|A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM HARPO STUDIOS AND SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
Harpo Studios and Sony Pictures TelevisionSource: Source: NSS, live+SD HH AA%, Sept-Feb avg of debut season; M-F first-run daytime program debuts 2003-2009; NSS, live+SD W25-54 US AA/GAA%; type code=cc (M-F); 9/14/09-4/4/10; excludes breakouts and specials
The Dr. Oz Show
The most successful launch in nearly a decade -
already the #2 rated talk show this season!
The Nate Berkus Show
Already cleared in 90% US including the NBC O&Os.
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New Shows Few and Far Between
Their departures are garnering such attention in part because there are only a handful of new shows coming down the pike. Notable new shows include The Nate Berkus Show from Harpo Studios and Sony Pictures TV (Berkus himself is a designer and Oprah protege) and the Nancy Grace court show from CBS Television Distribution. Off-network shows entering the fray include How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, Ugly Betty, Real Housewives and Curb Your Enthusiasm. There's also a new Access Hollywood spinoff from NBC Universal launching this year called Access Hollywood Live, which will be broadcast live and feature in-studio guests and female-friendly segments on style and design.
That's a solid crop of off-network shows. And when it comes to originals, Nate Berkus should be appealing to advertisers, said Amy McMahon, Associate Director and Lead Syndication Negotiator for Starcom. Still, "It's all about Oprah's last season," she added.
The lack of a big, buzzy show this year is due in part to the long lead time for syndication development. The economy was in such dire straits 18 months ago that many studios pulled back on development then that may have led to a bigger incoming class this year.
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Market Looks Up
The good news is the syndication market will probably rise this year. Advertisers won't place their bets until broadcasters make their presentations in May, but with a robust scatter market, syndication will likely be healthy and up over last year.
Of course, syndication took a beating last year so an increase isn't tough to manage. But the sector might not bounce all the way back yet.
"Will this year's upfront make up for the lost ground from previous years? I don't think we are there yet, but it's better and that includes syndication," said Francois Lee, VP and Activation Director at MediaVest.
Syndication's strength lies in its familiarity, he said. "There is a level of stability in syndication and by that I mean you buy the show and you know what you're getting."
But the pending absence of Oprah may cause uncertainty over where the market is headed, he added. "Without Oprah, some say Ellen will be the person stepping in; but her ratings are far off from where Oprah is so she may pick up some of Oprah's audience, but viewers don't differentiate between cable, syndication and broadcast."
On the plus side, the TV station business is finally starting to recuperate some, as evidenced by recent earnings, said Ira Bernstein, Co-President of Lionsgate-owned studio Debmar-Mercury, which produces and distributes Tyler Perry's House of Payne and The Wendy Williams Show. Also, TV stations will see new revenue from retransmission consent this year and from political advertising, which should heat up with midterm elections, he said.
"The general economy has come back, but it's not 100% back," Bernstein said.
McMahon also said she's keeping an eye on 2011 when Rosie O'Donnell launches her new syndicated show, presumably without the backing of a major studio, McMahon said. "Rosie O'Donnell producing and syndicating a show without a studio is, I suspect, the first of more big news to come," she said.
"This is more of setting the stage year," she said of 2010. "Syndication is a $2 billion market. It's not going to be a driver of the market especially given there has been a lack of overall excitement around the new shows."
However, the Syndicated Network Television Association points out that syndication generates the ratings of primetime but is more cost efficient. Plus, syndication expanded in several categories in 2009-2010, including telecom, retail, auto and restaurants, said Mitch Burg, President of SNTA.
In addition, the stable of sitcoms draws youthful demos. He said the median age for syndicated sitcoms like Family Guy, Two and a Half Men and The Office is 36.
"Major advertisers have accepted and embraces syndication's value proposition of having great programs that people relate to and in having valuable viewers who go to their stores and restaurants, use their mobile phones, buy their cars, etc," Burg said.
Wallach echoed a similar view. Syndication is reliable and that can be comforting for advertisers. After all, for some shows success is measured in decades, like Oprah, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Judge Judy, Phil Donahue and even I Love Lucy. "One thing that makes broadcast syndication a unique medium is that it offers longevity," he said.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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