For the last few years, newspapers have borne the brunt of declining fortunes while their circulation erodes as quickly as the sands on a beach facing a tsunami. But the reality is far from the perception that newspapers will disappear.
For the last few years, newspapers have borne the brunt of declining fortunes while their circulation erodes as quickly as the sands on a beach facing a tsunami. But the reality is far from the perception that newspapers will disappear.
The United states has been a cultural melting pot spawning generations of culturally rooted families from around the globe. From Europe and Africa, the Middle East and Asia, we are as culturally diverse as Walt Disney's "It's a Small World".
Standing out from all cultures in terms of growth and impact on our economy has been the Hispanic (or Latino) community. Today, over twenty countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico contribute to the Latino population in the U.S. accounting for 15.5% of the U.S. population ..... not an insignificant statistic.
And the number is growing rapidly.
Results from the 2010 census is expected to raise eyebrows as many believe the number of Latinos will rise from an expected 47 million to between 50 and 52 million.
According to the census, the Hispanic-origin population contributed 39 percent of the Nation's population growth from 2000 to 2010, projected to 45 percent from 2010 to 2030, and a whooping 60 percent from 2030 to 2050 (accounting for at least 25% to 30% of the U.S. population).
The political and economic impact of the Latino community as it relates to marketing strategies cannot be overlooked. To do so would court disaster..... and delivers a holiday gift for those marketers that have already recognized the future bonanza.
Berg and Bonier R&D out of London have been experimenting with concepts for digital magazine publishing. The project, Mag+, explores both consumer habits and business needs to make the digital magazine reader experience more insightful and rewarding.
The reading device is much like a Kindle or Sony Reader on steroids. The video below provides an excellent overview of the device and the "layout" for published content. The overall result is a handsome attempt to drive magazine readers away from the printed page and onto the digital band wagon.
As old habits die hard, there will likely be resistance and slow acceptance of a digitized magazine format. Some of the experience will be lost as other benefits come into play. For consumers that are growing up with, and those that are embracing, the digital age, the experience will be a good one. For others that enjoy the tactile experience, not so much.
Are we trying too hard to move the consumer away from one platform to another? One will not mirror the experience of the other as we attempt to make a migration painless for both publisher and reader. Taking a lesson from history, television did not replace radio, the cell phone has not replaced the telephone and FOR SOME TIME TO COME, MAGAZINES, BOTH DIGITAL AND PRINTED VERSIONS, WILL LIVE SIDE BY SIDE, each catering to a distinct audience.
Displacement in the pool of media options is an ongoing phenomenon. Replacement is a rare event.
Except for Martin Sorrell.
At a recent UBS Media Week Conference, Sorrell covered topics that ranged from short-sighted media price guarantees (in a volatile market) to digital media and global emerging markets.
Espousing the danger of taking comfort in a 25 percent decline in revenues he suggested those companies would be out of business in three years. Citing a forecast of a 1 percent global expansion in spending and pointing to Interpublic's forecast of 6 percent growth as "rogue", he suggested the economic climate is "more, less worse".
Turning to the digital landscape as "the driver for growth", Sorrell does not believe firms like Google can sustain long term traction as an advertising company and that the phenomenon of Facebook and Twitter will be short-lived, replaced by the next new social trend.
Sorrell's crystal ball is not that far off.
Price guarantees in this (or any other) economy by ad agencies for media time/space is at best insane. CPMs in the broadcast market have gone up while digital auctions through the on-demand platforms are commanding premiums for hyper-targeted impressions. Betting on media futures is not a good thing.
Twitter recently experienced a drop of 3 million users and activity among current users is declining. Facebook is still bleeding and MySpace is slowly withering away. The social networks have yet to discover the value of audience data applied to the millions of eyeballs they generate. I would venture that applications developed for the Twitter platform are making more money than Twitter ever will.
Reading what is in the cards today, right or wrong, however, will quickly be forgotten in anticipation of the early signs of a modest recovery.
Maintaining journalistic excellence while making a profit is becoming increasingly impossible for news companies that cling to a print-only business model.
There is hope.
At today's gathering at the World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad, India, over 1500 participants heard how a news and information company in the U.S. is transforming itself to become a digital savvy operation that turns the old print-only model on its ear while projecting record profits. This company successfully reverse-engineered the production and, importantly, the distribution of content looking to the web first and print last.
John Paton, Chairman and CEO at ImpreMedia, the largest Hispanic News and Information company in the U.S., passionate about journalism, the communities he serves and his dedicated employees, provided his audience with a road map for what appears to be a successful embrace of the digital landscape before us.
His speech can be read here. I urge you to read it.
