What you need to know in advertising today

Two stories that really caught our attention this week both involved TV.

First, there was news that Facebook was looking to shell out up to $US250,000 for scripted TV shows as the company looks to get more people to watch video for long, ad-friendly sessions. Facebook is leaning on some of its biggest partners to produce shows, including BuzzFeed and Vox as it wants to take on YouTube, reports Digiday.

Meanwhile, some TV networks, citing costs and the uber-crowded market, are giving up on prestige TV, reports Bloomberg. FX CEO Jon Landgraf, who coined the term “peak TV” citing the current glut, told the Hollywood Reporter how hard it is to get by on just a billion-dollar-budget in a world where Netflix is spending $US6 billion on shows.

Think about that for a minute. The TV guys are giving up on making TV shows because its too hard and too expensive. This raises many questions:

  • What exactly does Facebook think it is going to get at those prices?
  • Vox, Buzzfeed and Mashable et al already flood Facebook with tons of original video. How are they going to make shows that are distinctive and urgent enough that people make it a point to open Facebook’s video app?
  • How many times has YouTube tried this?
  • Did anybody at Facebook ask Yahoo how hard it is to just “get a TV hit”? Remember watching those original scripted series Yahoo showcased a few years ago? Neither do we.

It seems one of the best and worst things to happen to the media business in recent years was Netflix absolutely hitting it out of the park with two early originals, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” It makes everybody think it’s easy. By the way, “House of Cards” is back on Tuesday.

To read more on Facebook’s content push, click here.

In other news:

The cofounder of digital ad company Undertone is stepping down. Eric Franchi, who co-founded the company in 2001, plans to focus on advising startups.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a politically-charged speech at Harvard yesterday. The 33-year-old exec spoke about climate change and the need for local political organisation.

Confused about what is Bitcoin exactly? This explainer should help.

Advertising giant Procter & Gamble wants to pump more money into TV this year, reports Ad Age. But TV networks aren’t wild about that move, because P&G enjoys grandfathered cheap ad rates that new advertisers wouldn’t benefit from.

Meanwhile, ad agencies are cutting back on how many people they send to the Cannes advertising festival this year, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sending employees to attend can cost big agencies between $US8,000 to $US20,000 per person.

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