Speciale Sees More Than Just Herself Moving to CableNew Turner executive looks at what’s ahead for 2012 1/09/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
In her most recent role as MediaVest president,
investment & activation, and agency operations,
Donna Speciale oversaw buying and activation
for clients across all media platforms for an agency
with ad billings in excess of $8 billion. On Jan. 6,
Speciale was named president of
Turner Entertainment & Animation
Sales. Just prior to her departure
from MediaVest, Speciale
shared her unique perspective on
ad spending in the coming year, TV
Everywhere, the economy and the
continued growth and lure of online.
An edited transcript follows.
With the economy still in a
state of flux, how are your
marketing clients viewing TV
ad spending for 2012?
It was not surprising to me that
scatter buying in fourth quarter
was not very robust, because a lot
of new ad money was spent in the
upfront instead of saving it for scatter.
First-quarter cancellation options
were reasonably low so first
quarter should be OK, but second
quarter could be when clients start
taking back ad dollars to put toward
their bottom line. But as always, all categories will
be different. Movie scatter spending will be based on
movie release dates and pharmaceuticals will spend tied
into new drugs or when patents in brand name drugs
expire. If scatter buying is soft in second quarter, traditionally,
that could have a negative effect on upfront
spending because the upfront is in second quarter. Also,
look for other platforms like online and mobile to take
some dollars away from traditional television—not huge
amounts, but each advertiser will spend a little more on
those other platforms at the expense of television.
Who is in a better position to continue to get the
bulk of TV dollars, broadcast or cable?
We have seen a shifting of dollars
from broadcast to cable and
this will continue, though not as
drastically as it has shifted in the
past five years. But as marketers,
our clients are more focused today
on audiences and fine-tuning their
spending to target better. Cable has
allowed us to do that better.
Many of the 2012 forecasts
say ad spending in syndication
could be down. How do
your clients view advertising
Ad spending on syndication has
been somewhat flat, although so
far it has not declined as much as
some have predicted. But syndication
today, with less original programming
and more off-network
shows, is pretty much tied into
broadcast television. When broadcast
primetime program ratings are
soft and decline each year, syndication gets hurt because
those are the shows that eventually make their
way to syndication. And when Oprah Winfrey ended
her show, a large amount of those ad dollars moved
elsewhere, some of it out of syndication. But there’s a
glimmer of hope. Katie Couric’s new show, scheduled
for syndication in September 2012, has a lot of buzz
surrounding it. She is well liked by advertisers, and that
could bring some dollars back into syndication.
What is more important to your clients—TV
Everywhere or addressable advertising?
It’s not really an either-or. We want both. We used
to buy broadcast television and look at the audience
demos we were not targeting and considered it bonus
viewing. We no longer view it that way. We only want
to pay for the audiences we want to target and reach.
We need to fine-tune our ad buys. Turner and AMC
are doing a great job experimenting with TV Everywhere,
and it’s great for us to be able to buy every
platform through one contact. A lot of work still needs
to be done to determine the best commercial loads for
each platform and how to charge for them.
With advertisers demanding better service today
and not wanting to pay huge fees, how do their
agencies cope with doing more for less?
Today, we are all about building capabilities. Adding
shopper marketing capabilities, adding more data
and analytics to the planning and buying process. We
recently added a Human Experience Strategist. Media
agencies have to keep up with the media market transformation.
Clients don’t necessarily want to pay for
all those new services, but to keep them, an agency
has to have them. In the past, a lot of these were services
the advertisers did themselves or [they went] to
third parties. Today, the agencies do it. And we can do
it cheaper than the advertisers used to spend to do it
themselves. So it makes us more valuable to them. As
far as not wanting to pay huge fees, clients do want to
cut costs, but they also want service. So they realize
that they can’t demand fees that are too low, or they
can’t get all those services.
There seem to be more agency reviews being undertaken by advertisers and more clients switching agencies. Why is that?
Actually to me, it doesn't seem like there has been a big increase in the number of reviews. But today there are so many marketers and so many brands and the media landscape is changing so rapidly that clients want to make sure that their agency is keeping pace with all the new technology and changes and capabilities the different platforms have to offer.
Will television ever be replaced totally by online and mobile viewing or will TV still be the dominant place that viewers watch and advertisers advertise on?
Television isn't going anywhere. People's viewing habits are changing, but the other platforms are more of a convenience than a replacement of television. I see all media platforms as complementing one another. Sometimes people will watch television, other times watch programming online or on mobile. Traditional television will still always be there. As far as how much advertising is bought on traditional television, it will again depend on the category and who the marketer is trying to reach.
How do you view The CW and NBC with their respective hefty ratings declines this season?
The CW's audience is very much younger than the other broadcast networks and their audience watches programming differently. That's why they began offering all their shows with commercials online. So when you buy The CW, you just buy it differently. And you're also buying a more targeted audience. NBC right now is not in the best shape in primetime, but ratings for shows on a lot of the other networks are also down. As ratings continue to erode, clients are going to want to pay less, not more for advertising. Traditionally, cable was a good option because it was much cheaper than broadcast, but that gap is closing and it is starting to equal out on many cable networks. Cable is trying to raise its rates to get to the level of broadcast, but cable should stay where it is and broadcast should reduce its rates.