NBC Shrinks Ad Load; Earned Media In Free Fall?

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Lightening The Load

NBC said it will reduce its ad load in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ad sales chairman Linda Yaccarino wrote a blog post detailing a plan to reduce ads across categories, including news and late-night talk shows, to free more time for pandemic coverage. But the cuts will be permanent for all programming, since NBC was already working toward fewer, less interruptive commercials. NBC didn’t specify how much it would reduce its ad load, but said it will take different approaches to different types of programming, Adweek reports. Total consumption on NBC properties was up 27% in March, but reducing ad load allows the network to be more flexible with advertisers that might reduce or cancel campaigns.

Unearned Media

Many brands, especially direct-to-consumer and ecommerce companies, depend on earned media. “A growing number of them are reporting on the compounding effects of a loss of revenue due to decreased affiliate sales and a loss of opportunity due to insufficient earned media,” writes the ecommerce and media research firm 2PM. Brand partnerships, collabs, events and announcements aren’t launching or being covered right now. Without fashion, culture and general news coverage, affiliate inventory is down, and supply is also restricted because retailers including Walmart, Macy’s and Patagonia suspended affiliate programs for the pandemic. On top of that, Amazon, the big kahuna, removed third-party affiliate vendors from its affiliate program at the end of March. Though that move was planned before the coronavirus surfaced in the United States.

Side Hustle Economy

When most people think of the digital economy, they imagine large tech and media companies in San Francisco and New York City. But tiny ecommerce ventures and service providers, sometimes one or two people, are critical for local economies, according to research based on GoDaddy data and public income data. These online businesses –many are side hustles – are vulnerable right now, since they don’t qualify for unemployment or small business benefits, The New York Times reports. “While that’s true, there is also this digitally enabled economic activity at the grassroots level that we haven’t really been able to see clearly before,” said Karen Mossberger, a professor of public policy at Arizona State and author of the study.

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