In closing, Mr. Paton also announced new initiatives for hyperlocal media efforts extending to local communities in New York and LA via community blogging partnerships. ImpreMedia will establish E-Journalism Media Labs and shepherd key community bloggers to address the importance of hyperlocal journalism.
That newspapers are facing a disappearing act has been long argued in the face of declining circulation. The following presentation from the Congress provides alternative views....
As search engines take the largest slice of advertising revenues, little is left for the content generators themselves. In a 182-billion dollar press advertising industry, digital revenues of newspapers accounted for less than 6 billion dollars last year and are forecast by to grow to no more than 8.4 billion dollars by 2013.
At the same time, print advertising is expected to decline and that by 2013, combined print and digital ad revenues will be less than print only ad revenues were in 2008.
"These forecasts, similar to those made by Zenith and others,demonstrate quite simply that at no time soon will digital advertising revenues come close to achieving the sort of revenues required, by many, to compensate for falling print revenue," said Timothy Balding, co-CEO of WAN-IFRA. "So that answer will have to be found elsewhere. Should these forecasts come close to being true, new business models will have to be invented."
"If newspaper companies wish to maintain their strong content leadership, someone is going to have to pay. It looks like we have to solve the digital payment issue and soon," he said.
The annual world press trends survey was presented Tuesday at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Hyderabad, India, where the paid content issue is being hotly debated.
Yet despite the problems of falling advertising revenues, forecasts of even further declines, and pressure from new competitors, the global newspaper industry is far from facing an "apocalypse," Mr Balding said.
"Despite the endless predictions about the death of newspapers, they actually continue to grow, at least on a global scale," said Mr Balding.
The WAN-IFRA survey showed that newspaper circulation grew, on a global scale, by 1.3 percent in 2008, the last full year for which data exists, and almost 9 percent over five years.
"You might say that this growth is taking place in the developing markets and masks a continued downward trend in the developed world. And to a degree this is true, but it is not the whole story, as newspaper companies in the 'old' markets have embraced digital platforms and new forms of print publishing and, in doing so, have actually grown their audience reach and revenues, even while their print circulations have come under pressure."
The data shows consistent newspaper growth in Africa, Asia and South America, and a long-term slowdown in the US and European markets.
"But even here, a sense of proportion demands that we deny the idea that the apocalypse is upon us," said Mr Balding. "A circulation drop in Europe, for example, is less than 3 percent over five years. Over five years, according to our survey, newspaper circulation increased in 100 of the 182 nations for which we have reliable data."
How much Spam will $945 million buy?
Facebook's triumph last month over the notorious spammer, Sanford Wallace, secured a judgment of $711 million for the company .... money it will never see. What appeared to be a hollow victory, however, has set the stage for Wallace's referral to the U.S. Attorney's Office with a request by the judge that he be prosecuted for criminal contempt charges and possible jail time.
Facebook will be standing in line for a long while before it recoups a penny. MySpace won a judgment against Wallace in 2008 for $230 million following a $4 million fine by the FTC in 2006 for running excessive pop-up ads.
Today, the self proclaimed "Godfather of Spam", Alan Ralsky, was sentenced to 51 months in prison. Ralsky's appetite for spam started back in 1997 when he began sending out 70 million messages a day. In 2004 his operation began sending out billions of illegal e-mail ads pitching penny stocks in a pump and dump scheme that grossed millions.
Other indictments are pending as conspirators are facing jail time as well.
Kudos to the companies and law enforcement agencies for diligently tracking down illegal mailers.
Do they serve Spam in prison?
A U.S. senate hearing today could put in jeopardy the issue of self regulation of consumer privacy. The press release by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation can be found here.
In a nutshell, the practice of post transaction marketing has impacted millions of consumers with what is considered to be a "scam" engaged in by over 450 websites and their rev-share partners, Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty.
The committee is investigating over 1.4 billion dollars in recurring revenues charged by these companies and shared with their partner sites. Shockingly, some of the most respected companies are on the list of offenders. The lead story by the Huffington Post can be found here along with a list of the top offenders.
In the face of FTC hearings next month on the issue of privacy concerns and self regulation by the industry, these actions do nothing to instill consumer confidence.
How can we possibly self regulate our own when major players participate in questionable practices?
“Last click” attribution, however, oversimplifies the stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness) always ignoring the contribution of campaign impression delivery before the last click …. which leads to a purchase or action. Weaving the impact of offline impressions into the equation adds to the confusion as media vendors jockey for credit. The landscape is littered with land mines that are confounding both marketers and vendors into “paralysis-analysis”.
