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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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TV networks selling out-of-home advertising space

Advertising Age reports that “in recent months, the three oldest [networks] — Walt Disney’s ABC, General Electric’s NBC Universal and CBS Corp.’s flagship operation — have set up ventures to place ads on screens that consumers might watch as they fill up at the gas station, hunt for produce in the supermarket or shop at the mall.”

The article states that the outlets are used to both promote shows and sell traditional TV advertising. I can see the logic – traditional TV revenues are being hit as both media and TV channel fragmentation take effect, so networks should widen their distribution – but I can’t help thinking that this isn’t the right place to be concentrating resources (the article quotes an analyst as saying “At most this could be 2% to 4% of their base business”)

Online video is the area of growth. With so many questions over the best way to approach it, I believe this is where attention to be focused. It “may not hurt” to work on incremental revenues in different areas, but wasn’t that the rationale in the AOL Time Warner merger?

A few issues I see this venture facing

  • Metrics for measuring outdoor impacts will have to be different to measuring TV, restricting the ability for the two sales teams to coordinate and cost save
  • TV companies may be able to buy small out-of-home specialists, but surely the expertise and knowledge lies with the Viacoms and JC Decauxs of the world?
  • The TV networks’ core proposition is mass engagement. They will need new advertisers or new arguments to convince companies to invest in incremental, targeted eyeballs
  • Will the diversification damage the core brand?
  • If one of the benefits is the promote the network shows, would they not be better off just buying the advertising space?

The venture may well succeed. I can see many benefits of showing additional TV content – whether “podbusters”, made-for-broadband content or behind the scenes extras – to captive audiences, such as those in a gym or on a train or airplane.

But I’m not convinced that this is the best method to overcome fragmentation for TV networks.

sk

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmealiffe/

Links – 13th June 2008

Due to the two ATP festivals last month, I made a conscious effort to take a short break from my link updates. Once the habit was broken, it inevitably became difficult to get back into the groove. Grand Theft Auto and Euro 2008 have not helped matters.

I did toy with the idea of dispensing with them altogether, but I like the idea of this blog as (partly) a repository of all the great thinking, reporting and happenings out in the wide world.

And so I present the highlights of my web reading from the last 6 weeks or so. I’ve included the news items as although they will have dated, they may have slipped through the net.

Rather than dump the hundred or so links into one unwieldy post, I’ve cut them up into manageable themes. I will split the themes up into one post a day over the coming 4 days. By which point I should be fully up to date and in a position to get back into the habit of weekly updates. Well, until I go on holiday in um… 3 weeks.

The first theme I present to you is…

Marketing links

Creating fast strategy (Adliterate) – excellent post on quick strategic planning/thinking

What every good marketer should know (Seth Godin) – originally written 3 years ago but recently updated

A day mapped out by brands (Jane Sample)

Ten ideas for conversation (Conversation Agent) – tips on how to create compelling content, with example links to some great blogs

Can there be too much of a good thing? – Academic study by Sheena S. Iyengar and Mark R. Lepper showing that people were more likely to purchase jam when there were 6 choices than when there were 24

Planners are adventurers (I’m Only Doing This Because I Have To)

Interesting look at the Net Promoter Score (CNN) – Personally, I like the NPS as it indexes a factor that can both be rationalised and be genuinely insightful. I’ve seen other indexes either based on emotional scales, and on self-evident truths that completely fail to convince

Billboards that look back (New York Times) – as mentioned, the lack of an opt-in may be an issue. See phorm.

Bookmarkable Advertising (Adverlab) – very thought-provoking

What makes an idea viral? (Seth Godin)

Is the Surface Unsigned new bands competition a scam? (Pete Ashton)

Very good review of the 4 hour work week (W+K London)

Why marketers shouldn’t create campaigns around fear or disgust (Fast Company) – I agree. No matter the product, the positives should always be highlighted. In my eyes, Obama did a better marketing job than Clinton (aside from the fact that he won)

Why Zappos pay new employees to quit (Harvard Business Leader) – a stroke of genius

Starbucks rolls out energy drinks (Seattle PI) – this seems like a rather ill-conceived brand extension to me

50 greatest commercial parodies (Nerve)

Portrayals of George Bush in international advertising (Creative Bits)

Email checklist (Seth Godin)

Expansion pack for an advertising spoof of World of Warcraft (Creative Beef) – very funny

Product placement rose 6% in Q1 in the US (Nielsen)

List of product placements in Sex & The City (Vanity Fair) – I assume this includes prop placement as well as paid product placements

Yet Andy Burnham indicates the government will block the loosening of product placement laws in the UK – while I am biased (working as I do as an advertising researcher for a commercial broadcaster), I think this is a terrible decision. It underestimates the intelligence of the general public, it ignores that we are generally exposed to it as it is (through US imports and the cinema), assumes that production teams aren’t capable of subtly integrating brands, and stifles a potentially new revenue stream that would provide funds for investment in quality programming

I feel quite strongly on this and may revisit it in a future post, though for the time being I am fully occupied with fleshing out a few different ideas in the limited “free” time I have

Of the above links I would particularly recommend Creating fast strategy, Interesting look at the Net Promoter Score, Why Zappos pay new employees to quit, What every good marketer should know and the comments on Product placement not coming to the UK though they are all worth reading, given that they represent the best of what I have read on the topic for the past 6 weeks

The remaining themes and the days I plan to publish them are (Hyperlinks will be included as they are published)

Saturday: Trivia, and Interesting/thoughtful articles

Sunday: Interesting websites, and useful tips

Monday: Technology and web2.0 links

Tuesday: Miscellaneous random links

I’m also planning to write another post during this time, but this will depend on how distracted I get by other events

sk