A Different Kind of
Numbers Game -
When I heard the news that National Bingo Night was
getting a renewal, I was, to say the least, stunned.
This is a show that not only was buried on Friday
nights, but buried with an under 4 rating. However, it
was a HUGE magnet to the ABC website, averaging 3
million hits a week. When you think about it that way,
it makes sense from a business standpoint.
Sure, television is about entertaining. But it's also
about getting the advertising revenue. With TIVO
effectively wiping out the mandatory commercial views
between breaks, the networks have to find new original
ways to get the advertisers to commit to your show.
ingraining said product into the show is a major way to
do it. The fact that The Apprentice has a weekly
commercial plug has to be a major factor on why we are
seeing a new season of the declining series.
As for Bingo, what better way to incorporate the
products by making them a part of the game? If you get a
bingo, you get a piece of merchandise or a coupon for
something at a store. From a producer's standpoint, A
$50,000 prize from a sponsor is good enough to cover
1/3rd of the major prize budget. Collect three sponsors
and a huge chunk of your show is paid off for you. It's
much easier to pitch a show to a network when the
network doesn't have to shell out much
cash for it.
A game show is one of the best viable ideas to pitch to
a network. Not only is it much cheaper to run, but if
you get enough sponsors, it pays for itself, even if the
show averages a 3.7 rating. National Bingo Night fits
the bill for cheap, original programming, and even if we
detest the show, the network will air it if it brings
gold to line it's coffers. And the fact that 3 million
sets of eyeballs will be gazing at static ads placed
their on the Bingo Website offsets the fact that those
are probably the only 3 million people who are watching
As a game show fan, are you likely to enjoy this trend?
You probably are. Game shows are the best vehicles for
unobtrusive product placement within the show. How many
product ads are in The Price is Right? Over 30 per
episode, but you wouldn't realize it because you're too
busy looking at the products or playing the game. Let's
look at Wheel of Fortune for a second. Sure, it's giving
out money, but with a Prize Puzzle, Jackpot Round,
Mystery Round, Bonus Round and other various wedges on
the Wheel, you may as well call it Wheel of
The only drawback is that it would be a shame if a good
but mediocre-rated game show was cancelled over a lower
rated show with more opportunities to pitch advertising.
But when you're in the entertainment business, the only
game that matters is the game of money making. And
apparently, in ABC's eyes on Friday night, they just
secured themselves a Bingo.
You could be yelling Bingo too, if you use these Price
is Right strategies...
One Wrong Price - This is a game where common sense
rules. Find a price that seems to be out of wack with
the other two prices on stage.
Pass The Buck - The products that are there are usually
pretty easy to figure out. If you aren't sure, then the
buck should usually be passed to the more
Pathfinder - What is the last digit of the car 95% of
the time? A 5 or a 0. Before you even get off the middle
square, look at the board. If you can find a path where
the last decision you will have to make is between a 5
and a 0, that's the path you should probably take.
All I need now is a
G-35 in order to complete my GSNN Bingo Card. E-mail him
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