In an effort to help “solve” the problem of overlapping exposures across digital media channels, Atlas and DoubleClick have enabled Universal Action Tags and Floodlight Tags leading to conversion mapping and event tracking through attribution logic. The problem is not yet solved, however, as the application of values to all considered campaign impressions is always debatable.
When did the controversy begin? When will it end? Are marketers looking for deeper insights into the effectiveness of their online media investments and placements? Or, are media vendors across participating campaign channels looking for a larger piece of the media investment pie?
Both parties are, naturally, catering to their own agendas. Marketers and their agencies want deeper insights into ad effectiveness, while the media vendors want credit leading to shared payments for their CPA placements. In the case of CPA campaigns it is not uncommon (although wrong!) for marketers to pay vendors more than once for the same sale. It’s a slippery slope that can only lead to more backroom payment headaches for the agencies and marketers playing the CPA game. Contrary to the machinations and plotting of vendors I have worked with, it is my guess that shared payment scenarios will never happen and the thought of ever securing monetary credit for “view through” assignments are as far off as the colonization of Mars.
For those vendors hawking CPM campaigns, the real benefits derived from attribution technologies will ultimately lead to higher markups for targeted and optimized inventory as it is considered premium …. higher CPMs, less waste and better returns.
Having had the opportunity to debate both sides of the controversy with vendors and agencies, it is the agencies and marketers, in my opinion, that wish to provide a clearer perspective into the ultimate value of attribution technologies.
The controversy will continue until such time that better research initiatives, with proper test and control groups, is conducted in order to provide more clarity. Under the aegis of independent industry associations (Internet Advertising Bureau and Advertising Research Foundation) marketers and agencies eager to gain better insight into attribution models should be encouraged to petition and subsidize qualitative research in this arena. The time for development, sharing and adoption of best business practices for attribution logic has been too long coming.
A recent Huffington Post headline declared a thirty percent unemployment rate in a Michigan town dominated by one large employer that was hit hard by the economic downturn.
The folks in these rural towns are hurting badly. As plants close and jobs are lost the local economies lose the momentum to keep going. Purchasing power drops, inventories for everything imaginable become restricted, transportation slows. The ripple effect of thousands of small towns shakes the core of our economy.
These small towns, the backbone of the American economy, ripped apart and dismantled by Wall Street behemoths that could care less about their plight will eventually make a comeback.
The economy will survive and we will have learned many lessons. Lessons about trust, integrity and compassion. Hopefully, the failings of previous administrations to protect the flock will be corrected. We are a resilient people.
Our own town, that of the ad community, has also been hit hard. I have seen many jobs disappear as smart, valuable people become discouraged and move on to other career choices. Yet I am confident that we will see a reversal of fortunes and encourage those of us in the industry to hang on.
The words to the song below, sung by James Taylor, say it best.
According to one of the first independent surveys carried out by the University of California and University of Pennsylvania, two thirds of Americans object to targeted online ads.
A proposed amendment to an EU privacy directive states that national governments should "ensure that the storing of information, or the gaining of access to information already stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his/her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information."
The amendment, if approved, would have negative implications for the online advertising community, which relies on the placement of cookies on hard drives to enhance the relevance of online ads.
Is the US next in line for government regulation? Recent session debates at AdTech and OMMA suggest that self-regulation may not be enough to stem rising criticism against the harvesting of consumer data.
In the coming weeks, this blog will initiate a debate on platforms that may provide alternatives to government regulation. Stay tuned.
Click on the photo to enlarge for a full view
House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, pictured standing, far right, speaks while colleagues Rep. Barbara Lambert, D-Milford and Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a new budget. (AP)
The guy sitting in the row in front of these two... he's on Facebook, and the guy behind Hennessy is checking out the baseball scores.
These are the folks that could not get the budget out by Oct. 1,.... Seriously!
With thanks for the forward of this photo to me by my reader, M. Morris.
If the attendance at this week's AdTech conference at the Javits Center is an indicator of the resilience and staying power of the ad business, it's full speed ahead!
Attendance at the three day event surpassed 9300, rising to almost record levels. There was no lack of exhibitors either; over 250 of them commanding eleven full aisles packed with attendees.
Sixty six breakout sessions and no less than seven keynotes filled three days with a variety of content.
Both attendees and exhibitors preferred the Javits Center to a more central hotel location. The tone was positive and upbeat for a recovering economy and I saw little room for improvement ... with the exception of the boxed lunches for the full conference delegates.
No less noticeable, Casale Media and a newcomer, Elephant Traffic, were the hands down winners for promotional awareness. I was especially impressed with Elephant Traffic's use of a fleet of ten Mini Coopers to provide rides to any point in Manhattan during the event.
