Tips 56

Buying Television Time at a Low CPM

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran a front page article about the "upfront market" and the cost of an advertiser reaching a thousand viewers on Fox News.  Would it surprise you to learn they've raised their rates by 69% over five years?  We were astounded to hear that Chrysler agreed to pay $10 per thousand viewers and that Fox News was hoping for $13! 

How can Last Second Media aggregate the same Fox News inventory for $2.47 per thousand viewers?

How is it that CMR, the national rating service, reported that a former legal client spent $30 million on TV in 2003 when they actually only spent $9 million?  BACKGROUND At Direct Response Agencies around the country, smart media buyers have never cared about Nielson ratings - we care about RESULTS. So we'll take a chance on unknown players just entering the marketplace - we don't care if channels like SiTV and Fox Net lack rating information. We want cheap eyeballs - so we put our testing money behind this question: What's our cost per thousand (CPM) and what does this yield on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis? As the market continues to grow more competitive, however; easy answers are getting harder to come by.  The general advertisers are leaving broadcast television and migrating into our sacred direct response territory: 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier cable networks.  It used to be the one place we could aggregate millions of eyeballs at cheap rates to get enviable CPM's. Now we are competing against package goods, satellite services, electronics, political advertisers, fast-food and even those darned Enzyte commercials.   Where do we grow now? THE NEW FRONTIER The first answer is get out of TV for several months and concentrate on radio, print, direct mail, Internet and non-traditional medias. By integrating these other medias, you can wait out the massive costs on TV.  Plus, you can build out some alternative channels and insure a consistent sales process by covering your bets.  But, if you need growth right now, we are currently finding success on Direct Response television and the best CPM's in:

  • Digital Cable
  • Cable Interconnects
  • Aggregated Local Cable
  • Syndicated Programming
  • Satellite
Your goal is to use these smaller broadcast footprints to aggregate millions of viewers and still enjoy targeted broadcast. Using a media broker with experience in low CPM's can help speed you through the process. That way you can pay 20 cents on the dollar for the same broadcast.


When the race for television media is this tight, you need to have a perfectly tuned vehicle. Increase the value of your commercial offer to increase response. Pay the money for expert copywriting. Spend a couple of bucks to get even better creative production. If profitability is becoming tight, you need each and every broadcast to count.
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