run time, time of day, channel, how often it's run and so on, but where do I even start to get these figures? Who do I contact about them and what can I quote clients for this portion of the budget?

As an example if my boss comes to me and says "hey so and so client just asked if they could get us to shoot a commercial to air on local TV channel 2, 4 or 7 (broadcast or cable) how do we make this happen and what do I quote them?"
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Old May 7th, 2007, 09:26 PM   #2
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I don't know if you need to worry about most of the questions you asked as much as you think. I've only worked on two, but in both cases, the client took care of getting everything on TV, I just gave them a tape with the finished product. Now, it's probably a good idea to know what rates are for people that might not have any idea, but you should just have to call the cable company to find out.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 02:05 AM   #3
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Yup, the actual airing times, costs, etc is up to the client to negotiate with whichever channel they want to air the ad on. Each station should have a Sales department which handles such deals. If you want to find out for yourself, ring the local stations and ask. Different stations will have different rate schedules.

What YOU need to find out are the technical requirements of delivery format at these places. Some may only take BetaSP, some may be happy with DVCam or even DV. Some may require 16x9, others may prefer 4x3.

Just the way the ad is presented on tape may need to be done in a specific manner. Eg; Ads I produce for my local market here in Australia require bars and tone at the head of the tape, followed by a slate detailing ad name, client name, duration, and Key number. Then at least a 5 second countdown, cutting to black at the two second mark. They also require the vision at the end to continue for a few seconds over the run time, although the audio must be dead on.

These requirements may differ in your market, which is why making the calls yourself will get you a lot further than asking people here, as we can only give you generalities.

What you charge should only be for the production of the ad itself, as that's all you need to do.

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Old May 8th, 2007, 05:22 AM   #4
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Yeah you guys are right. I started thinking about this and I realized that our big clients will probably have the advertising agency handle the details for that, just like they do right now. And for our smaller local clients that don't go through an agency they'll probably only have their stuff aired locally on cable. I probably should call around to get ballpark quotes for that and also format specifics.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #5
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I've done this and I'm the tiniest "mom & pop" in the biggest market.

Contact your local cable companies and tell them you'd like to buy time for your clients. They'll get you "listed" as an ad agency. That might mean a business credit check. Depending on the results you either pay up front for the time or they'll bill you monthly.

You should get their complete rate cards.

You should make sure you get the 15% agency discount. This means you keep 15% of the money your client spends on time. They're spending it through you though. They write you a check. You write the cable company a check keeping 15%. Since you're making money on the time buy you have the potential to cut your prices on the production side especially for the bigger buys.

Yes make sure you get the specs for the cable companies you deal with.

Also look into delivery services like DG/Fastchannel. I shoot in DV/DVCAM but I needed to deliver in BetaSP and up. That meant going to a dub house and then going to overnight shipping. With DG I just compress to MPEG2 Program stream and FTP the commercial. No tape/dub cost. No running to FedEx/UPS. DG has 1 hour, 4 hour, Overnight service. Cost is about the same as shipping but you save money on the dub and on going to a shipping office.

You even may get clients who have spots done already but need someone to buy the time for them. You'll need to spec check their spots though. There's a lot of folks who shoot spots but don't do the buy (folks just like you). You be the one who jumps into this business and even if you don't get their spot production you can be the buyer.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 01:38 PM   #6
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Similar situation

Wow, lots of information. I'm in a similar state in that I have a few internet ads but I want to be prepared should the companies want to go broadcast / cable.

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Old May 8th, 2007, 05:04 PM   #7
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NEVER, NEVER, NEVER - front money on Ad buys for your clients....
A great way to lose a bunch of money. 15% is not worth it unless the
client pays up front. I edited a spot for a production company and heard later that the production company client ran up a $30,000 tab at the cable company and then skipped town.
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