NBC refunds advertisers as ratings plunge

From Yahoo News:

Fourth-ranked broadcaster NBC has quietly begun reimbursing advertisers an average of $500,000 each for failing to reach guaranteed ratings levels, the first time a network has taken such a step in years, media buyers said.

This paragraph is interesting:

Magna Global audience analysis exec vp Steve Sternberg said he saw no problem with NBC airing a reality block on a low-rated night like Saturday or even during the week if the production values were high or if it replaced other reality programming. However, “if it replaces midweek scripted hours, it could have a negative impact” on ratings and audience quality, he said.

(The Office will be replaced by Celebrity Apprentice starting January 3rd.)

Link: NBC refunds advertisers as ratings plunge

Tipster: LoveJim


  1. Serves them right. There is no way I will watch that reality dreck in place of our beloved show. I am done with network TV until The Office comes back. No sense in advertising when no one is watching anyway.

  2. this has just GOT to help get the ball rolling. I heard that if agreements were not reached by the end of the year, no more Office until the Fall. Is this still true? I have hope — there are still a couple of weeks!

  3. I’m completely bummed that TO is still off-the air, but seeing that American Gladiators is coming back takes some of the sting away.

  4. I used to be a media buyer and it is hard for networks to get the dollars they want for new/different programming that hasn’t had a history of numbers and ratings to evaluate. From the advertisers point of view they don’t have assurance that their target audience will be reached and buyers use that to bargain down prices. Apprentice isn’t new show so advertisers will have some idea of what they are getting into, but that won’t be the case for new reality programming. There is no guarantee that the networks will be getting the same dollars for time slots that they are used to if programming has drastically changed when the next quarter buys are happening. This certainly reinforces the writers’ case that audiences want to watch quality programming.

  5. Honestly, if this “Celebrity Apprentice” actually does air, I will have to throw myself in front of a train because that is the biggest joke I have ever heard. How do they expect people to watch that crap when they have such a quality show like the office out there. Are the networks crazy?

  6. awesome – hit them where it hurts!

    You couldn’t pay me to watch the apprentice now (even though in the past it has been one of my favorite reality shows)

  7. N…no good
    B.. b*stards

    So funny how these empty suits, many of whom went to the best MBA schools, cannot get their act together.

  8. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Serves them right. I was wondering if (when) that would happen. That last paragraph is indeed very interesting — I’m glad someone removed from the situation said it.

  9. “Audience quality” has me rolling. Not to sound overtly smug, but I think we know the quality of the Celebrity Apprentice audience.

    Okay, smugness completely intended.

  10. Now THAT is what I’m talking about. Bring back our shows! Finally, proof that we’re not dumb enough to want to watch all that reality crap.

  11. phyllis*farm, what are you talking about? I’m sure Dwight would watch “Celebrity Apprentice.” HA HA.

  12. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the fact that The Office is no longer on iTunes, just like every other NBC show. They are losing money EVERYWHERE. Karma.

  13. What. a. pity. Maybe we should start a Christmas relief fund to get those poor lil’ execs their money back.

  14. Yes! Take that NBC and reality TV! The majority, if not all, of reality TV is garbage. Anybody could gather up a handful of people who just wanna be on tv, put them in the same environment and just wait for conflict to emanate. That is not entertainment. Bring back the creativity, humor and heart that is… The Office.

  15. I am so glad that I have barely turned my TV on since the strike started. Now this is what I’m talking about.

  16. I too, have barely turned on my TV since The Office ran out of new episodes. Once Pushing Daisies and 30 Rock run out of new episodes, it definitely won’t come back on.

    How does refunding advertisers for their current ad time, and forgoing future ad dollars make ANY more sense than just compensating the writers?

  17. Yes!

    I’ve really only watched tv if there were still new episodes of my shows, but other than that…nothing. No replacement programming for me, NBC.

  18. As some people are portraying the “No (Good) B-stards Club” as depraved ogres, might some people agree that there might be a LITTLE overreaction to the situation? I mean I’m pretty sure these current NBC haters will love the company once the strike is over (assuming it will be).

    And what’s with this “karma” idea? As far as I know, NBC was not maliciously attacking its writers (unless I am misinformed). In fact, its not just NBC that has a strike problem, but also plenty of other networks, too!

    Love the office and you tallyheads, but also thinking about the other sides to this enigma that is the Writers’ Strike.

