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Author Topic: Some thoughts on commercials...  (Read 1711 times)
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Posts: 14

« on: February 23, 2004, 10:44:09 PM »

I think we're all aware that Fox/FX, NBC and TNT are on the hook for quite a hefty chunk of dollars to carry NASCAR racing.

I think we all also get annoyed at all the commercials.

I thought I'd spend a little time with some insights into the whole commercial controversy.

Of course, the networks sell commercial time to pay for the broadcast of the races (and every other program they air).  And they hope to make a profit by doing this as well.  That's the business they're in... broadcasting programs they hope a lot of people will watch, and charging money to people who would like to advertise to those people.

Remember that the producer doesn't have any control over the amount of commercial time during a race - that's a decision made by the programming and sales executives.  Programming always wants less commercial times, and sales always wants more - it makes for some interesting meetings, but the sales guys almost always win out, within reason.

So the network may decide that during a 4 hour race broadcast, they will sell 60 minutes worth of commercial time.  That's just 15 minutes per hour.

Now the sales droids hit the phones, trying to sell that time.  Probably they're armed with a "package" that guarantees a sponsor so many commercial airings during the event... say 5.  So if I, as a sponsor, spend X dollars, I get my commercial on the air 5 times during the event.  

But wait... I *really* want to get my commercials on a lot, so I buy 3 "packages."  So you get to see my commercial 15 times, instead of just 5.  Other sponsors may buy more, some will buy only the one package.  

So there's why you see some commercials a LOT, and others not so much.  In some cases, the spots are just so annoying that they *seem* to air more.

Keep in mind, too, that there are no "natural" breaks in a race that are pre-planned... there's no end of the quarter, no end of the half, can't break away when one team calls timeout to discuss things.  That's the very nature of the sport.  So the network *has* to run spots during green flag racing, because they can't be *certain* there will be enough cautions to be able to get in all their sold air time during pace laps (look at the last long run at Daytona, for example).

Some will say they should run fewer commercials, and just charge more for the ones they do run.  That's not always feasible - raise the price too much and nobody buys.  So now the network has to spend all that money, but they're not getting any in return.

Others will say that networks should just take the risk and only run commercials during a caution.  As a sponsor, why would I want to only have my commercials on during caution laps?  That's when everybody gets up to refill $beverage and step into the smaller room with various fixtures.  So fewer people see my commercial.

Commercials will always be there - someone has to pay the cost of bringing these races to us.  I don't like 'em either, but I understand how it works, and why they have to be there.

One experiment I would like to see is PPV.  Put the Fox or NBC/TNT feed on with no commercials, let folks pay $20 or whatever for it.  No commercials.  See how many are pissed off enough at the commercials to pay for the privilege of watching it commercial free.

OK, I'll stop rambling now. Smiley
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Posts: 51

« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2004, 11:13:22 PM »

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE the "mute" button on my remote?   :wink:
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2004, 01:07:02 AM »

I know that commercials are a necessary evil.  I have less of an issue with commercials than I have with the way the broadcast is presented.  I certainly can't afford to pay over $750 to watch a season of racing.  I just want to see the race without being assaulted with gimmicks and gizmos, and irrelevant chatter.  I don't consider racing to be "entertainment", just because I choose to watch it.  It's a sport.  If the racing itself isn't "entertaining" enough without all the garbage, then I think you're watching the srong TV channel.
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