Broadcasting was originally developed as a way of companies to sell radios. But once commercial entities realized that many households were listening to their radios a large amount of time every day, they began to explore this medium as a way to obtain their message across to the people. If one has to select a single event that began the age of radio broadcasting, it would no doubt be the radio program broadcast by station WEAF in New York City on August 28, 1922 This was a ten-minute advertisement for suburban apartment housing. Several major New York department stores joined the fray and were running advertisements for their stores by Christmas of that year.
By the late 20′s radio advertising had advanced in a dramatic way. It was now dominated by advertising agencies who took supervision of the schedules by buying the available air time and selling it to their customers. They also handled the creative elements of the commercials and programmes and in fact even created entire series that were intended to sell one product or another. These efforts paved the way for the origin of television advertising that would begin in just a few more decades.
The advertising agencies found that the most effective way to reach consumers with a strong message would be by creating shows that featured a single product or a range of products from a single company after study and many surveys. From this concept arose the typical television shows of the 1950′s including such titles as Kraft Television Theater, Coke Time, and Colgate Comedy Hour. These television programs were produced by advertising agencies for their clients and not to the studios as is common practice currently, as with radio.
This practice worked really good for the clients for a while. But as the television gained more popularity and there were more people watching it, the television networks were raising the costs of doing things (I.e. More eyeballs = more total dollars spent to achieve them all) and this upward pressure on the price of delivering a production over the television (plus the ever increasing costs of creating new content) forced a massive change in the relation of all the parties: the advertising agencies, the clients /sponsors and the television networks. A solution had to be found if this very powerful advertising medium was to continue to be cost effective for the sponsors.
The Other Side Of Television
NBC executive Sylvester L.’ Pat’ Weaver came up a with a settlement that would work and would likewise be very favorable to the networks. He introduced the ‘magazine concept’ of television advertising. In this arrangement, the sponsors would purchase blocks of time (typically one to two minutes) in a show rather than be a sponsor for a full show. This idea would allow a wide range of sponsors-up to four was the number imagined-for a show. The networks would now control the content as no one advertiser would ‘own’ a particular show, like a magazine.
The online website Hulu allows you to see a vast assortment of television shows from past to present, instantly streaming at your own convenience. The viewing experience is better, because advertisements take up less time only on the standard television. You are able to view television episodes at your own convenience with less ads through Hulu. If you ‘d like to watch a television show instantly without advertisements, you can always turn to iTunes. This has a vast catalog of television shows and movies that you can buy without any commercial interruption. Typically, television shows on iTunes are relatively cheap, and in addition, you can purchase the whole season of the show that you want to watch.
The option of purchasing a physical copy of the DVD season is also available. Several popular (and unpopular) shows are available for purchase in the shape of a DVD set, normally containing a single seasons worth of the show. These can be inserted into a DVD player and watched whenever you wish, with zero commercials. Whereas DVD seasons are somewhat costly, they commonly contain bonus features for the show that you enjoy. Also, pricing for DVD seasons appeared to be on the decrease as they’re gaining in popularity and traditional television is becoming progressively less watched.
Like all new ideas, this one was originally resisted by Masison Avenue but after a little bit of experimentation, they found that this approach would work very well for a number of packaged-Crest (toothpaste), goods companies manufacturing a cornucopia of brand names, such as Procter and Gamble with such disparate products as Tide (laundry detergent), and Jif (peanut butter).
By 1960, the magazine concept dominated television advertising, as it has ever since. Instead of relying on audience identification with a particular show, sponsors now spread their messages across the schedule in an attempt to reach as many consumers as possible. The ability to spread their advertising dollars out in order to achieve a broader section of the population proved to be highly effective for the sponsors. Where once they were locked into a specific time block every day or every week on a particular network, they could now choose the times and the networks where they wanted their message to be seen.
This evolution of magazine concept advertising is truly the birth of most modern television advertising. The one exception is the infomercial which is in fact a throwback to the sponsored show model used in the early stages of television advertising.