Why cross promotion makes me an Angry Boy
It won’t be long before Andrew Bolt has a cameo on Neighbours discussing validity of climate change with Harold Bishop. (Yes, we know we mentioned Harold on The Punch yesterday - sorry. Ed.)
Network promotions departments assume you could easily digest Mr Bolt popping up on Ramsay Street without any real thoughts about why he is there. This is exactly why underhanded cross promotion is becoming ubiquitous. Your favourite shows are being morphed into unbearably bland advertisements for the network.
Promotional departments shamelessly hijack mostly live TV, from sporting events to the news, sneakily forcing the hosts to endorse shows that need a bit of a ratings oomph.
Usually cross promotion is the domain of the commercial networks. They have to ensure the success of much-hyped programs advertisers have thrown their money at.
Strangely, it was the ABC last week that stood accused of these advertising tactics. Sydney morning radio announcer Deborah Cameron’s half an hour discussion of ABC TV’s Angry Boys reeked of cross promotion.
Angry Boys has copped a ratings dive since its premiere. The ABC is in an excellent position to take a leaf out of the commercial networks’ book and promote the show. Aunty can utilise its multiple broadcasting platforms for evil.
Cameron denied any wrongdoing, explaining to The Australian’s Simon Canning “she had been interested in her audience’s opinions on the show after watching Wednesday night’s episode”.
If any show epitomised cross promotion it would have to be Dancing With The Stars. It is basically is one gigantic Channel 7 advertising campaign with most of the contestants hailing from the network. Funnily enough, the promotional tool where Channel 7 celebrities dance (doesn’t have the same ring to it as the working title, does it?) needs its own intense promotion as it is shares the same timeslot as the Masterchef ratings juggernaut.
If you do get up at sparrowfart and switch on the TV to Sunrise, you will notice continual promotion of Dancing with the Stars under the guise of newsworthy discussion. For instance, one Monday morning a few weeks ago hosts Mel and Kochie discussed the dilemma of: “Do you think the Dancing With The Stars judges were too harsh last night with comments like the one describing Brynne as a ‘bedazzled sack of potatoes’?”
Mel and Kochie spoke about the ‘issue’ and critiqued judges at length. It gave producers a chance to replay footage from the previous night’s Dancing with the Stars again and again.
The discussion was then dragged on to a ‘Sunrise soapbox’. If you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of breakfast TV, viewers are given the opportunity to weigh in to the discussion by dialling a 1900 number and pay to answer yes or no to the question with results shown later on in the show.
Producers then used the airtime for the soapbox voting to play even more footage with the hosts continuing to discuss Dancing with the Stars ad nauseam.
Not surprisingly, this topic did not receive any oxygen on rival network Channel 9’s Today show.
Mel and Kochie creating a storm in a teacup from a judging decision made by Todd McKenny on Dancing with the Stars is nothing short of a tacky ploy to promote their colleagues’ show.
You might think there’d be some respite from the elongated Dancing with the Stars ad when the weather came on, but it could not escape the grip of the Channel 7 promotions department.
Grant Denyer’s fill in, James Tobin, gallivanted around the streets of Sydney competing in a series of challenges with contestants from another Channel 7 show, the Amazing Race. He occasionally paused from all the hilarity to do his job. What was that again? Oh yeah, read the weather.
Not only are these tactics underhanded, cross promotion is even more prevalent with live sporting telecasts.
Throughout the Australian Open or the cricket, commentators are forced to throw their cred out the window. During a lull, they jadedly announce how great the episode of ‘(insert show)’ is coming up after the game.
I find it hard to believe Bruce McAveny would be sitting in front of the TV in his trackies and Ugg boots with a cuppa watching Cougar Town. Delicious!
The Daily Telegraph (oops, is that cross promotion? -Ed.) reported that the TV audience declined for the Australian Open by 40.17 per cent between 2009 and 2010. This is a total of 4,852,000 viewers. In 2011, viewership for the final had a decline of 20 per cent from the previous year.
In a poll conducted by TV Tonight, the main gripe that viewers had with the Australian Open was ‘relentless ads and cross promotion’ at 23 per cent.
Networks are taking loyal viewers for granted assuming they won’t notice their sneaky strategies. It is clear audiences do take notice and are switching of their sets in droves.
Everyone hates ads and being advertised to. It’s simple. Leave the promotion for to designated breaks or risk people switching off like breakfast TV or the tennis like I have.
With cross promoting rife, it does beg the question, which pie will the network promotions department stick their fingers in next?
If it Andrew Bolt does appear on Neighbours to promote the Bolt Report, lets just hope Erinsborough is in some leftie seat. It would make for the most interesting cross promotion yet.
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