Here's an interesting thing about TV advertising


I noticed right around election time last year that suddenly there were a bunch of Koch Industries ads popping up on the local evening news. Considering that the current Governor of Kansas is firmly in the pocket of the Koch brothers, I did not see this as just a coincidence.

But, of course, it’s just marketing and thus doesn’t affect anyone of independent mind who exercises their free will. Which is pretty much everyone, since we all know no ad never made nobody buy nothin’, ever.
(If anyone thinks this kind of wheels-in-wheels manipulation of perception is an invention of the last 10 years or the Koch brothers, or is in any way not representative of the way modern marketing works, they pretty much forfeit the right to ever use the term “free will” except as the punchline of a joke.)

That article is so full of nonsense it was probably written by Edward Lear.

The money they spend can’t affect the news shows; if they withdraw their advertising, there are plenty of people in line to replace them. The threat is empty’ any news organization worth its salt will just reply, “So sorry to see you go.” They’d have a replacement by the next broadcast (and the advertiser loses their access to the network’s audience).

News is always kept separate from advertising (for legitimate news sources, of course – not Fox).

Further, broadcast news was never “not-for-profit” in any meaningful sense (it may not have made a profit, but that’s a different issue). The issues with TV news have nothing to do with advertisers and more to do with what the public wants to see and what can be covered given budgetary limits.

If you can point to an example of a network news broadcast (other than Fox) quashing a story due to advertiser interference, I’d love to hear it.

I think it’s an illusion to believe there was ever some golden age when the news wasn’t affected by advertisers. Even if a network’s news division was nominally kept separate from the entertainment division, it was still part of the same corporate entity. A company that wanted to influence the news would only have to threaten to pull their sponsorship off other shows and the CEO of the network would tell the head of the news division the new direction the news was going to take. And if the head of the news division objected, he’d be replaced by a more co-operative executive.

What are you expecting? Walter Cronkite to read a list of stories that didn’t make the broadcast and explain the reason why?

There’s always going to be more potential stories out there than any news show can cover. So the majority of stories don’t get broadcast. The decision about which stories get cut can be made because some stories aren’t considered important enough or some stories might be considered not verified enough. But it’s overwhelmingly likely that in at least some occasions, a decision to cut a story has been made to avoid offending a sponsor - even if everyone involved says the issue was newsworthiness.

Wow. You really believe that?

I mean, you’re circling the truth but missing the obvious point, I think. Television ONLY shows what will draw eyeballs to hang advertisments on - news included, especially since things like the Fairness Doctrine and other rules about “news coverage to keep your station license” went in the dumper.

Television is an advertising medium that occasionally shows less overtly-promotional material. News included.

This makes sense. It’s not TV news, but I’ve seen the written editorial policies of several newspapers over the years and they clearly stated that advertising was a factor in deciding which stories to run. Further, it was traditional for ads to be pulled when major news events were not favorable to advertisers. This process was automatic, often initiated by an advertising agency but editors would recognize this was needed before hearing from the agency. A typical case involved an airplane crash and any contracted airline ads would be pulled. Generally they would be run some time later as an automatic extension of the ad contract.

How does scheduling of ads work? Is there tough competition between companies for the best spots?
(other than the obivous example of the Super Bowl ).

If it’s really true that “they’d have a replacement by the next day”, does that mean that there are long lines of companies who want to advertise , but can’t-- because there are no open time slots?

If a company needs to advertise a new product at a specific time, how far in advance do they have to buy the time slots?
Suppose a large chain of fast-food restaurants wants to introduce a new sandwich. They need a certain lead time to prepare their infrastructure, and need to advertise the new sandwich at the just the right time, too. After setting up the logisics of getting the new new product to thousands of branches, training the workers to make it, printing up new menus with pictures of it, re-program their cash registers and inventory systems, etc.–do they delay the new product because there weren’t enough minutes available on TV for commercials?

American television IS the commercials. The rest of it is bait to keep viewer eyeballs on the screen.

I know the quoted section from the OP is true because Yahoo Answers told me that unsourced, uncited articles on a wiki site should be considered authoritative.

Late 1970’s: ABC and CBS ran stories on their evening and late night news shows about an odd case of a man going to Northern California and posing as a pediatrician. The story broke when he was arrested for child molestation. NBC did not run that story. The culprit was their anchorman, who had been ‘on vacation’ when he was arrested and simply never appeared on-screen again. Quiet quashing of a story that affected their news staff and viewers.

