ADVERTISERS MULL MOVE INTO TV PRODUCTION

Advertisers are getting fed up with 1) ponying up higher prices for lower ratings on the networks’ primetime schedules; 2) trying to steer their commercials through the land mines of sex and violence seeded throughout TV series and movies; and 3) standing idly by as their spots get lost in a sea of competing product ads.

Howard Nass, senior VP and corporate broadcast director of T.N. Media (formerly Foote, Cone & Belding), is fighting back. Nass is spearheading a move by his advertiser clients to start creating their own TV series, movies and specials. “That way,” he says, “we’ll be able to control the cost, the programming content and the environment in which our commercials run.”

The networks should be willing to buy these show ideas because Nass says he’s prepared to let the webs have the worldwide syndication rights to the programs. He notes deals such as ABC’s with DreamWorks and Brillstein-Grey, and CBS’ with Steven Bochco and HBO Independent Prods., as examples of the nets’ increasing aggressiveness in locking up distribution rights to any series that come out of these arrangements.

The fin-syn previously barred the networks from domestic syndication of any series they had an interest in, but the FCC officially abolished these rules earlier this month.

Nass says he’ll soon be ready to announce initial projects.

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