Monday, May 18, 2009

Media r(EV)loution

When TV was introduced to the public in the 50s some feared the future of cinema. Going out to the cinema was a favorite pastime at the time and studio owners reasoned that their audiences would be lured by the comfort of watching shows at home. I can imagine how excited people were to learn they didn’t have to get out to be entertained. They were clearly happy to go out before TV was invented but there’s no doubt that the frequency of “cinema outings” dropped after the introduction of quality TV shows.

Rewind to a few years earlier and the same story probably enfolded with radio and cinema. People were happy to stay home and listen to radio shows using their imagination to make up for lack of visuals but the larger than life moving pictures took them out of their homes.

Today we are experiencing the same thing with the internet and TV. This time around, the battle is not between Hollywood studio owners & TV producers. It’s between agencies: media agencies, ATL agencies, BTL agencies and I suppose it’s also between TV producers & social media/search organizations (facebook, google). Where is our audience going? How can we account for media spend? Clients/brands want to know. Everyone in the agency is involved(in no particular order):

CEOs / Board members want the best return on investment for clients
Account Directors / Managers want to serve their clients in the best way possible
Account Planners want the best ways to engage the
audience with the brand
Media / Communication Planners want the appropriate media to position the brand.
Creatives want to be given the freedom to be…creative.

and of course*…
Clients are concerned about their stakeholders, market share, profits etc
with the yearning to stay current, no one wants to be left behind.

If you examine the history of media, you’ll find that it always evolves. The present top dog will be succeeded by a more exciting form of entertainment/communication as it becomes more traditional. Traditional media still functions and though its initial novelty has faded, it is interwoven in our everyday lives (don’t underestimate the power of that). In college I learned from my sociology class that demand will always exist. It is supply that changes. So if the demand for entertainment / better communications is always going to be there, perhaps our focus should be on the supply. What inventions will shape the supply of communications & entertainment?

Case in point: With the rise of TV shows on YouTube / Hulu, consumers are catching their favorite shows online. This affects the TV viewership and ultimately the money generated from advertising. The demand for the TV shows is still there but convenience is an added demand. Networks are losing to online video networks who provide just that. What about TiVo/ Sky Plus you ask? They aren’t free, YouTube is. There isn’t one solution to this problem but it's worth looking back at how the old “top dogs” dealt with their mid age crisis. Hollywood studios responded with better movies and improved technology (color & sound).

I’ve heard long enough that digital is the future and that agencies without this function should brace themselves. I agree, but lets remember that Digital is the future as long as we’ll make it. Interaction might well be the demand while digital (whatever people mean when they say this) is the current supply.

*don't ask me what's meant by "exponential mindset" I just liked the Venn diagram, check out this blog to find out more ;)

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