Monday, May 18, 2009

Marketers Fight for Right to Buy Shows, Not Networks

In Digital World, Brands Want to Follow Favorite Programs Across Media

NEW YORK ( -- Want your ads in CBS's blue-chip "CSI"? Then you'll have to run some in "Harper's Island." Eager to get your message to the devotees of ABC's "Lost"? Then you'll have to buy some time during untested debutantes such as "Cupid."

That's how it's worked for decades. Marketers and their media buyers are forced to agree to TV networks' condition that they take ad positions across entire schedules if they want to be in the hottest shows. Marketers' patience with this system is, however, running out, and many are pushing harder than ever before to buy programs and not networks. Yet in this upfront, the networks will still ask them to once again buy across the board -- and pay a premium to really build their brands into a show's DNA.

"This is going to be the battleground for the next few years," said one senior marketer.

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