Friday, July 02, 2010

Media Changes in the next Decade

As a child of the 60's and 70's, I grew up without cellphones, cable TV and the internet. We got the news via Walter Cronkite (Google him!), and the afternoon newspaper.

My kids grew up in a different world, and my grandkids world will be vastly different too.

Here's an insiders peek into what is coming:

What Happens to Traditional Media When it Goes Digital?

At the ARF Audience Measurement conference last week, some speakers really got me thinking about what happens when all media becomes digital. Here are three forces that could produce profound changes in media and advertising both from a business and user experience point of view.

Everything Will Become Digital

Digital used to be synonymous with online but everything will become digital. Dave Poltrack from CBS predicts a huge increase in HD, 3D, and IPTV TV sales. David Verklin, president of Canoe Ventures, talks about the interactive TV advertising experience that will be nationally available. Video in Facebook? How about Facebook built into your new 55" HD 3D TV? The future of print media is being revolutionized by electronic readers like iPad. One can also imagine codes being inserted into print advertising or editorial pieces that, when captured by a smart phone, instantly leads to a multi-media experience or electronic coupon.

No longer is CBS a TV company or Time, Inc. a magazine; no longer is "media platform" the business organizing principle. Now, the media property is the organizing principle and it must live synergistically across platforms.

Data Will Always Trail the Media Possibilities

New touchpoints are emerging weekly, it seems. Advertising via the iPad was born so very recently. Apps for smart phones that create amazing location-awareness and shopper marketing options are emerging so fast it is mind-numbing. How can a manufacturer not want to put codes on packages that, via a reader on any smart phone, can now bring a brand's story to life with sight, sound, and motion at point of purchase? Digitization allows a marketer to guide a consumer along the path to purchase right to the check-out.

The point is, syndicated media research data bases, custom marketing research assessment can't possibly get ahead of this; they will always be playing catch-up, focusing on the most significant of the touchpoints that are attracting substantial funds.

The Importance of Understanding Audience Size Will Diminish

The most important things in traditional media, the stats we all understand, relate to audience size (GRPs, circ, etc.). However, imagine watching an episode of House on a platform that allows for selective ad serving. As soon as two different households start getting different ads served to them, measuring total audience becomes less important to the advertiser. Online, monthly uniques are a guide to which sites an advertiser should consider but they are paying for impressions served (or clicks). "Traditional" media could/should move to this model as it becomes digital.

If this comes to pass as traditional media become digital, imagine the implications for syndicated media currency databases, and media tools. While this will be traumatic to the existing infrastructure for "traditional media", the increased business value of advertising and the increased CPMs that advertising should command when it is made more relevant based on intelligent serving rules are potentially very significant.

(Source: Joel Rubinson, Chief Research Officer, The Advertising Research Foundation, from an article that appeared in Retail Wire, 06/30/10)

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