A Commentary on Television Markets.

Position:Brief Article - Column - Statistical Data Included

The trade publications love markets. If there were no markets, would there be all the ads from all the production and distribution companies supporting their products at the time of these markets? Certainly not.

Many years ago I asked Sol Paul, then publisher of Television/Radio Age, if he was having a good NATPE. He lifted up a very thick copy of his publication, put it into the palm of his hand as though weighing it, looked at me, smiled and said, "Yes, Norman, I am having a great NATPE." It would be reasonable to say that the markets are a great help to the trades and, conversely, the trades are a great help to the markets.

While the Los Angeles Screenings is the only "accidental" market in the industry that no one appears to directly benefit from other than the trades, there are others. Now I don't mean that the others are necessarily evil, but virtually all of them have their own agendas that may or may not include a profit motive. I once asked the head of one of these markets what his principal goal was for his organization. He replied rather nonchalantly, "Why, to grow bigger of course." I then queried, "How about serving your constituency?" He looked at me with a very knowing smile and said nothing. What could he say? It's about growth and making more money for the people who organize MIP, MIPCOM, MIP-ASLA, NATPE, NAB, VSDA, MIFED and all the others that are too numerous to mention.

Most important to the market equation are the buyers and sellers. They are, along with me, members of a silent conspiracy. How bad can it be to get away from home? To get away from your husband/wife and children? To travel to Cannes, Monte Carlo, New Orleans, Las Vegas or Los Angeles? To stay at the Carlton, the Majestic, the Loews, L'Ermitage or the Windsor Court? Or to dine at the Moulin de Mougins, Emeril or The Palm?

You get to do all this and fly not-less-than-business-class with your cellular phone in your attache case and, guess what, someone else is paying!

Years ago, it was customary for those attending MIP to refer to it as the social event of the season. The same was essentially said about NAB and later NATPE. Do people do business at these markets? Of course they do. Is there, in fact, a significant amount of business done at these markets? I expect so. What would a salesperson do if his company decided not to participate in a market? That salesperson would die because he would envision the competitors sucking up to the buyers while he was at...

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