Time To Get Creative

September 9, 2008 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

How long has it been now that critics and media observers have been predicting the death of television and the television ad revenue model? About 10 years? That sounds about right. TiVOwent public in 1999. Interactive and mobile technologies continue to exploide. There was a long, painful writer’s strike and the quality of programming has been a bit uninspiring. Television has had better decades.

Now comes word that on August 4, aSecond U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel vacated a previous ruling that grounded media giant Cablevision’s nDVR product – a remote, server-based DVR product that would give people a faster, cheaper time-shifted viewing option. Up to now, the $300-$500 price tag for DVR units has limited the penetration to only about 25% of American households. But according to a quote by BernsteinResearch analyst Craig Moffett in MediaWeek, the new ruling could pave the way for DVR penetration to top 60%. And at a time when some estimates put prime-time ad-skipping at around 66%, it’s understandable why the networks are unhappy about the ruling and concerned about how they’ll stay in business.

The question moving forward is, how willing will the networks be to examine new models that are fundamentally different than what they’ve done for the past 50 years? And if they are willing to explore new possibilities, who will be the first to jump on a new idea? Who will be the first to embrace new opportunities to reach far more targeted audiences in a less interruptive, far more engaging way.

Like so many other things in our business, the answer will come down to a creative solution. People don’t hate advertising and marketing. They hate bad advertising and marketing that’s irrelevant to them.

The second we start requesting programming rather than tuning in to what happens to be on, the paradigm will shift and with it, what the networks know about the viewer making the request. There will be opportunities for branding. For sponsorship. For endorsement. But tailored and targeted to add value rather than irritation.

This is the information age. Those who provide what people want to know, see, and experience in the most entertaining, engaging, useful way will win.


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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