What a delightful week this is turning out to be for Verizon. First, archrival AT&T decides it will ditch its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA (as if they weren’t grinning madly in the halls of Verizon’s Art Deco building down on West Street) and then they get a piece of this NBC deal to stream the Super Bowl. No doubt, in the greater scheme of things the AT&T news trumps the streaming deal — but every little thing helps in the crazy competitive telecoms world.
Ahhh, Super Bowl Monday. The hangovers. The salsa stains on the sofa. The dreams of winning your office betting pool crushed. And the ad reviews. Yes, today is the day when everyone — many with little or no connection to advertising, football or tastemaking — puts out a list of the top Super Bowl commercials. Some are better than others. USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter is probably the best known (and this morning had Bud Light’s Dog Sitter ad ranked tops). But two others that are very good gauges of the winners/losers of the Ad Bowl are TiVo and the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review.
Call it the Ad Bowl. Or the Buzz Bowl. Or the BS Bowl. Doesn’t matter, it all boils down to this: Sunday’s Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for advertisers, some of which dished out $3 million for the chance to reach an audience of 100 million consumers for 30 seconds. At that price — $100,000 a second — the stakes are high. A good commercial can be a triumph, creating just the kind of water-cooler talk that propels a brand to a new level with consumers. A bad commercial? Well, those behind it better start dusting off the old resume.
It’s almost time again for the Super Bowl, which means this is when all the talk starts about those famous, and famously expensive, commercials. Just how expensive? Kantar Media came out with a study today that shows Anheuser-Busch InBev, Pepsi, Walt Disney, General Motors, Coca-Cola have combined to spend nearly $600 million on Super Bowl ads over the last 10 years. For those of you bad with numbers, that’s more than half-a-billion dollars. Keep in mind, General Motors wasn’t even part of the game for 2009 or 2010.
So you know the story well by now: Fox Networks’ Fox 5 and My 9 channels have been off the air for Cablevision’s 3 million odd homes in the New York area since midnight on Saturday morning because both sides have been unable to reach a carriage deal. As a result New York football fans have missed a key Giants game versus Detroit Lions (pictured) and could miss more if this continues. As you might expect, the argument between Fox and Cablevision is over money.
Conan O'Brien could well be headed to Fox after making it clear to NBC that he will not go graciously into the later night. But a channel-changing question that is making the rounds has more to do with what the drama unfolding between O'Brien and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno says about NBC and its agreed joint venture with Comcast. If nothing else, the lack of replacement programming for the slot Leno is vacating, and the purported profitability NBC still enjoyed by having a cheaper, single-star variety show in a traditionally pricey prime-time slot, raise an obvious question -- why the rush?
Football, sorry, soccer has never quite been a big money maker for the U.S. cable TV industry. But Fox Networks has long wagered that the popularity of the game with the little leaguers and the changing demographic of the country will eventually translate into the kind of big bucks that parent News Corp is used to in the U.K. with Sky Sports.
Fox Networks went public today in what it said has been a fruitless nine-month-long carriage negotiations with Time Warner Cable, the No.2 U.S. cable company. It said there is the very real possibility that popular shows like American Idol and NFL Football could disappear from the air if you’re one of the Time Warner Cable’s nearly 14 million customers.
What’s that? Jay Leno is moving to prime-time? You don’t say!
Frankly, it’s hard to remember the last time there was such hubbub about a TV show. It was, after all, the cover story in Time magazine. Not to be outdone, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AP, and probably every local news outlet between New York and Hollywood had a story about the talk show host — more often than not raising the question of whether he’s going to save network TV.