World Media in 2005: US

American TV networks have conquered the world, but are facing a host of problems as the 30-second ad starts to look obsolete. Meanwhile, advertisers are falling in love with the internet.

The US loves a real-life drama, particularly when it's on TV. A 30-second spot in the Super Bowl, the US's most-watched TV programme, sells for more than $2 million. Meanwhile, a staggering $128.7 million was spent on political ads in last year's race for the White House.

Yet it's somewhat ironic that the monolithic US TV networks that have provided so much of the world's most popular TV content (Friends, The Simpsons, Frasier) are confronting a plethora of problems.

First, cable shows seem to be attracting more quality audiences. It's particularly frustrating for media buyers that they can't buy time around the hit show The Sopranos, for instance, because it's broadcast on a subscription-based, ad-free cable channel, HBO.

Second, personal video recorders such as TiVo are becoming more popular in the US. And, last but not least, clients are starting to demand ideas that extend beyond the 30-second TV ad, the cornerstone of the media schedule since the 50s.

There are glimmers of hope. Reality shows such The Apprentice and Survivor attract big audiences, while Desperate Housewives was the undisputed hit series of 2004. But media buyers are more likely to turn to quality dramas such as Rescue Me on cable channels such as FX. In fact, the beer brand Miller actually paid for the first episode of Rescue Me to be ad-free, as well as indulging in a spot of product placement. Branded content is a hot topic, although it has yet to take off significantly, despite endless talk.

One thing is for sure, however. The internet is claiming more ad dollars than ever and advertisers have fallen in love with its accountability.

It claims 5.1 per cent of all adspend, more than cinema and outdoor combined.

The media conglomerate Clear Channel dominates the airwaves of American radio. Radio stations, like newspapers, tend to be state-specific. The New York Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune each boast a circulation of more than one million. The Wall Street Journal is America's second-most popular paper.

The fact that the US re-elected Bush indicates middle America's endorsement of the president's tough stance on terror and his Christian values. But the US remains divided, with coastal states, most notably New York and California, remaining steadfastly Democrat and vehemently anti-Bush.

ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE

USdollars million at current prices. * Estimated

News- Mag-

Total papers azines TV Radio Cinema Outdoor Internet

1992 84,184 31,523 10,651 30,644 8,755 0 2,611 0

1993 87,410 32,153 10,970 31,848 9,568 0 2,871 0

1994 92,059 33,439 11,354 33,453 10,652 0 3,161 0

1995 98,046 35,278 12,149 35,680 11,470 0 3,369 100

1996 104,852 37,077 12,994 38,472 12,412 0 3,597 300

1997 112,038 39,079 13,748 40,709 13,794 0 3,802 906

1998 120,743 41,341 14,573 43,471 15,411 0 4,027 1,920

1999 139,935 43,697 21,193 47,299 18,581 0 4,565 4,600

2000 156,667 48,700 23,978 52,258 20,819 0 4,912 6,000

2001 147,246 45,778 21,540 49,714 18,800 0 4,814 6,600

2002 149,756 45,320 20,903 51,640 19,423 275 4,945 7,250

2003 152,282 46,227 21,712 51,610 19,581 303 5,093 7,758

2004 161,487 48,538 22,757 55,504 20,364 339 5,297 8,688

2005* 168,193 50,479 24,089 57,403 20,793 379 5,536 9,514

2006* 177,046 53,508 25,509 59,717 21,548 417 5,786 10,560

2007* 186,187 55,649 27,278 62,192 22,410 467 6,047 12,144

ADSPEND NOTES

1) Includes agency commission

2) Includes production costs

3) Includes classified advertising

4) Reflects negotiated rates (after discounts)

5) Includes national and local media. (Newspapers and outdoor are mostly

local, magazines national)

FACTFILE

HIGHEST CIRCULATING

Newspaper: USA Today (daily, 2,617,000)

Business magazine: Money (monthly, 2,013,000)

Consumer magazine: AARP The Magazine (bi-monthly, 21,035,000)

Most-watched TV programme (2003): Super Bowl XXXVII

Best new TV format: The Apprentice

MAJOR LOCAL MEASUREMENT TOOLS

Circulation: Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)

Readership: Mediamark Research (MRI)

TV Viewing: Nielsen Media

TOP MEDIA OWNERS

Newspapers: Gannett, Dow Jones

Magazines: Time Warner, Conde Nast/Advance, Advanstar

Television: CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC

LOWDOWN

Media topic du jour - The resurgence of technology and dotcom advertising.

Reigning media guru - Martha Stewart. Even behind bars ...

Media mogul to be seen dining with and why - Howard Stern. The King of All Media is going celestial. The sky is no longer the limit.

Car to drive - It's not about driving, but about being driven.

Top-selling beer brand - Stella is the hippest brew, although the best-selling is still the king of swill - um, beers - Budweiser.

Phone to carry - Motorola RAZR.

Whatever you do, don't say ... "Let's make a night of it." When Americans suggest going out for a drink, they usually mean one drink.

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