CIQ Headlines for March 14, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Viacom Sues Google over YouTube–(NYT) Asking for more that $1 billion in damages, the Viacom suit states that clips of its copyrighted content from the Simpsons to Jon Stewart have been viewed on YouTube more than 5 billion times. CIQ: Google continues to say that it is investigating filtering technology. While legal experts are “split,” it’s hard to imagine how this will turn out different from Napster unless Google & media companies take steps to work together.

Lack of Talent Slows Digital Revolution–(WSJ) A talent dearth is the single biggest problem facing Madison Avenue, says Rick Boyko, former creative head at Ogilvy and now university professor. He says the ad industry used to invest in educating itself– an era that is over. CIQ: We have to ask, if you were a young person, sparkling with drive and creativity, would you head to a traditional agency these days instead of, say, Google?

Ads Off the Rack–(Media Post) Spotzer is the newest entrant into a category that includes Pick-N-Click Ads, SpotRunner, and Cheap TV Spots. The idea is to provide a library of customizable, rentable B-roll. Fees come from both rental income and media placement. You can upload your own voice over. CIQ: Agencies may lose a significant part of the mid-market to this kind of action. These videos can be rented for under $1000. The next people to beware are studios.

CIQ Headlines for March 13, 2007

CIQ Headlines

All Human Knowledge, But Not Really–(NYT) Libraries have digitized huge amounts of their collections– rare books, letters, images– because the new generation of researchers prefers, even expects, to be able to research online. But, there is simply not enough money to pay for everything to be scanned, with the result that, “entire swaths of political and cultural history are in danger of being forgotten by new generations of amateur researchers and serious scholars.” CIQ: True research still has to be done the old-fashioned way, with a visit to the stacks.

Former Disney CEO to Launch Web Shorts–(Media Post) Eisner is backing Vuguru, a production company that will produce 80 episodes of 90 seconds each entitled Prom Queen. CIQ: We believe this kind of scripted, serialized short content in video, audio and text will emerge as a popular new form.

iVillage Languishing at NBC–(AdAge) The web property was to be the star of the new digital strategy at NBC. But traffic is stagnant and there has been little effort to upgrade the community elements of the site. CIQ: Old media companies can’t just buy it. They need to get it.


I Am Consumer. Hear Me Roar.

CIQ Headlines

We’ve heard coming for years. First we discerned the slow crack as media began to fracture into countless shards. Then, there was the Perot-esque sucking sound of consumers leaving traditional media for digital. Next, a hiss like air being let out of a balloon, as the incomparably measurable digital medium showed advertisers their ROI, and and the ad-dollar bloat began to deflate. Finally, the disorganized cacaphony of content producers (reality TV) and advertisers (Boston ad stunt) trying to hold their ground.

Then, there was the warning bark of the consumer: No more calls at dinner time (do not call legislation)! No more commercials (Tivo)! And now, No more junk mail (today’s news with a dozen states preparing do not mail legislation)!

Content producers and advertisers had better cock an ear to the distance, because the sound is getting louder. We need to heed, above all, the golden rule of media. Serve content and advertising unto consumers as you would like it served unto yourself. Consumers are not greedy visigoths. They are human. They know that content costs money. Present them with a choice and a value proposition, and they will pay.

It a simple formula: Ad-free content costs $X. Ad-sponsored content is free. We won’t shove ads down your throat, into your mailbox, over your phone, inundate your inbox. Instead, we will offer you the choice of your ads. Like cars? Like cosmetics? You got it. Don’t like any of it, you can pay to be free.

There’s an old phrase in retail, “Live by price, die by price.” It’s been shown again and again that consumers are interested in more than just price, including “free.” Take the last Harry Potter movie. $400 million at the box office. And everyone knew 120 days later, it would be on sale. But they went anyway. Take convenience stores– a category created single-handedly by supermarkets who put the milk in the back. People will pay more for a gallon of milk if it is just convenient.

For advertisers and content producers, the maxim has transformed: Live like pests, die like pests. The peskier and more persistent we become, the more consumers will swat at us like flies. Consumers are forming a powerful herd. Put your ear to the ground and you can hear the rumble. It’s time to listen, or be run over.  

CIQ Headlines for March 12, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Amidst Cacaphony of Naysayers, Apple TV Debuts–(Wired) In this article, the detractors line up deterents to Apple TV, which may hit stores this week: You still need a set-top box. Consumers must hook it up themselves. Downloading shows from iTunes doesn’t offer hi-def. Others have tried it. CIQ: It looks cool. It’s from Apple. Their hallmark is making setup easy for the consumer. They own the hardware and the distribution channel. Any questions?

Do Not Call, Or Mail Either–(Ad Age) A dozen states are queuing up legislation to enact “do not mail” lists similar to the do-not-call lists. CIQ: (1) This will be a boon to email, where the practice of gaining permission has history and is becoming ingrained in the way marketers do business. (2) The tide against unwanted advertising is rising. It calls for us to develop new methods of content delivery and advertising that people accept. See today’s article.

Agency Goes Direct to Web TV— (Media Post) In a move that seems to skip over production companies and studios, talent Agency William Morris has struck a deal with tech company Narrowstep with the intention of programming television channels for the internet. CIQ: In the area of video, audio and text, agencies have access to the source of content. As publishers (studios, book publishers, record labels) fall farther and farther behind in the tech revolution, and with the Internet providing a nearly ubiquitous delivery channel, they risk agencies partnering with content producers to leave them out altogether.

Jaded on Email? Get Over It

CIQ Headlines

Slammed by SPAM and locked-down email clients, email open rates have been declining for years. And many marketers have been turning against email as sexier technologies like MySpace and YouTube get all the ink.

I just returned from speaking at the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit, where I am happy to report, email is alive and well.

  •  Most marketers say that emailing to their house lists is the #1 most effective marketing tool.
  • CPG marketer Vitabath successfully used email to launch online sales and grow them 500% in one year.
  • CPG marketer Nutra Made has an email list 2 million strong that drives measurable traffic into their retailers.
  • Publishers report real data on the utility of email in driving traffic to ad-supported sites.

Too many of us remember vividly when email regularly got 70% open rates. We react like spoiled children to our 15-20% open rates and 5% conversion rates. We also remember– those of us who were emailing our readers/customers 7 years ago– when our email landed in the inbox surrounded by no other newsletters. Now we despair over clutter in the inbox. I think we all need to calm down and recognize that email is effective and it’s here to stay. Walking the tradeshow floor at the Sherpa Summit, I saw half a dozen companies whose sole mission in life is to decrease SPAM by certifying email. And there were another half a dozen dedicated to increasing deliverability. The CIQ conclusing: Email is a #1 tool for marketers and #1 platform for publishers.