(Market) Size Doesn't Matter
Since 1946 it's been beaten into the media professional that the key to industry success is moving up market. The annual DMA ranking has become the bellwether for stature and salary for 70 years. BUT, be careful because there are winds of change. Although there are many experts predicting the impending demise of broadcast television, change is slow because in this case, the dinosaurs are staying one step ahead of extinction ..... but the gap is getting smaller and smaller. Below is this week's #tbt from TalentBlvd, Oct 2017:
Same company. Same programming. Exact same moment in time. One is a top 10 market, the other is not. The larger market is exactly 2x the size in terms of population. The top 10 market had ten times LESS online viewers than a market half the size. There are three groups of people that need to be very concerned with the photo below.
First, if you are an advertiser, especially producing content for the online streaming audience and you've paid DMA ranked rates, well you might want to renegotiate that deal. Secondly, and should be the most apparent, the general management of the station has got a big problem to deal with given trends and future revenue opportunities. The third impacted party, the on-air talent, is what specifically concerns me as the leader of a Talent Management organization.
The march up market in the business is legendary and iconic for the broadcast journalist. Starting from a dank and dark studio at some university, the young and hopeful have traditionally marched to the beat of the top 10 or 20 drum. They start in places like Biloxi-Gulfport or Wheeling-Steubenville or Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill and have Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago or even New York in their sights. It was a simple and effective strategy. Follow the people, the population. Population shifts literally take decades. No worries. But then the internet happened and not just the internet, but broadband, a super highway pipeline of digital content.
People are unplugging and cutting the cord. The traditional measures of the number of TV sets in market is still a strong indicator of performance but change is on the horizon and channels (no pun intended) are shifting. The strength and reach of a television signal will no longer be an indication of eyeballs on YOU!
The future will likely bring some interesting changes to the multimedia professional. You'll have to have a multi-channel multi-screen brand. Your content and image will need to be adaptable and responsive not only to technology, but responsive to audience channel shift. This is why TalentBlvd focuses so much energy on branding of our coached talent. It's key to becoming timeless and not timed out.
Let's get back to the image to the right. Yes, as an anchor in a top 10 market your compensation TODAY will be significantly higher than the top 25 market but clearly you need to keep an eye on another number as an indication of audience size. Nothing has really change but the channel right? Audience size in a smaller market can be significantly larger than that of a lowly ranked station in a much bigger market.
The big takeaway here is that geography, the geo fences of zip codes, is likely to play a smaller and smaller role in determining your audience and the equity of your brand. Your march up market just got a little bit more complicated and the importance of building a digital brand much more critical to your future success.
You can find this article and much more from The MBAR Group and TalentBlvd founder at: Mike McNamara or TalentBlvd
About Mike McNamara:
Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.
Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to the underprivileged and underserved. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile business and media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.
Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.