A well attended event at New York's Crowne Plaza kicked off with a keynote address by OMG's Digital CEO, Matt Spiegel. Focus of Matt's address and the conference was the audience ... not the one in the room, but the one on the other side of a computer screen surfing the web.
Finding your audience requires three layers of discipline ... the trading platform, the technology on top of the platform that automates, educates and learns, and the data .... "the currency that matters". Matt's takeaway was to stop selling reach ... sell audience.
His "E-Platform" : To Evangelize, Educate, Embrace and Enjoy the Ride.
One of the livelier panels focusing on the audience chase was moderated by Mediapost's Editor-in-Chief, Joe Mandese. Challenging his panel of agency contenders, Joe charted a course to find the reality under the hype for On Demand platforms.
Are they chasing their own tails to provide similar service offerings with no point of difference? The general consensus was that they are still very early to the game with a long way to go before they have an impact as agency players.
Who are the technology players? There are many (unmentioned by the agencies) to include Invite, Turn, Collective, Media Math, and X Plus One among others that, for the most part, drive the ad agency platforms.
Yet another panel moderated by Alan Chapell, President, Chapell & Associates questioned the efficacy of trading platforms and their ability to trump effectiveness defined by engagement and results.
The jury is still out.
Joe Mandese, Mediapost
Why am I constantly bombarded with disclaimers for drugs that only a physician can prescribe .... and would it not be his responsibility to disclose possible side effects?
The drug companies are not to blame. The Food and Drug Administration maintains oversight of required disclaimers. It's about time that the FDA review its policy to keep the public "informed" when it's the physician's responsibility to review and discuss side effects and contraindications with a patient.
If the FDA wants to police disclaimers and educate the public, it should centralize information distribution with a simple toll free number for consumer access. We would then be free from the drone of visual, audio and mouse-type magazine and newspaper disclaimers that clutter our senses.
This link from the FDA to Sanofi-Aventis is typical of the bureaucratic hoops the drug companies need to jump through to satisfy a government body that seeks to "inform and confuse" rather than focus on the problem at the physician level.
Here's a nostalgic trip back to Trick or Treating when chaperoning your kids wasn't altogether necessary.
Elizabeth Warren, quoted above, serves as the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP. Shocking? You bet. And she eloquently elaborates on the greed and devious practices, albeit legal, that the financial community is lobbying to preserve.
The link to the clip here is worth watching.... Michael Moore interviews Elizabeth Warren.
If you agency happens to be among those that cater to these financial hogs, think twice. Is advertising helping or hurting? Your conscience rules.
It just might be time for this country to return to the morals in the 1946 film, It's A Wonderful Life.
Over a new quantum version of the Internet now being developed, search engines could return queries to users .... and with the assurance that no one has copies of the data.
A new kind of memory storage, required by quantum searches, is already being demonstrated in the laboratory.
The development of a quantum Internet is a new wake up call that will, in five to ten years, turn data providers, aggregators and behavioral marketers on their ears.
As the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room, Google stands to be most affected by these developments and will likely turn to a tiered business model that will require paid search, by the searcher, for it to remain profitable.
Free "search and surf" may continue to thrive for some time next to a paid model but it is only a matter of time before the use of the Internet will begin to mirror that of cable .... free search for those that are not concerned about privacy and paid search for those that want to maintain privacy.
It's my opinion that privacy will eventually trump free "search and surf".
How all this will affect the future of our business remains to be seen. Quantum technology requires the use of quantum computers which are yet to be developed and a new type of data storage (quantum RAM).
For a more technical overview of quantum Internet initiatives and data collection, read the article in the October 2009 edition of Scientific American.
Back in 1980, on the Myrtle Avenue station stop of the New York City subway, Bill Brand installed 228 hand painted panels viewed through a series of vertical slits. As the train passed through the station, the series appeared as moving art.
The piece works on the principal of a Zoetrope, a 19th century optical toy. The installation was recently restored and can be viewed from the "B" and "Q" trains from Dekalb Avenue bound for Manhattan.
Today, Out Of Home marketers are exploiting the concept for "ads in motion".
A New York City inventor proposed to mount a continuous band of pictures from one side of the subway station to the other and have them illuminated by lamps placed behind them. The installation never happened but the seed was planted for Bill Brand to bring it to full bloom eighty years later.
As we dash madly through our lives trying to keep up with technological advances, it's reassuring to know that we can often find our future in our past.
Creators of the application (they also developed Google Maps) believe "e-mail is a computer version of snail mail. Wave will be something new, a real-time communication system designed specifically for today's faster-paced, multitasking Internet, he said."
100,000 testers will, over time, address bugs in the platform before general release to the public.