  19. Well, random n00b, NBC was the 1st network to play hardball with firing the crew from the office and already announcing replacement programming, even before negotiations began again! There are 2 sides to every story, I agree with that. However, NBC seems to have played the dirtiest in the writer’s strike and seems to think audience members like you and myself are idiots. We aren’t and I will NOT be watching ANY reality programming coming from NBC. The only reason they had ANY decent ratings, period, is due to creative shows like The Office, like Earl, like 30 Rock. NOT like Deal or No Deal. They played hardball and look like tools. Period. Especially to those of us who understand and like the comedy on The Office and really feel that all writers and creators of shows actually have talent and are awesome at their jobs:)

  20. Look, I love the Office just as much as anyone. But I’m sorry, it’s just not true that the Office, 30 Rock, Earl, etc. are the huge audience draw that we may like to think. Here are some numbers on seasonal viewership from Wikipedia (in millions):

    Office (Season 3) – 8.3
    Office (Season 4) – 9.8
    30 Rock (Season 1) – 5.8
    Earl (Season 1) – 12
    Earl (Season 2) – 10

    Compare to other shows:

    Deal or No Deal (Season 2) – 12

    Even the Apprentice, though it’s fallen a lot, was up near 10 million last season

  21. I guess the point of the below is that the general public doesn’t necessarily recognize good television for what it is. Deal or No Deal and others are by no means terrible in the ratings.

  22. Really, the only shows on NBC that consistently draw people in the demo are Heroes, Deal or No Deal, Law and Order: SVU, and The Office. That’s not a long list.

  23. Reality shows and game shows like Deal or No Deal might draw the bigger audiences than The Office, but I think something that is really important to consider is the audience it is drawing. The Office continually ranks very high in the 18-49 demographic and also does well among the most affluent viewers. Something crucial to the WGA talks is the idea of this “new media.” I don’t think I’m off base in saying that people are going to be more likely to download or watch online an episode of The Office that they missed instead of an episode of some reality show. Part of this is because they rerun them so often, but also, how often can you watch the same episode of The Apprentice? It’s not like with quality T.V. like The Office where you can watch an episode numerous times and enjoy it every time. There are no greater meanings or experiences to draw out of reality television. I will admit, I do enjoy some reality shows, but they are not a suitable replacement for quality shows like The Office, and I won’t be watching the replacement shows.

  24. Celebrity Apprentice? Wouldn’t that count as crossing picket lines for actors/actresses? Hahahaha.
    But to be honest, the only show i’m going to watch next year is the new revival of American Gladiators. Don’t hate.

  25. 28 – Those are not the ratings that the networks and advertisers care about. They care about the 18-49 demo ratings in which The Office does very well, far better than Earl.

    Also, The Office according to industry research, draws among the highest income viewers of any TV show, which makes it desirable for advertisers.

  26. Fair enough. The Office does perform well in 18-49 demo.

    32 – I’m secretly (well, not so anymore) looking forward to American Gladiators too. I can’t help myself.

  27. To think that this is a surprise and something that will cause the AMPTP come running back to the negotiations is naive.

    You may call the execs evil and clueless, the truth is that they did not become zillionaires by accident. These are smart guys, and it’s very likely that they have anticipated everything that has happened in the last six weeks or so.

    The networks & studios are much better suited to weather a long term strike than the writers. A couple of $500K checks is peanuts to NBC. The (estimated) $105M in collective wages that the writers have ‘lost’ since the beginning of the strike is much more significant.

    This is not a good guys vs. the bad guys scenario; both sides have some unrealistic demands. This will be a long, long strike but eventually they will find a middle ground (they have to).

  28. AndyW, While NBC losing ad revenue will not singularly cause AMPTP to go running back to the negotiation table, this does signal the beginnings of a long term trend that will continue the longer the writers’ strike goes on. Without scripted content the networks will lose revenue because there is only so many reality shows and reruns they can run. It will take a long time, but this could happen to all of the networks.

  29. did you guys check out that celebrity apprentice link? man…that is going to bomb big time. they dont even have any real celebrities on the show, out of 14 people i have only kinda heard of maybe 3 of them. people may have been more interested if there were more famous celebrities on this. of course i know us office fans are boycotting it because its replacement programming for real television. besides, everyones sick of donald trump. yuck.

  30. I can’t believe that NBC has to do this! hahaha…all evil laughing aside, this does completely suck for a network that is already behind the competition…yikes!

    AMPTP: You wouldn’t have this problem if you would pay people properly! Go back to the table and give the people what they want!

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