TV Marketing

One Stream for One Market How do viewers in the market receive their broadcast TV stations? First of all there are about 350,000 households in the market. The options to receive a local broadcast TV station in the Waco-Temple-Bryan market is as follows: Over the Air – TVB.org reported in May of 2015 that about 13% of the homes in the market get their local broadcast TV station with and antennae. This equates to about 45,000 households. Wired Cable TV – In May of 2015 TVB.org reported that 45% of the homes in the market get their local broadcast TV station via wired cable. This amounts to about 155,000 of the 350,000 households in the market. In this market there are 6 wired cable companies. Here are the companies that service the Waco Killeen Temple area; Time Warner, Grande, Centrovision, Reach and Zito. Time Warner is the heavy hitter in this area. The main wired cable company serving the Bryan-College Station area is Suddenlink although Grande does report as servicing a small area there as well. Alternate Delivery System a.k.a. Satellite TV – In May of 2015 TVB.org reported that 42% of the homes in the market get their local broadcast TV station via Satellite. This amounts to about 147,000 of the 350,000 homes in the market. The two satellite providers are Dish Network and DirecTV. To summarize, of the four main network TV station groups serving the Waco-Temple-Bryan market, only one can guarantee that if you buy a commercial on one of their stations (FOX, My Network Estrella), each time it airs it will be delivered consistently over all of the main local TV delivery platforms (OTA, Wired Cable or Satellite). As for NBC, CBS and ABC, for an advertiser who is wanting total market coverage they simply cannot deliver unless you place a buy on both their Bryan and Waco stream and even then they will not be airing at the exact same time so viewers could be missed. The station group that operates the FOX, My Network and Estrella stations made these changes because we wanted to make it easier on our advertising clients to buy the Waco-Temple-Bryan market. They felt that splitting the market up was not in the best interest of their advertising clients. Some might even say that splitting the market up is a dishonest business practice. Regardless, what really matters to operators of the FOX, My Network and Estrella stations is delivering consistent results to their advertising partners. 1 stream 1 market. So why is it important to know this information? Because when you buy a TV commercial on 3 of the big 4 TV networks in the market knowing exactly how each network’s signal is delivered is fundamental to knowing who will see your commercial. The Waco-Temple-Bryan market is very confusing. Why is it confusing? To fully understand this you need to look at the number of “streams” being distributed by each network or station. CBS, NBC and ABC all put out two streams for their programming. To put this another way if you are watching CBS in Bryan using Sudden Link as your provider, the program or show you are watching will be the same as the program a viewer in Waco is watching using Time Warner cable. However whenever the station goes to a local commercial break the commercial that will air in Bryan will not be the same commercial airing in Waco. This same scenario is repeated on the ABC and NBC stations as well. In July of 2015 the FOX affiliate in the market decided that this practice was confusing to advertisers buying this market. That said, the FOX affiliate decided that they would only broadcast one FOX stream. This ensures that if an advertiser buys a commercial in the Waco-Temple-Bryan market it will in fact reach the entire market. Furthermore, since the FOX affiliate also broadcasts two other TV network streams, My Network and Estrella, they made the same decision on these broadcast streams as well. So if I buy a commercial on ABC, NBC or CBS who exactly will see my commercial? The answer to that question is, it depends. There are a lot of variables to take into account. The first question I would ask is did you buy the Waco market or the Bryan-College Station market. The CBS, NBC and ABC stations sell these market separately. Let’s start by looking at the broadcast transmitter licenses held by each station. The CBS and FOX station each own a license for full-power broadcast TV stations in Waco and in Bryan. The ABC and NBC stations both have a full-power broadcast station in Waco, but serve the Bryan market with only a low-power TV station license. Only the FOX station can say that the stream that is transmitted through the Waco transmitter is the exact same stream sent through the Bryan transmitter. ABC, NBC and CBS all send a different stream through their respective Waco and Bryan transmitter. The next variable has to do with wired cable providers. As I mentioned above, there are 6 wired cable providers in the market. Only FOX feeds the exact same stream to all wired cable providers in the market. ABC, NBC and CBS feed differing streams to the wired cable companies. For example a viewer with Time Warner cable will never see the commercial you purchased in Bryan from your ABC, NBC or CBS advertising representative. Why? Because Time Warner carries the streams meant for the Waco market and not the stream intended for the Bryan market. The last variable to this is with the satellite cable providers Dish and DirecTV. As I mentioned earlier, only FOX streams one feed into the entire market. The NBC, CBS and ABC stations all feed two streams of their respective network; one intended for the Bryan area and one for the Waco-Killeen-Temple area. Since FOX has only one stream, this means that if you are a Dish Network or DirecTV subscriber there will only be one station in which you can watch FOX programming. However with CBS, ABC and NBC they feed two streams: their Waco stream and their Bryan stream. This means that if you look at the channel line-up on Dish for this market you will see two CBS stations, two NBC stations and two ABC stations. This is problematic for advertisers. Why? Because in order to conserve satellite bandwidth both DirecTV and Dish Network compresses the Bryan streams from ABC, CBS and NBC. This means that those streams are standard definition and displayed in a format called 4 by 3 on both Dish and DirecTV (see below for an example.  On 4×3 display you only see the content inside of the red line on the screen).  However the NBC, CBS and CBS streams coming out of Waco are HD and are displayed in 16×9 (see below for an example. On 16×9 you see all of the content on the screen).  Why does this matter?  If given a choice, a viewer will always choose an HD 16×9 display over a 4×3 standard definition display.  So why is this? A clearer picture, a picture that completely fills their TV screen and lastly since none of the networks “respect” the 4×3 safe area anymore, if you are watching a 4×3 display the bars on the side cut-off a great deal of the picture and graphical information (again, see below).  So to sum this all up, that means that if you bought a commercial on CBS, NBC or ABC, on a stream originating out of Bryan, most likely your spot will not be seen by the 147,000 households who subscribe to satellite TV via Dish and DirecTV because they would prefer to watch their programming in 16×9 HD rather than 4×3 SD.  I think a reasonable exception to this rule would be a local newscast program because you are watching for content with little preference for display quality, but that is the only exception.  If you do the math on all of this, your commercial on the ABC, CBS or NBC stream originating from Bryan will be missed by almost 90% of the households in the Waco-Killen-Temple-Bryan-College Station market because it more than likely will not be the channel choice of the people on satellite, it will not be seen by the households who subscribe to the wired cable companies who distribute the Waco streams and the over the air signals only reach a defined geographical area around Bryan. To summarize, of the four main network TV station groups serving the Waco-Temple-Bryan market, only one can guarantee that if you buy a commercial on one of their stations (FOX, My Network Estrella), each time it airs it will be delivered consistently over all of the main local TV delivery platforms (OTA, Wired Cable or Satellite). As for NBC, CBS and ABC, for an advertiser who is wanting total market coverage they simply cannot deliver unless you place a buy on both their Bryan and Waco stream and even then they will not be airing at the exact same time so viewers could be missed. The station group that operates the FOX, My Network and Estrella stations made these changes because we wanted to make it easier on our advertising clients to buy the Waco-Temple-Bryan market. They felt that splitting the market up was not in the best interest of their advertising clients. Some might even say that splitting the market up is a dishonest business practice. Regardless, what really matters to operators of the FOX, My Network and Estrella stations is delivering consistent results to their advertising partners. 1 stream 1 market.