Changing the Model and Slaying the Nay Sayers

Its no secret-just look at the publications closing the media jobs that have been lost-that for years, probably decades the business model for big media and ad-supported business has been upside down. But while the model was unsustainable, during the boom of the 90’s and into the early part of 2000 (with some very short points of exception) there was very little reason to change the model–it was working.

Then came the great recession, depression, downturn, economic screwing or any other term that you like of 2008-2009 and likely into 2010.  Low and behold, the upside down business model doesn’t work and now venerable institution (read Rocky Mountain News for instance) are gone, others (read NY Times) are teetering and others (read Young Broadcasting) are fighting for survival.

With that background I read with great interest in this morning’s NY Times an article about a company I have worked for twice, Cablevision Systems, and its long talked about concept of targeting ads by demographics–making the commercial you see while watching TV more valuable and increasing the CPM.

Its so simple and straight forward, that of course there are nay sayers–those who are concerned that there will be backward engineering and abuse of the data.  Guess what, the data is out there.  This is not abuse, this is use.

Cable companies through digital offerings and bundling with ISP, VOIP and other products have a mountain of data on their customers. Wouldn’t TV be more compelling if instead of seeing a commercial for Depends (not quite my demographic) I was served a commercial about the next great family vacation resort so I can plan my next family vacation with my girls–and not take a peek into what may lay ahead for me in 40 years?

Doesn’t that increase the value to the advertiser?

This is a great leap forward for the media business.  For what I do at CBS–targeting ads by demographic and by location is the holy grail for just that reason–we want to make the experience holistic and meaningful to the end user. And its not altruistic, its about doing good business–and providing a robust platform for our advertisers and making sure we are engaging our audience with our sponsors.

This is how media will save itself.

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One Response to “Changing the Model and Slaying the Nay Sayers”

  1. Seth Simonds Says:

    I like that you bring up the power of the bundled media packages. They pretty much know EVERYTHING about your media habits with only a month or so of data.

    I suppose a lot of people just don’t realize that showing people things they probably want to buy isn’t some giant evil scheme to force things onto innocent customers. They’re doing you a disservice by showing you depends when you’d actually be interested in the vacation package.

    I’m glad some are moving forward. Yes!

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