CIQ Headlines for January 24, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Can Online Save Print— (Editor & Publisher) One of the most important articles we’ve seen recently. The problem for traditional print: An online customer brings in $5-10 in revenue. A traditional print reader brings in $1000. Online’s efficiency plus years of bloat in print ad dollars are adding up to a witch’s brew where no one is the winner.

Politicians Circumvent Big Media— (Boston Globe) Everyone in commerce loves a bottleneck. Take a wedding– you have to spend money in a short amount of time with a deadline. For media, elections are like a wedding, bringing big windfalls. Will online video take some of the gravy away from the networks. A Boston Globe columnist says, “Circumvention by tech-savvy politicians is one of many ongoing predicaments that will begin altering big media’s value proposition and economics during the next several years”

Agencies Owning Content?– (Ad Age) Some agencies (Crispin Porter) are moving away from a clock-punching model. And to the extent that they create content, they want to share in the ownership.

CIQ Headlines for January 23, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Big Agency Makes Seemingly Reluctant Digital Investment–(Financial Times) Publicis is nearing the completion of its Digitas acquisition. Yet, Maurice Levy, Publicis chief is quoted saying, “Due to the sheer number of people going through Google or Yahoo every day, they are having to take an almost mathematical approach to advertising. That is great for them, but what you lose is the human touch.” The agency, FT notes, may have a hard time getting the kind of margins on web as they do on print and TV. Our CIQ viewpoint: So sorry boys; the times they are a-changing.

New Chief for Conde Net Teen Site— (Media Post) CondeNet’s new teen site for girls, Flip, has a named a chief. The 20-year print veteran will head the new social networking site. CIQ’s take: Conde Net is right to dive into this space, trying to make it both authentic to teens and worthwhile to advertisers. But make sure you have someone who understands digital first. If that part doesn’t work, it won’t matter if advertisers are happy.

VC Investment Hit $25B in US in 2006— (FT, registration required) Consumer internet was one of thet top categories. Also covered in the Financial Times: European investment in internet startups is up. CIQ perspective: Let’s get it right this time. In 2000 and 2001 we hated to see great content ventures, which otherwise might have had a future, go under because the funding was pulled.

Needed in UGC: Mary Poppins

CIQ Trends

“Thank God,” we all feel when she sails into the lives of Jane & Michael Banks. We’ve just witnessed the torturing of their last nanny and the Banks’ lives are in utter chaos. Dad is disengaged. Mom is off at a suffragette rally. And the kids are left to their own devices. See what happens with too much unstructured play.

In his wonderful article today, Alan Schulman talks about the perils of agencies trying to work with clients on the topic of user generated content. He says clients want to avail themselves of the latest and hottest. Agencies don’t want two up-and-coming film students to lure away busines with promices of YouTube success. But, on the other hand, the agency risks rushing into a space that the client doesn’t understand, doesn’t work with the client’s brand, and so forth. Nothing falls so flat as a campaign that tries to force virality.

“The trend is consumer as creator, not consumer as creative director,” Schulman says. Consumers want to participate, but both brands and content producers need to provide the magic of Mary Poppins. Give consumers a framework: a magical and emotionally engaging experience where their contributions make sense. Structure, “spit spot” and “spoonfulls of sugar.” Otherwise, all those content producers are just like kids on a playground. It may be fun. A way to blow off steam. But it’s not quality content generation that will endure for its entertainment value or benefit brands.

CIQ Headlines for January 22, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Comcast Emphasizes the Importance of Free Content–(NYT, free with registration) Once given up for dead, Comcast’s stock rose 60% last year. Their strategy involves giving content away for free and then converting happy customers to paid services. Our CIQ thoughts: Too many content providers fear “giving away content.” Comcast is another company that suggests the power of free content.

Social Networking Fad (NYT, free with registration) Big media has a “crush” on social networking and UCG, this article asserts. The internet space has an unfortunate gold-rush aspect, in our opinion. Things heat up too fast, then unable to sustain all the hype, they crash. Can’t a nice idea be a nice idea, not the next Google? How about just solid quality content that people enjoy?

And How to Sell it to Clients— (MediaPost) Along the same line of thinking, this writer notes, “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t” promote UCG and Social Networking to clients. Clients want what’s hot, AND they want it to work. That’s the rub. See today’s article.

CIQ Headlines for January 19, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Feel the M&M; Be the M&M–(USA Today) Marketers are trying viral tactics like an online tool that lets users superimpose their image on an M&M and send it to friends. Also, through CareerBuilder, you can take your picture, age it 50 years and send to a freind. The CIQ phenomenon: A closer melding of content/entertainment creation with advertising.

Get Over Yourself–(CNN Money) “You” were the time magazine person of the year. This article discusses the trouble with monetizing user-generated content. It misses one important CIQ point: In our view, YouTube and MySpace are about the democratizing of content, taking the creation of content out of the hands of a powerful few. But they are not end points in themselves. We believe that new forms will emerge from this, capable of carrying ads and making money in a more long-tail way. Pays Off for AOL— (Financial Times) Hardly noticed when it happpened, the AOL acquisition of in 2004 was a great decision, and now drives much of the growth at AOL. The CIQ angle: is an ad network that buys inventory on “long tail” niche sites, bundles it, and sells it to advertisers.