14 11 2008

Update 11/15/2008: Only a few days before the largest BitTorrent tracker will celebrate its 5th anniversary, the Pirate Bay reached a new milestone. The site now tracks 25 million peers, which is more than the entire populations of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark combined.


We’re at an important inflection point for marketing. And, it’s going almost entirely unreported and unremarked upon.

Here’s the thing. With video, consumers want “What I want, where I want, when I want.”

If the TV industry gets it right (see Hulu as a good example), we’ll have an amazing future with lots of opportunities for marketers and everyone in that food chain to do very well indeed.

brokentvIf the TV industry gets it wrong, it’s very likely that consumers will cobble together their own infrastructure. They will use torrents, peer-to-peer networks, DVDs,and whatever else they can to get “What I want, where I want, when I want”. If that happens, people will be able to get what they want for free, without seeing any advertising at all.

if that sounds impossible, ask a friend in the music business how it’s going for them today.

The technical hurdles to putting your own infrastructure together are getting lower every year, and once people get used to it there’s no turning back.

The smartest guy on this subject bar none is Shelly Palmer. If part of your job is selling things to people, I suggest you start reading what Shelly is saying right away, starting with today’s article on Jack Myers.

You should also read Shelly’s book, “Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV“. This is important stuff, and these are important days.

Photo Credit: The Union Forever

Blinding Flash Of The Obvious: TV Edition

30 07 2008

Ad Age is usually a poor source of comic material.

But this week they had an article by David Poltrak of CBS Vision that actually made me laugh out loud. I’m sure David is a great guy, but… the following are just not penetrating insights:

  • Purchases start with awareness
  • TV is good at generating awareness
  • The Web is good at providing deeper information
  • The Web is good at converting awareness to action

In other news, water is wet and ice is cold.

In the history of media, there has never been a new medium that killed an old one. Newspapers didn’t kill billboards, radio didn’t kill newspapers, TV didn’t kill radio (or the movie business, as was feared), and the Internet was never, ever, EVER going to kill TV.

Mass Audiences: Blown To Bits

While each individual medium is feverishly trying to prove that their medium is best, we are being distracted from the jugular question of our age.

Mass audiences are being fragmented into a billion ever-tinier pieces. How can we re-aggregate them into something meaningful?

When we put too much focus on search, social media, or mobile or whatever, we are failing to see the audience forest for the digital trees.

It’s not about the media. It’s about the audience.

P.S. A medium that genuinely IS in trouble: newspapers. Unforgivably slower than the internet, less perspective than newsweeklies (which are also in trouble), and their key revenue generators like classifieds are all being picked off by other media.

If all this sounds too heady, I present a more trenchant analysis from Nelson, on The Simpsons.

TV, Out Of The Box

1 07 2008

UPDATE, JULY 9: Highlights from the new Nielsen Three-Screens video report are out. It seems the more video there is to see — on whatever platform — the more we’ll watch.

  • Online Video is Mainstream: 2/3 of U.S. Internet users (119M) watched video in May; 7.5 billion streams and 16.4 billion minutes in total. For the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament alone, CBS streamed 4.9 million hours of audio and video
  • But, TV Still Rules: For every hour of online video viewing, consumers spend 57 hours watching TV. The average consumer time-shifted ~6 hours of programming in May, up from under 4 last year.
  • For Kids, Online IS Video: Kids 2-11 spend almost 1/3 of their online time watching videos.
  • Mobile Matters: Nielsen projects 4.4M subscribe to mobile video on their phones. The average user watches 3 hours and 15 minutes a month
  • More good data is available from the New York Times and MediaPost

UPDATE, JULY 2: Knowledge Networks’ new report, “How People Use the Video Marketplace,” is scheduled to be released later today. It shows intriguing generational differences in how people consume media. For example, who uses streaming video? 52% are Gen-Y, (ages 13-29), 18% are Gen-X (30-43), and 21% are Young Boomers (44-54). More good info here.

The shift from video from something that lives in a box in your living room to something ambient continues apace. Where are people watching? 14% from desktops, 9% laptops, 6% mobile phones, 5% on portable video players. Small percentages, but growing.

According to new research conducted by Nielsen for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing,:

  • 35%, of adult broadband users watched at least one program online that was originally shown on TV
  • 87% watched programs from a TV network Web site.
  • 82% went online to find a specific program that they had missed on TV.

What are the implications for TV commercials? What would you do differently, if you knew a lot of the people seeing your commercials weren’t watching them from a La-Z-Boy?

Average Age of a Network TV Viewer: 50

30 06 2008

I wanted to come up with a more provoAverage age of a network TV viewer is 50cative headline for this post. I can’t.

The average age of a network TV viewer is now 50 years old.  When these viewers were 20, K-Fed, Kobe Bryant and Katherine Heigl were newborns. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were 5 years old.

According to Magna Global Worldwide,

“Not long ago, CBS was by far the oldest network, with a median age above 50. But ABC and NBC have gradually gotten older and are approaching 50 themselves.”

For live viewing, the report put CBS at 54, ABC at 50, NBC at 49, Fox at 44 and The CW at 34, although it noted that the latter network “is struggling to manage even a 3 household share with its new programming.”

Yikes. For more scary numbers, with breakouts by ages, click here.

I’m convinced video will ultimately remain the best way to build brands and sell product. But I think what we’re seeing now is a sort of ugly middle stage, where TV is losing relevance and the new forms of video and video advertising are not yet ready to take over. 

Still. if anyone tells you things aren’t changing and there’s no need to adjust how you do business right now — drop this bit of knowledge on them.

TV 2.0: The Empire Strikes Back

26 06 2008

UPDATE: Solutions Research Group Predicts People Will Spend As Much Time With Video As They Do Sleeping

The :30 commercial may or may not have an entirely secure future. But I have no doubt about the future of video, or advertising opportunities. In fact, they will be almost literally everywhere.

Forrester Research lays out a future landscape dominated by video in a new report, “How Video Will Take Over The World.”

Analyst James L. McQuivey, Ph.D, envisages consumers being confronted with “a dozen video platforms per day.”

He asks us to imagine:

  1. waking up to a video alarm clock;
  2. checking satellite weather videos on your mobile phone;
  3. watching traffic videos on your GPS unit while driving in to work;
  4. watching an ad for a Ford Edge on Gas TV while fueling up at a gas station;
  5. streaming MSNBC stock reports from your desktop at work;
  6. seeing a short address from your CEO in a meeting-room photo frame;
  7. watching a promo for American Gladiators in the back of a video-enabled taxi on the way to the airport;
  8. hearing Glenn Beck’s take on the elections while waiting at the airport gate;
  9. watching a clip from your daughter’s middle-school debut in Guys and Dolls that your spouse emailed as you board the plane;
  10. indulging in American Idol on the satellite TV on your JetBlue flight;
  11. checking in at your hotel through a video kiosk; and finally
  12. catching Iron Man in HD on the hotel room’s flat-screen TV.”

The future is not about TV vs digital. It’s about harnessing them so they work together.