Catching Another Case of Media Vendor Unfairness

Catching Another Case of Media Vendor Unfairness

John Haggard

This can happen in any market (and does): “jam and cram” scheduling of commercials. Because we ask for all of our clients’ commercial spot times in advance of airing in all markets, we can catch these careless or “unintentional” blunders before they bill and get the spots more evenly spaced or moved. If the program logs merge after the spot times are given to us which later shows a “jam and cram,” we insist on make-good weight for the unfairness. This situation was a television station that had an order to run spots in a time-specific newscast on a Monday through Sunday basis. We expect a reasonable distribution of the spots over the 7 days as this was an annual order negotiated for big dollars way in advance of airing. While we might not get an even number of spots every single day for each newscast, that can be okay, but to have 29% of the week’s ordered spots and dollars jammed and crammed into one newscast on one day is definitely overkill. Program logs are manually massaged, or should be, by traffic people to ensure a reasonable fairness and distribution of spots. What was worse was the placement of spots on a  Saturday which generally has lower ratings than the Monday-Friday and Sunday time periods. This is known as “jam and cram.” Always know in advance how your schedules are supposed to air. Things can happen, such as breaking news, breaking weather, program time late-runs, and the like, which may affect a fair and reasonable rotation, but there was no excuse for this treatment of one of our advertisers. Disposition? The spots ran “jam and cram”; however, I demanded make-good weight and got it. So in effect, the client got additional news airtime for this blunder at no additional cost. You need an advocate who will fight for fair representation in negotiation and audit to be sure you get the lowest cost per lead possible and in a way that is honorable.