TV Needs Real-Time Digital To Help Upfronts; Harris Polling For Ads; Gawker Media Ad Revenues Up, Way Up

TV UpfrontsHere’s today’s news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

TV Needs To Sell In Real-Time

The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica and Sam Schechner are reporting that the TV upfront for the four big networks is going to crater a whopping 10-15% – at least – as buyers like HP (quoted for the article) decide to take their chances and buy just-in-time so that they “have some flexibility in these uncertain times.” Yeah, right. It could be even cheaper by then.

As audience becomes scalable on digital TV and addressable media a reality, look for real-time buying to stem the network’s decreasing CPMs as well as dwindling upfront prospects.

If advertisers really know what they’re buying with quantifiable ROI (cost per whatever as David Smith, would say), they’ll be more willing to risk in an upfront or futures market. Liquidity in an open auction for addressable audiences will drive prices up in the spot (or scatter) market and encourage buyers to lock down rates upfront. Right now, all advertisers know is that rates are going down for an audience that is, by and large “a guess,” compared to the revelatory power of digital and its data-infused DNA. If they’re more confident with a real-time system, they’ll be more willing to risk in a futures/upfront market.

Google And Visible World Addressing TV

A new partnership will allow Google to use Visible World‘s software to target and place ads on behalf of clients for its automated Google TV ads product. Considering Google’s interest in cross-channel digital advertising, the announcement makes sense. Visible World’s investors such as WPP and Viacom are placing a financial and strategic bet that the addressable TV market is about to take off. Read more on

Polling On Ads

Two new polls are out from the combined efforts of LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Interactive. The first titled, “Advertisers and Audiences: How Their Views on Advertising Effectiveness Differ” (PDF) showed among other findings:

While over half of advertisers believe ads that make people stop and think (53%) and ads that give people new information (51%) are very effective, just three in ten consumers (30% and 29% respectively) feel the same.

The second study, “Compared to Last Year, Advertisers Rely Less on Print Ads and More on Internet and Digital” (PDF), is another shovel of dirt on the grave of print advertising as we used to know it:

“The largest drop is with print advertising as half (49%) of those who use it are using it less often relative to a year ago while 41% are using it the same amount.”

And, the bad news for online? “Consumers, however, find many characteristics of Internet advertising very frustrating.”

AOL Gets Nekkid

Bloomberg reports that Google has sold back its 5% AOL stake to AOL on July 8 for $283 million as AOL prepares to spin off from Time Warner. Google originally bought the stake for $1 billion which suggests that AOL’s valuation may have slid from $20 billion to a little over $5 billion since 2005.

Rafat Ali of notes new regulatory filings by AOL which show the importance of subscriber revenues as well as the end of the search deal with Google in 2010 which may result in a bidding war between the major search engines. Search revenues reached $678 million in 2008 – 1/3 of AOL’s revenues according to Ali.

Viacom Takes It On Earnings Chin

Media conglomerate, Viacom, owners of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, etal., reported that Q2 2009 profits were down 32% (- but hey, at least you’re profitable!) according to the WSJ’s Kerry Grace Benn.

Making A List, Checking It Two, Three, Four…

Hollis Thomases, President of, offers her version of “The Definitive List of Self-Service Online Ad Buying” on ClickZ. A long list containing some names you’ve heard of, and most that you have not – especially if you’re not part of the self-serve, long-tail world.

Where My $2 Goes Every Time I Buy An NY Times Paper

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) says that circulation revenues are now nearly equal to advertising revenue at The New York Times. Historically, ad revenue has been way ahead. CJR is covering the story in three parts (Here’s one and two. Three is coming).

From CJR:

“If current trend lines hold up, circulation revenues at The New York Times will pass ad revenues sometime this quarter for the first time ever. In the second quarter, the Times (I’m using NYT Media Group numbers, which are almost all from the NYT itself) brought in $185 million in advertising revenue, while it reaped $166 million from its subscribers. Three years ago, those numbers were $316 million and $156 million respectively.”

The Yahoo/MSFT Inches Closer. No, Really.

How long has this been going on anyway? Microsoft and Yahoo! continue to dance and Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land offers insight while drawing on a fresh AdAge article from Michael Learmonth which states that Microsoft wants a rev share deal on search – not a deal that effectively hands over Yahoo! search advertising to Microsoft.

“If the article is correct then Yahoo would retain the ability to sell search and display to its advertisers, but probably not through an integrated platform. Currently Yahoo sells search via Panama and display advertising through APT; however there was always discussion of integrating the platforms in the near term.”

Goldman Sachs Exec Leaves For

Elizabeth Blair’s (Q&A) has a brand new VP of Finance according to The Deal:

“Cindy Panchula, most recently a vice president in equity capital markets and technology, media and telecom investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co. (NYSE:GS), joined San Mateo, Calif.’s, as vice president of finance.”

The Deal postulates that Panchula’s deal-making abilities will be a good fit if/when decides to sell.

The Eyes Have It in Disney Display World

The New York Times’ Brooks Barnes sheds light the Disney “ad lab” where Disney is studying how consumers react to display advertising among other things. (source: @adready) The article notes that findings will be revealed to 200 advertisers today (perhaps part of an upfront event?). Advertising was never so exciting. Note the breathless reportage:

“He’s not even looking at the banner now,” said Duane Varan, the lab’s executive director. The man clicked to another page. “There we go, that one’s drawing his attention.”

And, it’s a hole-in-one!

It’s Not Alllll Going To Be Subscription

Cameron Hulett takes the podium on the IAB’s UK site saying that paid content is not the end game for the web in spite of recent noise saying otherwise. (source: @PubMatic).

Chicken Little Says Gawker Media Rocketing

Nick Denton’s Gawker Media revenues were up 45% in the first half of 2009 according to – Nick Denton. The irony here is not lost on those who recall Denton’s Chicken Little declarations in 2008 (chart here) in which he proclaimed that it was time to head for the hills if you were a web publisher. It would appear he headed for the hills and started mining gold.

Gawker Revenue and Expenses

Denton offers up his Quantcast numbers which shows the positive page view trend critical to the Gawker Media business model.

Reach And Frequency Rule

Comscore Chairman Gian Fulgoni – a prolific Twitter-er (@gfulgoni) – writes on the Comscore blog that Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer’s recent support of a reach and frequency based metrics model for online advertising (similar to television) may be due to Fulgoni’s persuasive argument. He writes:

“R/F considerations are vital when deciding how to structure a plan and critical when one is trying to learn from the sales results of a plan why it worked or didn’t. Again, one has to consider the creative that was used, but it seems to me it’s impossible to do any serious retrospective analysis without taking into account how many people were reached and how many times. Simple, but vital.”

Digital Out-Of-Home Debacle

YCD Multimedia is undergoing changes in the executive office and commenters had plenty to say about it recently on the Daily DOOH. New CEO and Founder CEO, Noam Levavi reveals plans at the company including its “Real-Time Ad Management Platform (RAMP)” to be released in the upcoming quarter:

“YCD’s Real-Time Ad Management Platform (RAMP) we continue to transform the way retailers communicate with their customers in-store. RAMP offers one platform for retailers, their agencies and their suppliers to manage their digital in-store media workflow and close the loop between digital promotions and actual sales, allowing for real-time optimization.”

For the DOOH faithful, Gail Chiasson offers monthly features with CEOs from the DOOH space here.

More P-Word

Advertising isn’t the only industry using the word “platform” these days. Social media platform provider, Ripple6 (acquired by Gannett in 2008) announced that brands are signing on to support their own social media initiatives. Gavin O’Malley covers the social “P” word success for Ripple6 on MediaPost.