A planned strike by Hollywood actors could wreak pandemonium with US television networks’ sale of ad airtime, according to media analysts.

Rates for ads aired during new programmes launching in the September season are traditionally negotiated between advertisers and networks in June, based on a pilot episode produced in late Spring. It is estimated that about 80% of annual ad airtime is sold during the June period.

However, the actors’ strike is scheduled a week before networks begin their annual airtime sale, throwing the production of pilots, and the consequent negotiation of rates, into chaos.

The networks, among them NBC, CBS and ABC, may have to turn to extended news, blockbuster films and yet more ‘reality’ shows to help fill schedules and sell airtime. However, although many broadcasters have begun to stockpile productions, analysts fear that there will be too few ‘must-see’ new programmes to keep ad rates high.

News source: The Times (London)