Monday, November 24, 2008

Network TV bailout?

Why not, everyone else is lining up for a government bailout.
It's D-Day for the broadcast networks.
They've been living on borrowed time for the better part of two decades, thanks to advertisers willing to toss in more cash each year even as ratings slowly trended ever lower.

But with the economy in a tailspin -- and the Big Three auto manufacturers, some of TV's best advertisers, near ruin -- the biz may finally have to pull the emergency cord.

"This day was going to come," says one conglom bigwig. "I don't think the business can be sustained without real change at this juncture. ... We have a gun to all of our heads."

Already smarting from a writers strike-impacted season, the networks haven't had much more to celebrate this fall. Collectively, the Big Five (including the CW) are down 13% among adults 18-49 vs. last year.

How low can they go? And at what point can the networks no longer monetize ratings that don't look much better than cable?
Well to be fair, they are not really talking about a bailout, but like most old school media, network TV is facing a real hard patch and if the Big Three automakers do tank, that is a lot of revenue out the door.

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