TV Stocks Cold Cocked | Wake-Up

With Sinclair, Nexstar, and Gray Television stocks tumbling 5-8% August 3 on news of flat-to-negative TV ad sales revenue: perhaps TV will wake up to the fact it’s nine years behind digital.

The reasons?

  1. TV has been providing the same delivery reports for years: your GRP’s, how many units were delivered, your cost per unit, your cost per GRP. It’s the same report that’s been delivered since it was created on a typewriter.
  2. Auto dealers and local advertisers look at the mountain of reporting that digital offers, comparing that to the reporting TV offers…and if you printed out that data, it would be one inch thick versus one page.
  3. Even if digital reporting is wrong (and it is: last click, not cross-device, not viewability corrected, and not unified/fractionalized), digital data has 250x more metrics than TV.
  4. 250 is more than one.

Because TV hasn’t delivered the ROI reporting that digital strives for (even though digital measurement suffers from last click), local advertisers are ripping TV dollars out…and placing them in digital.

“Sometimes you have to get knocked in the head to realize change is needed,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement CEO Mark Hughes. “the pendulum can swing back to TV and grow…but not without TV attribution measurement.”

NBCU may have a starting (not complete) model to follow. Alison Tarrant is in charge of its client partnerships group acting as an in-house consultancy for NBC’s biggest brand clients, ranging from CPGs like P&G to telcos like Verizon (86 clients in total). Like Google, it has created teams aligned by vertical to first understand the industry, and then understand its clients unique goals…selling anything from traditional TV, to content, to digital. It’s a start. The Achilles heel: cross-channel attribution.

Activist shareholder Eric Jackson of SpringOwl Asset Management, is involved in media stocks with Discovery/Scripps. Will Sinclair, Nextar, and Gray be next, or will they wake up before Jackson descends on them?

In the words of Rocky Balboa:

It ain’t how hard you hit;

it’s about how hard you can get hit,

and keep moving forward…that’s how winning is done.

Time to wake up.