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The Pitfalls of TV Packages

Beware the Green-Eyed TV Demon

With the lead-up to Christmas, everyone is vying for awareness and sales. And with it, television remains a powerful and effective medium for reaching a wide audience. However, not all TV media deals are created equal, and it's crucial for businesses to be cautious when considering package TV deals that may promise low rates but come with hidden pitfalls

One of the most common pitfalls to watch out for is the inclusion of a majority of off-peak programming at rates above the rate card. In this blog post, we'll explore why this should raise a red flag for advertisers and what you can do to protect your advertising budget.

The Allure of TV Advertising

TV advertising offers unparalleled reach and engagement with viewers, making it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes. Whether you're a small local business or a national brand, television can be a powerful tool to connect with your target audience, especially since the emergence of video on demand. However, the effectiveness of your TV advertising campaign depends on several factors, including when and where your ads are aired.

Understanding Peak and Off-Peak Programming

In the world of TV advertising, programming is typically divided into two main categories: peak and off-peak. Peak programming refers to the times when TV viewership is at its highest, usually during prime time in the evening. 6pm –9:30 pm These slots are in high demand and often come with a higher rate card, which is the standard published price for advertising during specific time slots.

On the other hand, off-peak programming includes times when viewership is lower, such as late at night or early in the morning. These slots are less competitive and generally have lower rate card prices. While off-peak slots can be more affordable, they may not offer the same level of audience engagement as peak programming.

Experienced TV media buyers will look for a strategic alliance of peak and off-peak programs to deliver the best value schedules. Schedules will often include video-on-demand programs that rate highly but are less expensive than on free to air or will include fringe programs that sit just before or just after peak programs. This method of combined scheduling increases reach and frequency without impacting your audience numbers and can often lead to increased awareness building as new audiences become aware of your product or service.

The Pitfalls of Low-Cost TV Media Deals

Now, let's delve into the warning signs associated with TV media deals that offer low rates but include a majority of off-peak programming at rates above the rate card.

Limited Visibility: The primary goal of TV advertising is to reach your target audience effectively. If a media deal includes a majority of off-peak slots, your ads may be aired when viewership is significantly lower. This means fewer eyes on your message and potentially limited impact.

Above Rate Card Rates: In some cases, advertisers may find that the off-peak slots included in the package deal come at rates higher than the rate card. This can be misleading and ultimately result in higher advertising costs than initially expected.

Reduced Effectiveness: Off-peak programming may not align with your target audience's viewing habits. Your message may not resonate as effectively during these times, reducing campaign effectiveness.

Wasted Budget: Investing in off-peak slots at above rate card rates can quickly eat into your advertising budget without delivering the expected results. This can be especially detrimental to small and medium-sized businesses with limited resources.

Protecting Your Advertising Budget

To avoid falling into the trap of TV media deals with low-peak programming and above rate card rates, here are some steps you can take:

Demand Transparency: When negotiating a TV advertising deal, ask for a detailed breakdown of the time slots included. Ensure you know the percentage of peak and off-peak programming and the associated rates.

Consider Audience Behaviours: Evaluate when your target audience will most likely watch TV. Focus on securing peak programming slots during these times to maximise the impact of your campaign.

Work with Experienced Media Buyers: Collaborate with media agencies or buyers with experience negotiating favourable TV advertising deals. They can help you navigate the complexities of media buying and ensure you get the best value for your budget.

Beware of Unrealistic Promises: Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. If a package deal offers significantly lower rates than the industry standard, it's essential to investigate further and understand what you're truly getting.

In conclusion, while TV advertising can be a potent tool for brand promotion, it's crucial to approach package deals cautiously. Deals that emphasise off-peak programming at rates above the rate card can lead to wasted budgets and reduced campaign effectiveness. By demanding transparency, considering audience behaviour, working with experienced media buyers, and being wary of unrealistic promises, you can protect your advertising budget and ensure your TV campaign delivers the desired results. Remember, the goal is not just to save on costs but to maximise the impact of your advertising efforts.

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About the author

Connect with Cath

Cath is Head of Strategy at MPA. A seasoned professional in marketing and media, Cath has worked across multiple Agencies and Clients from multinationals to start-ups

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