What ever happened to category exclusivity in TV spot breaks?
An explanation for any non-media readers out there – typically when you place a buy at both the local and national level, you will be granted category exclusivity for the spot breaks you purchase and any good media buyer will demand it. Meaning that within the a two minute and thirty second commercial break those other four :30 spots you’re running with will not be one of your competitors.
Your competitors could be in the next spot break, they could be in every one after yours, but they should not run in your break and certainly not after your spot in the same break. Sometimes it happens, rotators get stuffed in any avails and when inventory is tight mix ups are bound to happen. But these days it seems as though category exclusivity is totally done with.
MTV seems to do this the most – a two minute break just aired three direct skin care competitors, one after the other.
Local news ran a competitor car spot in the same break they announced a program feature was sponsored by another local dealership of the same make. (Car dealerships are a bit more flexible in that two makes can run in the same break as long as they don’t directly compete – BMW and Chevy can share a spot break because people shopping for a Chevy would not then turn around and buy a BMW).
I’m surprised with the amount of inventory that this is even happening, but media companies and reps are too focused on making money to stay afloat. Unfortunately, its hard for a media buyer to track what other spots are running in the spot break as invoices only contain the date, time and rate of your own spots. Unless you (or god forbid) the client happens to catch it, you’ll never know.
Do you think exclusivity is a thing of the past or will it come back when stations don’t have to whore themselves out to stay afloat?