I was on vacation last week and very busy at work the week before that, so sorry for the long posting drought. (You'll get over it I'm sure)
Catching up on things I missed while I was at the beach, I noticed that Andrew Baron and the folks at Rocketboom rolled out a new model for advertising in their podcast. PodcastingNews breaks it down to this:
The show plans to charge $3,000 per episode for sponsorships, which will include:
- Post Roll Sponsorship Gratitude. White text on black background. Company logo and byline. 7 seconds. Travels with all videos to all platforms (incl. web, phone, tv, portables). Quicktime videos online are clickable to open company website in a new browser window.
- Company Name & Link. Travels as metadata to most platforms (inc. RSS feeds). Increases company link value across the web.
- Sponsor Blog Entry. Click here for details.
- Quicktime Chapter Marker. Easy access to sponsor message from chapter drop-down box.
Early sponsors under this format are Twitter and YouTube..coincidently timed with the launch of Rocketboom's own YouTube channel. I am surprised it took Andrew this long to get on YouTube.
I wrote in the past about Bud.TV and the problems it will have attracting sustainable audiences. According to a new article in Ad Age:
Anheuser-Busch Cos. CEO August Busch IV today said the No. 1 brewer expects its pioneering online television network to "fade" during the second half of the year.
A-B spent $30-40 Million on a site that they will just let fade away. Smart decision, because aggregating in a world of disaggregated content is just a bad idea. It will always be an uphill battle to attract an audience. With open distribution systems like YouTube, Joost etc. there is no need to hold content hostage on your own little "island". There are millions of people gathered in existing video portals who would love to watch, recommend and share your videos...so why spent ad $ to draw them out of that environment?
Bud.TV is a great case study on how not to run a branded content strategy. Hopefully, they will adjust their mindset and extend their content out on the web.
Dave Beaupre has said for years,
Bring the content to the people, not the people to the content.
Wise words that could have saved A-B a lot of money...
Hasbro is designing a new UK Edition of Monopoly and is reaching out to consumers for input on what cities should become properties on the board. They are offering live results and it appears that 1,000's of votes have already taken place.
What I like about it is they have an entire "Join the Campaign" section of the site where they offer PDF versions of posters and provide a whole list of ideas for you to spread the word and get the vote out for your locality.
Here is the list:
Organise a rally in a public place – make your own placards to ignite the passion of your fellow citizens
Contact your local paper or TV – get the media involved and the message will spread far and wide
Write to your MP, Mayor or council
Tell your friends and family to vote too – every vote helps!
Got a website? – use the buttons here to link your site to the Monopoly one – make sure you tell people where to vote for through!
Start a blog – find fellow citizens to get involved
You can leave a comment on why your city should take the top spot when you vote!
Marie Claire, the womens fashion and beauty magazine, launched a video podcast late last year (produced by Podshow). The show is called "The Masthead" and is sponsored by Unilever. One thing they seem to ignore though is the healthy line between church and state. It should always be clear what is an ad and what isn't.
Yesterday, I was on a call with the ad agency for an auto-maker who asked for "video ads beyond pre-roll...I want true integration. If you can pull that off, we have HUGE dollars to throw at you." I am sure that all publishers are hearing this, but those who have a division between church and state are going to have a hard time pulling this off.
If you know of any examples of this being done well, please let me know. This project from Marie Claire is an example of what I am NOT looking for.
They apparently have no editorial line at all and were able to land a big deal for Unilever by dropping all ethical concerns and taking one for the team.
The very first episode I watched this morning, episode 8 "NY Fashion Week", started off with Editor-at-Large, Joyce Caruso-Corrigan saying, "we are looking for trends and we are looking for the NEWS. At the end of the day we are a magazine...its JOURNALISM...and we depend on NEWS every season." OK, so assuming this is news about NY Fashion Week, why do they only cover the fashion show of their sponsor, Diesel?
Womens Wear Daily notes that,
Nearly every one of the eight segments so far has prominently featured Unilever beauty products in scenes with the magazine's editors, and the most recent one included footage of the Diesel New York show, with Marie Claire fashion director Tracy Taylor explaining in the podcast, "What I love about Diesel…."
In episode 4, Paula Knight, Associate Fashion Editor, holds Degree Deodorant in her hand while she tells the viewer that they have to return the garments to the show when done, so the models have to wear clear deodorant so they don't stain the dresses. They even do a close up on the deodorant to be sure that the viewer can see it is Degree she is holding...a Unilever Brand.
I have a few questions.
Is this really journalism as Ms Caruso-Corrigan claims?
Is this what ad agencies want when they ask for "Integration"?
Do advertisers really want to do business with a property who is so desperate for ad dollars that they will cross these lines?
I think it is fine for Podshow to produce these and it is a great idea for Marie Claire to be playing in this new media realm. However, you can't call this journalism. Its a 9 minute ad that comes out every two weeks, disguised as editorial. Lets hope that dying magazines don't continue to sell their souls like this just to survive a little longer.
A nod to BrandBrains for the link.
