Sips from the Firehose
A blog that seeks to filter the internet into a refreshing, easily-gulped beverage

Sep 24

Print Schadenfreude: TV Up Next to the Chopping Block

Posted: under advertising, New Marketing, Online (Multi)Media, Online Video, television, Webconomics.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A collective snicker/groan radiated out through the interwebs today with the publication of this AdAge piece on how video is like the news business was in 1998, as legions of print journalists who have seen the number and budgets of the news outlets for which they once worked steadily dwindle.

Welcome to Disintermediation 2.0, where the content is video. It’s
entertainment not news. And the stakes (at least the monetary ones) are
much higher.

While everyone in online video is challenged by the reality that digital
presents to any media — measurement, targeting, accountability —
traditional “editors” are also being squeezed by the very same process
that beset news in the late 90’s.

The article goes on to (correctly) identify the growth of highspeed broadband as the catalyst for the coming collapse of the traditional broadcast video model. I’d add to that the increasing popularity of DVRs, which are teaching the audience that we don’t necessarily all have to gather at 9 o’clock Eastern, 8 o’clock central, to begin our nightly turn-off-the-Alpha-waves sessions. Instead, the time-shifting that in the 80s had David Letterman jokingly producing a “morning Late Night show” because so many of his fans were using VCRs to watch him while scarfing their ham&eggs — that has become commonplace.

From econtent:

This has led to a new
rating system, called either “C3” or “live-plus-three”; instead of only
counting viewers who watch shows live, Nielsen counts anyone who records
and plays back the program up to 3 days later. This captures more of
the time-shifted viewing audience. By the end of 2010, McDonough says,
Nielsen’s ratings will combine both DVR’d and online streaming content.

Sirkin, executive vice president and global research director for
Starcom MediaVest Group, sees the DVR, particularly the TiVo, as
fundamentally changing the way Americans view television. “We have three
in our house,” Sirkin says. “My 5-year-old doesn’t understand live TV;
she’s always had a DVR.”

The other effect of DVRs, of course, is the commercial-skipping. Used to be that you had to hack your TiVo to be able to skip 30 seconds at a time. Now that comes programmed directly into the remote on the DirecTV HD controller (but I still prefer the TiVo, since it skipped you automatically 30 seconds forward in time, rather than making you watch blurred fast-forwarded action).

But the biggest eye-opener for me is that articles predicting that broadcast TV, the cash cow for so long for the advertising industry, is about to head into the abyss … well, that’s news. Because what took down newspapers was not that nobody was reading them anymore – in fact, the stats show that more people are reading newspaper content than ever before.

What has laid print newspapers low is that the revenue streams from traditional print advertising have dried up & blown away.

Most, if not all, of the major media buyers that I’ve run into over the last three years at various ad industry events, have all admitted that they know that advertising on TV really doesn’t work the way that it used to. The profusion of channels on cable and satellite, the DVRs, the growth of internet, all mean that they are getting less reach than they used to. Meanwhile, they’re getting charged through the nose for that same 30-second spot.

This relationship is inherently abusive, much like the relationship was between newspapers and their advertisers. When a viable alternative comes along, and you’ve managed to piss off your customers, guess what they do?

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Aug 15

Die, Domain Tasters! Die!

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

OK, I’m maybe a little over-emotional about this subject. But if you’ve ever tried to help some friends come up with a decent domain name for their business idea ONLY TO SEE SOME KNUCKLEHEAD SWOOP IN, BUY IT AND TRY TO HOLD YOU UP FOR BIG BUCKS, then you can understand my pain/outrage.

And now, my schadenfreude, over the news that ICANN’s crackdown on the practice, known as “Domain Tasting,” where some scum-sucking digital scammer would track the domain names you searched for, and then snarf them up before you made the decision to register them.  Then they’d taunt you via e-mails with the carefully crafted URL you had come up with, and demand that you fork over exorbitant sums.  This happened to me on a regular basis.

Then a year ago, ICANN started charging these internet douchebags when they cancelled too many domains.

The result? In June 2008, there were 15.7 million “returns” on registered domains.  In June 2009? 37,000.

Yeah, baby!

According to Ars Technica, the domain tasters are pissed that this free stream of stolen money is getting snatched from their lazy, greedy paws. Nut graf:

One of the unfortunate aspects of networked computing is that the cost of antisocial behaviors is so small (especially if you have access to a botnet) that it’s easy to profit from activities that make the Internet a less pleasant place. It’s nice to see that ICANN has figured out how to make one of these behaviors unprofitable, but it will be difficult or impossible to apply this model to many other unpleasant scams… or spams.

Oh, if only.  Can we pleez haz some way to make the spammers pay for clogging our Interpipes? They are certainly correct in pointing out that reducing the cost of distribution to effectively zero has paved the way for deceitful knobs to make all our lives miserable and prey on any idiots still naive enough not to recognize the Spanish Prisoner/Nigerian Prince scam. It’d be nice if internet companies started figuring out “antibodies” to rid ourselves of these persistent parasites.

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Aug 10

Why ad dollars will keep surging – faster & faster – towards digital

Posted: under Digital Migration, monetizing mobile content, New Marketing, new media, Newspaper Deathwatch, Webconomics.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Another quick hit, this one courtesy of an article in AdAge about how the free-fall in the ad industry has at least stopped, but what’s emerging out of the wreckage is that things will never go back to the way they were.

“This current economy has stimulated a new marketing consciousness,” said Laurence Boschetto, president-CEO, DraftFCB. “Clients are saying they want accountability for every dollar they spend, and they want cause and effect. Clients will continue to rally behind ideas that build business, and we as an industry have to accept that things will never revert back to the pre-recession mind-set that wasn’t totally focused on accountability.”

At every conference I’ve attended this year, especially OMMA and Digital Hollywood, I’ve sat in the room with media planners and ad buyers (AKA the guys in expensive suits who write the multi-million dollar checks to buy 30-second spots on American Idol), and listened to them piss & moan about their jobs.

“The goddam clients are calling me every day and screaming in my ear,” groused a Tums-chomping buyer for a major food company. “All they talk about is ‘The Board,’ and how everyone is shit-scared of winding up on the front page of the New York Times for blowing millions while we’re in a Depression.

“The orders have come down from on high that every nickel they spend has to be tracked, assessed, spreadsheeted and connected to a dollar in sales. Well, it all rolls downhill to me. I have to show results for everything, and when it comes to print and broadcast, that’s getting harder and harder to justify.

“Even if the scale and the reach aren’t there yet, when I’ve got a Google Analytics spreadsheet tracking the ad buy, at least I can walk into the client meeting with more than my dick in my hand.

“I’ve got a $300 million budget for the next year. Zero point zero zero is going to print. Nada. Nothing. I can’t justify it anymore. And broadcast TV is next.”

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