Archive for the ‘Co-Op SMTs’ Category

Cracking the Code for Top Market Co-Op SMTs

February 7, 2012

Most of the current Co-Op SMT/RMT hybrids will get you on-the-air and in-the-news on television, radio and the internet and have guaranteed placements on one or more nationally syndicated television programs.  They are still one of the most cost effective ways to reach the American audience with your message and no amount of advertising can give your company or product the credibility of an editorial placement, but let’s talk quality: Quality of TV Markets and Quality of TV Production.

Quality of TV Markets

The Problem: You’re certainly aware that it has become increasing more difficult to secure “earned placements” in TV news programs and especially in the Top 50 markets.  Even for broadcast public relations specialists like CMP Media Cafe that have long standing relationships with TV stations, although we do book many Top 50 markets for our Co-Op SMTs, the newsroom environment has had two important changes that our industry has had to roll with:

  1. The FCC scrutiny of content provided by corporate sponsors has resulted in many TV stations deciding to abandon use of the video news release b-roll packages and satellite interviews entirely rather than simply disclosing that they are provided by a sponsor.
  1. The business model for network affiliates has changed due to decreased advertising revenue during the current economy.  This means that where, in many markets, good pitches used to result in booked interviews via satellite or in studio as a public relations coup, stations are now charging for a “sponsored content segment” on their program if a company or product is part of the pitch.  Stations then fully disclose it as a sponsored segment to viewers.

Most Co-Op SMTs already use several sponsored content segments to compliment their earned placement interviews and have done this for several years, but the Top 25 markets have been elusive and cost prohibitive.  As a result,  a small part of Co-Op SMT budgets have been directed  at TV markets between the Top 40 to 90 because they have more affordable rates.  As the trend toward sponsored content has grown, it has started eating up budgets and profit margins for companies like ours.

The Solution: At CMP Media Cafe, we’ve been busy cracking the code on of one of the biggest P.R. challenges of recent years – how to get exposure in the Top TV Markets in today’s testy media environment.  Many markets like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago will remain next to impossible to book with the Co-Op SMT vehicle, but we’ve secured relationships in other desirable Top 25 markets like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Phoenix, to name a few, in order to give our clients the highest quality broadcast public relations product.

Since the beginning of this new hybrid of broadcast public relations, our company budget for these types of placements has increased over 400% from a few years ago when our only guaranteed placement was on one of two nationally syndicated programs, Broadcast News in 30 (Formerly ANN) or Newswatch.  This means that approximately 20-25% of our Co-Op SMT budget is now dedicated to ensuring our clients get the results they desire and on high quality nationally syndicated programs like The Daily Buzz.

The Cost: We’re definitely able to secure earned placements on several top quality TV markets with our pitch angle, but many of the Top 50 markets will simply not take satellite interviews unless they are paid for by the sponsor.  In order to secure quality markets that only take paid placements, our company has raised it’s Co-Op SMT client participation fees in order to provide a higher quality product and continue with our client pleasing business model of limiting participation to just four clients (and going on-the-air with a minimum of two clients although we don’t meet our margin.)

We understand that there are several Co-Op SMT companies to choose from that also offer what may seem to be a more attractive fee, but understand that several companies crowd a segment with four to five products into a two-and-a-half minute interview (and some products won’t get on the air as a result).   That’s a risk we don’t want to take with our clients.

Quality of TV Production

The Problem: Clients spend a lot of effort finessing the verbal message of a feature on a Co-Op SMT but have little control over the quality of production and the look of the product on-the-air.  As a former network television producer, I’m confused by the lack of quality sets and lighting I see being produced by other companies.

The Solution:  The visual representation of your client’s product positioning should be just as important as the verbal representation and CMP Media Cafe has the highest broadcast standards.  We hire experienced media savvy spokespersons to deliver your message in a natural friendly presentation, provide network quality sets and set dressing, have network quality lighting, and provide a high quality live shot for TV stations.  Unfortunately, some companies skimp on the visual look of the set and that then reflects poorly on the featured products.

I’m sure you’ll agree that we all want what’s best for our clients.  We’ve cracked the code on how to provide a Top TV Market tour but that comes at a price that our clients have to be open to paying for in order to secure the highly coveted Top 50 television markets.

