After getting hammered on Madison Avenue last year, the syndication industry is directing increased attention and resources toward the media-buyer/advertising side of the TV business.
The top syndication studios are reshaping their media-buying organizations, ad dollars are being spent in trade publications that service advertisers, and now NBC Enterprises is getting into the game as well.
NBC's one-year-old syndication division has teamed up with MGM Worldwide Distribution to form MGM/NBC Media Sales Group. The New York-based division will be led by MGM Media Sales Executive Vice President Michael Daraio. It's not the first time the two rivals have linked up; last year, NBC made a deal with the legendary Hollywood studio that put all international sales of NBC-produced programs into MGM's hands.
"This allows us to control our destiny a little bit more. and it also allows us to work much closer with the advertisers and maybe try to create a new model," says NBC Enterprises President Ed Wilson. "Plus we have a great working relationship with MGM on the international side."
In the past, NBC has farmed out media sales to syndicators that have barter-sales teams. Tribune, King World and Warner Bros. have all sold time for NBC shows this season. Warner Bros. will continue to sell Will & Grace
and Access Hollywood, but all other MGM and NBC programs, including upcoming talker The John Walsh Show, will go through the new division.
"We are really complementary in terms of the programming we will be offering," says Jim Griffiths, president of MGM Worldwide TV Distribution. "Our sales teams will be walking into their meetings with a full complement of programs."