In his article for iMedia Connection Jay Friedman asks, "Will online kill the annual plan?" and that is the question I've been waiting to hear for two years!!!!!
What does an annual plan have to do with making money with viral videos? Well for starters the big bucks that are spent on TV advertising are planned a year in advance so that the TV Networks can raise the money needed to produce the TV shows that advertisers are going to advertise on. This process is known in the advertising and TV worlds as the "Upfront." At the "Upfront" that takes place each year in May the TV Networks each rent out a big space in New York city like Carnegie Hall and invite media buyers from ad agencies and large brands to come and watch Upfront Presentations of the Networks new Fall Schedule then party. The presidents of each Network will come out on stage and introduce a trailer of each TV pilot episodes and then based on those trailers media buyers will buy advertising time on the new shows ahead of time. - WITHOUT EVER SEEING A SHOW OR ITS RATINGS! The Networks will then take the money and go make all the new shows for Fall.
So this last May; ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and the new CW each showed a bunch of trailers of their TV Pilots and their old shows as well and then the media buyers broke out their check books and wrote checks for advertising on these new shows.
Now this week all the Media Buyers and TV Execs are waiting to see if the shows they spent money on are going to have good ratings when they premier this week. If they don't do well "heads could roll" TV shows will get canceled and Networks will have to "Make Good" or work out deals to make their advertisers happy.
It's a very inefficient way to spend advertising dollars compared to how things can be done on the Internet but because of the cost of the TV Shows and how long they take to produce that's they way they've been doing it for 50 years.
Well with internet video that all is changing and this Friday at 7:30 AM just before the start of the Podcast and New Media Expo there is a small group of us showing up in a donated ballroom to have the first meeting of the Association for Downloadable Media where we will try to create standards for online video and audio advertising so that media buyers can buy advertising on audio programs and viral videos.