But here’s the big question:  Would you rather pay a little more to be featured in a Co-Op Satellite Media Tour (SMT) that limits participation and get into the top TV markets you want with a network quality produced feature or pay less to be crowded into a Co-Op SMT feature with a mediocre TV market list, lots of radio hits and a set that looks like a “leased access” cable production?  It really comes down to dollars and sense.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2012. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

Are Co-Op SMTs Still Effective in Today’s Media Environment?

May 24, 2011

No doubt about it, broadcast public relations and how companies get the word out to the media (and ultimately the consumer) has changed drastically in the last several years.  And it’s definitely changed since I left network TV production 15 years ago and started producing for corporate clients.   The shift in broadcast media tools and newsrooms’ colder reception to these tools leaves a lot of public relations experts asking, “Are co-op satellite media tours (SMTs) still effective in today’s media world?” Although this small industry has seen some ups and downs largely due to an unwarranted and biased smear campaign by the Center for Media & Democracy, it’s constantly evolving.  Adjustments are constantly being made to ensure the media is getting what it wants and that all outlets of new media are being used effectively too.

The ultimate question is are you and your broadcast public relations tactics evolving to meet the changes of how public relation efforts are being delivered to the media and are SMTs still viable with new forms of media available to reach the consumer?  There are definitely a lot of new media tools available for your P.R. toolkit.

Internet Media Tours and Social Media.  Some stars with new sizzle in broadcast public relations devices include internet media tours and social media campaigns.  First, I will be blogging about this topic soon, but internet media tours may be the hot new flavor of broadcast P.R., but as someone who has one of the top ranked travel websites I can tell you that they are way overpriced for your true audience reach and the numbers being reported are very distorted. Second, social media has some amazing possibilities (I currently have over 2700 Twitter Followers as @TravelProducer and a Klout score of 62), but even if you’re using social media successfully, it’s still only one piece of the publicity outreach machine you need to be pursuing to maximize any public relations campaign.

All social media has done is increase our options in a similar way that the 500 television stations increased viewing options on TV.  There is no one single way to reach your audience, but an editorial feature of a product, expert or brand in broadcast media continues to the be gold standard to add credibility to your name.  As much as viewing habits are shifting and diversifying to the internet & mobile phones, TV is not only still the originator of most of the news, but it’s still the driving force of credibility.  You see, almost anyone can get featured on the internet these days, but it’s still an elite group that gets featured on television news.

What About Audience Reach and Consumer Impressions.  As a producer, in addition to being creative, I’m also a numbers person and clients are very concerned about audience reach (i.e. consumer impressions).  Let’s talk about audience reach numbers then but let’s ask a few questions first:  What’s the audience reach for the top rated prime time show?  What time of the day are these shows broadcast?  Should a satellite media tour (SMT) expect to reach the same amount of audience numbers that the top rated prime time show gets?  I think you can see where I’m going with this.

The top rated shows on TV in general will get up to 15 million viewers on average during the winter when everyone is home and the numbers can drop almost in half during the summer when the weather is good and people are out enjoying the nice weather instead of being glued to the tube.  Sure, you’ll hear the finale of <i>American Idol</I> will get high audience reach numbers exceeding those averages, but they are the exception to average Nielsen ratings.

So continuing on the numbers theme.  Let’s say a client pays a participation fee on the high end of $15,000 for a Co-Op SMT and the company guarantees an audience reach of seven million viewers (including sponsored content on syndicated television programs).  How much does it cost to reach each viewer (not the CPM, but each viewer)?  The answer is easy.  It only costs $0.002 to reach each viewer – way less than a penny per person.  Can any company produce a printed brochure with product information, purchase mailing lists and place stamps on envelopes to seven million people for that price?  Can you produce a commercial and purchase airtime for a DRTV spot for that amount per viewer?  Even if you could (which you can’t), would the product have the same credibility as the editorial news feature?

It All Boils Down to Credibility.  So the question remains: are Co-Op SMTs still effective in today’s media world?  Given the audience reach results for the dollar value, they’re still a very good bang for your buck.  It’s important to reiterate that no amount of advertising can give your product the credibility that an editorial feature on a television program can.

To find out more about Co-Op Satellite Media Tours and broadcast public relations options, visit us at CMP Media Cafe.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2011. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.