Monday, March 28, 2005

What Business Are We In? 

I'm confused. I don't know what business I'm in anymore. This story is the source of my confusion. Apparently, if the story is to be believed, we're in the cheap advertising business now on TV. That is, we don't do placements. We make cheap "news" spots, then we buy time to run them as advertisers do. At least, that is what Medialink is telling us to do. And Medialink justifies it by saying that we are going back to the future by citing John Cameron Swayze's advertisements for Camel cigarettes from decades ago.

Here is what Medialink Chairman/CEO Laurence Moskowitz said to Broadcasting & Cable magazine to defend what he is doing.

"We can produce a 90-second newscast for the cost of catering a traditional 30-second spot, and we can turn it around in hours," Moskowitz boasts, estimating the price tag for a three-minute news vignette is $15,000-$25,000. The average cost of producing a national 30-second TV commercial is 10-20 times more.

Who cares about the implied third-party credibility that public relations is supposed to produce by persuading journalists at arms length to report a story? Hell, we can shoot a cheap spot and buy time. No muss, no fuss and we don't have to work with reporters.

...Moskowitz says he is creating a new genre of television that blends news, PR and conventional Madison Avenue media-buying practices. In effect, he is competing with both Madison Avenue and the TV news industry, while blurring the lines between them.

Will someone please tell me what business I'm in?


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