Sales, TV

It’s 50 degrees here in Orlando – no, make that Scranton

This is my “slightly breaking news, make up for having missed my post this past weekend (birthday excuse), and out on an adventure next weekend so I’m probably not going to write one this weekend” post.


Orlandoans woke up yesterday morning, turned on the Today Show, and between 50 and 62% of them saw that it was 50 degrees outside.  Then, when waiting for the traffic updates, something started looking oddly unfamiliar about I-4.

That’s because it wasn’t!  Tuesday morning marked a surprising turn in cable/broadcaster negotiations when Hearst Broadcasting said to Brighthouse that they needed to have their check increased to nearly 300% more in all of their markets across the country.  Brighthouse has decided that they still have the ability to provide NBC primetime and the upcoming Olympics, they just don’t need to do it with the help of the local NBC affiliates, in Orlando’s case, WESH.  So when Hearst decided to disassociated themselves with Brighthouse until they can come to an agreement, WESH had to black themselves out to all cable subscribers.

This kind of disagreement with broadcast stations has happened in the past, but I believe we’ve never seen it come up to a point of blackout.  WKMG (CBS affiliate) and WOFL (Fox affiliate) have threatened it, but at the end of the day, they never turned themselves off.  This is a first.

How this affects advertisers on WESH

I spoke with two colleagues that buy this market and got their insights on how this changes a few things for this week.  While Brighthouse only has 60%-ish market coverage, they say that 800,000 people are not getting WESH right now.  On top of that, because WKCF (CW affiliate) is Hearst, those people aren’t getting that either.  So if advertisers are only reaching about half of the people they normally would be reaching, are they going to be getting rates at half price?  One of my sources says no, Hearst company policy is to not sell at discounted rates when blackouts are in affect.  She’s confirming that tomorrow when she tries to negotiate a buy using that tactic.

So, instead of half off, how about double the spots?  This is almost impossible, because as my other source told me, they’re already getting bumped so much because the political advertising is coming in paying higher rates, so there’s no room for make goods and double exposure.  The station will have to write credits!

How does this affect the sales reps

Their paychecks will probably be a little lean for this week due to credit writing and cancellations.  I hope Hearst takes care of them and that this ends soon.

If Brighthouse balks and writes that check, how might this affect consumers?

I’ll let your imagination come up with that answer.

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