Trying To Get Advertisers For A TV Sitcom

I am a Co-Executive Producer of a female-driven sitcom series entitled “All 4our One,” and we received word that a national television network, in 19 million homes nationwide, likes our pilot and wishes for us to make more episodes for them, roughly 13.

However, the network is set up as a distribution channel, and they basically told me, find yourself some sponsors/advertisers, make your episodes, and mail us your episodes when your done.

We have data and information on our series and who is viewing our website and social pages information, though it hasn’t even been seen anywhere except the film festivals it was shown at. It was tough enough to make a pilot on my paychecks from my other job, but I’m having a hard time trying to find out who would be willing to purchase time on our series, and how to pitch it out to them. I have an advertising proposal, a business plan, a trailer of the series, an no takers…Please help…

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Jay’s Answer: Congrats on getting this far. Television, like other media, has changed dramatically in the last few years because of the Internet. Even successful TV reporters/hosts are having problems finding sponsorship for their shows (the TV stations no longer have the resources to find the opportunities).

Start with your demographics. You say you know who’s viewing your pilot. What products or services does this group purchase disproportionately? Which companies fulfill this need in the distribution network? You should be able to see the list of advertisers for other shows that the network distributes to get some ideas.

Figure out your production costs – including the time necessary to find sponsors to determine what to charge. In addition to basic underwriting/advertising, you could use product placement or in-kind donations (a home/office to use as a set, for example).

Increase the demand. If it hasn’t been seen anywhere except at film festivals – why not show it online – YouTube, etc.? You don’t have to show the entire show – just enough to prove that the writing is sharp, the characters interesting, the photography is crisp, etc.

On you YouTube videos and/or website, have you placed a notice that you’re looking for sponsors?

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