Late 1990’s or early 2000’s: CBS and NBC (and Internet news sites) had stories of the executive who was arrested for downloading Kiddie Porn. This was a particularly striking story because Go Network is (was?) Disney’s kid-oriented division with web sites and animation and films and radio… But none of the ABC news programs mentioned that executive’s arrest (and this time I was carefully watching all three of the major networks to see who would say what about the incident). Why didn’t ABC say anything at all? They’re owned by Disney Inc.

Now these are examples of the corporate brass telling the grunts downstairs to kill stories that are unflattering to their own corporation’s image, so I’m not quite fulfilling RC’s request. But it’s not a stretch (for me, at least) to imagine they’d send the same orders to avoid offending high-paying advertisers, either.

I’ve kinda wondered why someone like RJ Reynolds or Beatrice foods hasn’t bought a network. They could give themselves incredible discounts on advertising for their own products and make up the difference in their charges for advertising of competitors’ products. And most people would be none the wiser.

You don’t really need to find out
What’s going on
You don’t really want to know
Just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
…–Don Henley (solo)
Dirty Laundry
…I Can’t Stand Still

Probably for the same reason why Kraft or Beatrice or GF doesn’t open their own chaing of grocery stores. (The answer being “frack if I know.”)

Or one could, you know, get their news from sources other than networks.

Brian Williams longs for the days when bad news about an anchor could just be quashed. So does Dan Rather.

And GM would certainly like to know why it’s spending more than $3 billion a year on advertising and can’t stop that pesky coverage of its faulty ignition switches.

Here’s a somewhat more balanced look atwhy big companies advertise over our heads.That’s why the companies put so much of their advertising on the snoozefest Sunday morning shows like Meet the Press.

Pew Research estimates that NBC, ABC and CBS news divisions combined make about $3.1 billion from all sources. That’s a big chunk, but only a small fraction of compared to the more than $43 billion in total revenues the three networks earn.

And when people talk about big advertising influencing the news, how come nobody ever mentions that the largest TV advertiser is Proctor and Gamble? Aren’t they evil enough?

You mean the Satanists Procter and Gamble?

I was unaware that kiddie porn providers and child molesting had such a big advertising presence on TV. I must be watching the wrong networks, because I’ve never noticed their ads (or if that’s a whoosh, if you want to give a counterexample to refute my point, please have it address my point that advertisers don’t have influence).

You’re talking about something else. Certainly the parent company can and sometimes does. But advertisers (i.e, the people who buy ad time) do not.

The news division has many ways to keep news entertaining, from reporting scandals to fuzzy human interest stories. And any interesting story will draw eyeballs. The news that an advertiser wanted to quash the story would turn it from a small story to a big one, guaranteeing more eyeballs.

Purse speculation on your part. It’s “overwhelming likely”? Do you have any evidence to show it happened at all? You must as well argue it’s “overwhelming likely” Martians run the networks.

Besides, if something like that got out, what do you think it would do to the reputation of the news organization? It would make what happened to Brian Williams a walk in the park.

Well, I’ll admit to a little hyperbole. It might take a week. Their ad execs would start by going to someone currently advertising with them and saying, “a slot opened up in the evening news tonight. Care to take it?” They might give them a discount at first. The advertiser would use an existing ad and the network would move it to that time slot. The software that handles scheduling (I wrote the instruction manual for the system used at NBC, BTW) would switch things around with a click.

But the advertisers are there and will start running their ads in the vacant slots. Ad campaigns are planned, of course, but the time the ads are aired is always flexible and there is always someone who will snap up an empty slot.

I know that a certain large aircraft manufacturer has stopped stories from being broadcast, but not because of advertising. Most often it’s because it doesn’t want it’s vulnerabilities showing.
People that work there, know, and take the news home to their families, about the fire/weapons threat/computer assault the gemeral public never hears. I doubt the news media ever knew those threats existed.

If you can point to an example of FOX quashing a story due to advertiser interference, I’d love to hear it.

Grestarian’s stories actually point out the flaw in BG’s conspiracy theory – network competition. If one station were to kill a story, that would give the others that much more incentive to run with it.

Empirically, of course, too, the news runs plenty of stories critical of those industries.

The point of advertising on shows like Meet The Press is that officialdom in Washington watches them, so ads by a company or an industry serve as a form of lobbying.