Are we moving too quickly? Do we really need to weave these communication platforms together? It's a neat little trick if Google can pull it off, but I believe only die hard techies will appreciate its development.
It took the developers almost two hours to explain the platform in a video. TWO HOURS.
And it's really only an elaborate form of e-mail with all the bells and whistles attached.
The general user rarely scratches the surface of the power and depth of even our most common programs...Excel and Word. TWO HOURS!?
I have no doubt that the crashing WAVE will reach a level of success For now, keep those emails coming.
The latest influx of funds for Twitter has now vaulted the value of the company by Wall Street analysts to $1 Billion. One hundred million in new funds flowed into the company from investor groups including T. Rowe Price and Insight Venture Partners, buying the company "more time to figure out its business model". Ha! Will Wall Street ever learn?
Insanity driven by greed.
And we are now beginning to realize how quickly this platform is losing its luster.
This from a celebrity supermodel who twittered her fan base several times an hour...."sorry twitter but this is my very last tweet ... we had some good times and bad but now our relationship is over ... " Sessilee Lopez.
It's time to relax.
We are fortunate enough to be living during a period of exponential technological growth .... often outstripping our ability as humans to cope with disruptive episodes. And while these tears in the fabric of our technology are quickly repaired, we often find ourselves frantic over the disconnect.
Our new methods of communication, while they appear in a heavenly cloud form, are nonetheless driven by machines vulnerable to a host of negative forces. Nature, the force of cyber attacks, sun spots and the chaos that they can precipitate will never go away.
When, not if, the plug is pulled, take a few hours or even the day to recharge and slow down. Earlier this month, the social media guide website Mashable suggested five things to do when Google goes down.
Here are five more ....
Find a library and reacquaint yourself with books .... NOT of the Kindle variety. Buy a newspaper, find a bench and read it.
Write something. Begin with a letter to a friend or a thank you note for a recent client exchange.
Take a survey and a break from your desk. Hit the streets, stop people at random and ask if they Twitter. You might be surprised at the results.
Go shopping for that cashmere sweater you spotted on sale.
Hit a coffee shop or a Starbucks and pick up the tab for the person in line behind you ... start a conversation.
Or...you can sit in front of your screen for the next few hours hitting the F5 key hoping for something to happen. Just remember, it's not Google's fault that you don't have a back-up strategy in place.
As we come mid-way through Advertising Week in New York, two of the highest attended events vie for attention. Both Mediapost's OMMA and IAB's MIXX venues are separated by just three city blocks and the focus of both are the future of our industry and the data that will drive us there.
If content is king then both events deserve to be crowned. Content at OMMA was both engaging and informative, with non-stop sessions around the clock.
Bant Breen (RIGHT & ON SCREEN),
President, Digital, Initiative Media
While the exhibit halls at both were a bit sparse, content and the quality of the attendees more than made up for the difference.
Brian Decker (LEFT), Managing
There is, however, room for improvement. These events need to collectively bring together younger members of our industry. Planners were few and far between, likely strapped to their desks back at their offices while senior members of the team were networking.
One of the OMMA All-Stars, Colleen DeCourcey, Chief Digital Officer at TBWA challenged her audience to help bring and keep young people into the fold and to "stop doing old things in new places" ... Bravo Colleen.
Overall, an impressive display in a down and hurting economy. With more events over the next few days, Times Square will be buzzing with media stars of all varieties.
But BT is,for the most part, anything but precise. BT suggests surfing performed on the web appended with purchase behavior will, when driven by an algorithm, effectively place the PC (not person) it tracks in a demographic bucket.
Unfortunately, many non look-alikes will also be placed in that demographic bucket by proxy. WHY? Because BT is based on assumptions.
BT marketing efforts are often focused on retargeting .... reaching those consumers that visited a site, then abandoned the site. Up until now, all retargeting efforts focused on banner ads reaching those anonymous visitors. Very often, that strategy reaches exisitng customers as well .... resulting in advertising waste....or worse, sending the wrong message.
Today, and far into the future the business will be about data. Data that performs more effectively than cookie based tracking. Data that will be collected and refined with the transparency that consumers demand and deserve. Data that will be more stable and reliable. Data that will move beyond the banner into hyper-targeted e-mail, postal mail and personalized TV spots which will, in turn, drive up ROI.
There are one or two organizations crafting models that will make today's BT performance seem like two tin cans and a string compared to the iPhone.
Interested in more details? Drop me a note for more input.
Her debut album "I Dreamed A Dream" will have its worldwide release on November 23, 2009.
What follows below is a cut from the album .... a stunning rendition of "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones.
Enjoy the preview ....