Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
The finale of Australian Open. Marin Čilić vs. Roger Federer. The match of the year for all Croats, whether they are tennis lovers or not. The win in Melbourne would have been a godsend after the 5th place won by Croatia at the European Handball Championship. This placement can rightly be considered a disaster since no one before the championship even considered anything short of the finals, and the vast majority were certain they would celebrate gold medal.
Whether there would even be a broadcast of the Čilić – Federer match was questionable until Friday. Australian Open’s rights holders asked for 300,000 euros in fees, which HTV could not pay (nor should they pay). At the moment when HTV announced in the middle of the week that they are unable to pay so much for TV rights and that there would be no broadcast, I was almost certain that the broadcast would eventually happen. HTV simply had to do everything to secure it, and for the organizer it’s better to take something than nothing. I really hope that HTV has learned something about cutting prices from the multi-year struggle with media agencies and advertisers who are always playing the “broken record” act in negotiations: “How much can you lower your ad broadcast fees?” “How much more?”, “That’s not enough, you have to go lower further, or we will take our entire budget to other TV stations, we’ll even include billboards so you’ll be left without a cent.” The same bargaining strategy was probably used now by HTV. Obviously, they learned their lessons well, since they were able to secure the broadcast. The moment they publicly announced that there would not be the finals, and that the organizers asked for 300,000 euros, anyone with common sense would think that they shouldn’t pay that. When the HTV further elaborated their rejection arguing that this amount exceeded the annual budgets of some of the major program segments of this television house, public support was gained regardless of the fact that it was Marin Čilić playing. Everyone interested in this finale knew they would be able to watch him at Eurosport. When they dropped the burden of political responsibility from their back (because this is a political issue of paramount importance to the health of the Croatian nation), HTV slowly and relaxedly started to bargain. And they won. It was the victory of HTV management and its sports program.
Meanwhile, what was HTV marketing department doing? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! That was obvious from the ads shown during the broadcast. When all the advertising blocks that were to be aired by Monday were edited on Friday morning, someone went for a well-deserved beer in the local pub, some went home, some to their weekendhouses, and some went skiing in Austria. The moment they heard that there will be a broadcast of the match from Melbourne, they couldn’t care less. The things are already done. Working hours were over.
This match was an ideal opportunity for everyone: for marketing producers at HTV, media agencies and advertisers. However, none of them apparently was interested. Even if someone from HTV’s marketing had been willing to sell ad real estate on Saturday, they would have no one to call. Big advertisers work through media agencies, so any contact’s with agency’s clients would be considered by the agency as interfering with agency affairs and would be sanctioned with eventual loss of contract (that’s why the broadcast from Melbourne included ads of small private companies whose owners work 24 hours a day). Every big advertiser had to grab this chance and broadcast their ads during a live sports match that is watched across the country. However, they don’t have any contacts in the TV, and they deal with their TV advertising only through their media agencies. Whoever called a media agency must have concluded it was in vain. Either they were unable to reach anybody during the weekend, or they would get an account person on the phone, who would say the plans were done, confirmed, and that you can’t work like that, ad hoc, that they have to consult the client, and that the client can’t be reached because the working hours are over.
“It’s the weekend man, didn’t you get the memo?” Remember the interview I did with Robert Čoban about advertising in a special edition of Hello magazine, on Novak Đoković’s wedding at St. Stefan. Hello bought global rights to all photos from the event. When Robert Čoban (Color Press Group of Novi Sad), the owner of Hello Magazine’s license for Serbia, submitted bids to media agencies, few wanted to buy ad space. The plans were over and confirmed. No one was ready to bother their client for an ad. However, Robert’s marketing team associates were willing to bother people, so they set a record in the number of ad sales in a single issue of the magazine. Serbia went nuts for the photos from the wedding of the most popular Serb, so this special edition of Hello magazine was reprinted – with new ads of course. HTV had the same chance here. But they didn’t have people who feel passionate about this job. It didn’t have media agencies who would dare to call their client on Friday night and offer them a unique opportunity. In fact, had they done that, they would’ve shown their client just how much they care. HTV did not have advertisers who would call their media agency on Friday night (or Saturday afternoon) and say: We want ads in the Federer – Čilić match. Make it happen!
Come to think of it, even if the people from HTV’s marketing, media agencies and marketing departments of the advertisers got together and reached an agreement, how would they realize it? Production capacities need to be planned, only on-duty staff are there over the weekends. At least five bosses need to be notified to give their consent, and they aren’t there. All parties involved in situations like this wash their hands and shrug off, making excuses why some things cannot be done, instead of thinking how things could be done.
No one wants to work. If the broadcast rights for this match were in the hands of some other media house, instead of the public broadcaster, everything would be exploding with ads. HTV lost the European Handball Championship to RTL. SBB took the next European Football Championship. In three years HTV could lose all big sports events. And today these events are what brings the most money from advertising.
Public broadcasters’ marketing departments are like brothels – everyone is having sex, but nobody is really enjoying it. The only important thing is the price. And the only strategy is bargaining.
I watched the first set of the match on HTV. During it, I saw a lame ad from a bet shop, and a telop for the Sjena shades, obviously a private company that has nothing but ads like this. Telop in a live broadcast of Australian Open’s final game with Marin Čilić. That’s as low as it can get.
I decided I saw enough, so then I switched to Eurosport and enjoyed the spots for Rolex, THAI Airlines, National Geographic and other advertisers who made such a magnificent match with their ads even more beautiful and attractive.