Radio Stations change formats all the time. If Alternative Rock isn't cutting it, then maybe a switch to Latin Pop will produce the ad $ they so desperately need. Well, KZPS in Dallas is taking this to the extreme. Apparently the switch from classic rock to a "Texas-inflected rock-country hybrid" format was not enough this time. They are going to drastically revamp the ad model as well.
Instead of selling 30-60 second ads as radio normally does, they are going to a time-based sponsorship model. According to an article in todays NYT:
Instead, advertisers sponsor an hour of programming, during which a D.J. will promote its product conversationally in what the company calls integration.
For example, the D.J. will identify Southwest Airlines, one of the station’s first advertisers, as the sponsor at the beginning of the program. In a prototype provided by the station, the D.J. later discusses the South by Southwest music festival, a popular annual event held in Austin, and concludes, “You know, the best way to get down to Austin for South by Southwest is Southwest Airlines. They have tons of flights. It’s the way I travel.”
The product-themed chitchat will account for about two minutes peppered throughout the hour, in contrast to the 12 minutes to 16 minutes of commercials that most stations broadcast each hour.
Clear Channel is clearly using this station as a proving ground for new ideas and I like the experimentation. The belief behind this seems to be that consumers hate ads and will favor a station that plays more music and less "SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY" ads that scream at you like your an idiot.
I have two main concerns about this model:
I may be over-simplifying the economics of radio (and showing some ignorance as well) but this is going to be tough and I wish them luck.
On Tuesday, AOL performed a TV Network-like Upfront presentation that officially launches them into the world of broadcasting. They will be creating some new shows that will be unlike anything we have ever experienced. Not sure if they will be good...but they will be different.
Many of the programs skirt the line between interactive gaming and nonscripted programming; they can be categorized as either reality television with consumer participation or an online game with video components. (Via Variety)
One of the most ambitious TV-style programs is "iLand," an online community in which players compete for dominance of a group.
Series, which is produced by Endemol USA and set to air in the second quarter of 2008, will eventually spill into the real world as contestants move to an island and try to assert power there; those competitions, hosted by thesp Brooke Burns, will be broadcast online.
Sounds like an "Un-Survivor"...very cool.
Now that devices like Apple's iTV are bringing web video into the living room easily, the TV landscape is becoming very foggy and AOL is clearly setting themselves up to take the early lead in this race.
Read a mediaweek article this morning about the problems that social media sites are having with advertisers. Digg, Slashdot and others attract readers in droves, but are struggling to get ad revenue.
The very last paragraph brings up a very good question: Can a sites engagement be so high that it actually damages ad performance?
“These are very, very heavy Internet users,” [refering to readers of digg etc] said Justin Curtis, interactive director, San Francisco-based Maiden Lane, who works with brands such as Michelin and Del Monte. “They may not always be the right users. As an advertiser, you ask yourself, ‘how am I going to get these people to leave this environment, when they love it so much?’”
Justin seems to be saying that these sites have such high engagement that it actually takes away from their ad performance, rather than improving it. Could this be true?
I disagree, but I would love to hear what you think.
I have been critical of CBS's Innertube Project in the past, but they just took a huge leap ahead of the pack with the announcement that they will allow their content, with ads, to be syndicated out to at least 10 other websites. I see this as the first step toward the complete democratization of media and is one of the biggest signs of the changing media landscape since ABC first offered full episodes on abc.com.
They will be offering full episodes and clips to sites like AOL and Comcast and through more specialized outlets like NetVibes and Joost. I don't think it will be much longer before they will offer up completely unrestricted embedding of these files into blogposts. If the ad travels with it and all of the proper protections they want are in place, why wouldn't they allow this? Not sure why it has taken them so long.
What better way to get buzz about your programming than by allowing people to take selected clips of a show and discuss them in their blogs?
Be on the look out for a similar announcement from ABC soon, as I am sure they have considered this. NBC will be the last to act...I think they are still trying to pull down the "Chronicles of Narnia" clip from YouTube.
Bud.TV drew 152,000 unique visitors last month, 40% fewer than February's 253,000 visitors, according to numbers released today by ComScore Media Metrix. A-B executives have said that they hope to draw between 2 million and 3 million visitors per month by early next year to the online network, which is costing the brewer somewhere between $30 million and $40 million.
Bud.TV's original traffic numbers were all generated as a result of a major ad campaign. I went there, as many others did, to check it out. I did find some funny content, but I had to wade through a lot of crap to find it.
Because the content is kinda lame and predictable and not updated regularly, the only way they will be able to sustain any respectable traffic level is through TV, Radio and Online Ads. These Ad-Driven-Traffic models will never hold up long term without really compelling content; which to this point they do not have.
Ghost Sites of the Web says that cluggy coding also makes it very unfriendly to search engines. Major rookie mistake.
To be successful, the site needs to find ways to get people back to the site organically. Here is my advice:
The concept is good, but if they get in a position where traffic is reliant too heavily on their own advertising, the project is doomed.