After the original 'expose' aired on November 21st, One-Eye told me that FOX had perpetrated fraud in their coverage by setting up Perry Klaussen in an office that he doesn't have and shooting it as though he's working from his own office. And was really puzzling over what the relationship between Mason and FOX was, that they would be doing this favor for her.
Now, not only is FOX back, but has let itself be used as a platform for an advertiser's political agenda.
- Will FOX tell their audience that Mason has invested heavily in recent advertising buys on their network?
- Will they tell offer a disclaimer that in spite of Mason's heavy ad buys, there is no 'quid pro quo' in offering air time to a political foe of the Mayor to criticize her administration?
- Is Mason STILL running ads on FOX, or has she purchased an ad 'package' from them?
- What is the business relationship between FOX and Mason?
GA, read your post on the upcoming parking piece on Fox. I know that you did give me a specific assignment, but I got to wondering why Fox 5 was bothering with the story. Then I remembered that Beth Mason has been a fairly prolific buyer of TV ad time on Fox. So I looked around a little and following is what I already knew and what I found out:
1. The cost of buying a TV ad depends on the station, network, time of day and slot. However, many of the slots are pre-sold to ad agencies or other bulk buyers and you can't buy those slots directly from the network/local station. A good example is the network news, the morning shows, the Super Bowl, all of which are major advertising arenas.
2. A local commercial on a local station at 2 AM on the midnight movie runs as cheap at $150 per 30 seconds.
3. A local commercial on a popular show like reruns of Friends or Two and a Half Men on an "off channel" at 8 pm on a Saturday can cost $3,000 per 30 seconds.
4. A local commercial on the 6 pm news on a network affiliate runs about $8,000 per 30 seconds. That is the range of the FOX 5 slots – if they are available for the time periods in which you want to run the ads.
5. A local commercial on the half hour slot of a network affiliate for a show like CSI can run $10,000 per 30 seconds.
6. A network commercial generally runs $200,000 and up for 30 seconds on a low rated show (except the slots are taken by the ad agencies, so you have to be an existing client of an agency to get the slots, and you have to buy in quantity, say $2 million worth, otherwise you will pay a premium price.
7. You can buy 3AM to 4AM on Channel 12 for about $2,500 and run your own private docudrama on Hoboken parking, for example.
8. As I understand the ad business, the big agencies like Chait Day, Needham World Wide, go to a network with a dozen clients and on a high rated show CSI they will buy up all the time slots and present their clients, but this leaves the network with not slots to sell except for the half hour (which is the notorious go to the kitchen and bathroom) and before and after the credits (which is equally nitrous for channel changing, fridge and bathroom). Those slots are good, but decidedly less desirable.
9. So an agency approaches will pay NBC $500 million to buy slots for the year, $800 million to CBS and $700 million to ABC and then they parcel out the slots to their clients. All the networks pre sell their popular shows and the news, most likely a year in advance.
10. The business model is basically the same on a local level. NYC is a big market, so most of the more popular shows have pre sold their desirable time slots. The half hour and the credit slots that remain available, as well as anything else, are reserved for "independents" who buy in at very high rates.
Summary – Beth is not a media player. We shot that mystery down with her resume. But she probably does know how the game is played. She paid a premium for placing her TV ads about the hospital (and any other time she has been on TV) for slots during the evening news. Estimate is about 12k to 18k per airing. That is a big ticket when you add up the number of times that the ads appeared recently. It would not surprise me if she spent 150k. She may have gotten some discount for volume buying, but not that much. So, FOX owes her a measly hit job, courtesy of the news department, on parking in Hoboken for her overpriced ads. God, is it really that easy to dip one’s hand into the Mason piggy bank?