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TV is back, baby.

There’s a big media conference in NYC this week and attendees and reporters are surprised to learn that TV viewership is growing. One conference attendee said:

 “TV is, by estimates, still gaining share of the overall advertising market, to 40.7% in 2010, from 37 % in 2005.”

 Another chimed in, “TV will be adding about half of all growth next year.”

 The web ad market is growing for shizzle, but the 30 second spot is not dead (Joseph Jaffe).  In fact, the Super Bowl is kind of off the charts. Another conference attendee suggested TV is growing because of the need for viewers to have something to Tweet about or post on their Facebook pages. Yah think?

 The fact is, TV programming is just getting better. The networks are working harder for our eyeballs. The Emmy bookcases at CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX are not growing as they once did thanks to cable properties such as Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Chelsea Handler, Men of a Certain Age, etc. The big networks are beginning to pay attention — feeling the fire. As Eddie Vedder might say “It’s evolution baby.”  Weed out the weak genes in favor of the strong.  Won’t be long now and reality TV will start to secede from the union. Peace!

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Here’s how retail works.  You build, lease or buy a store, fill it with stuff, promote it and people come and buy its wares.  Or they don’t.

Here’s how TV works.  You build, lease or buy a program, fill it with entertaining or informational stuff, promote it and people come. Or they don’t.

Here’s how the web works. You build, lease or buy a site, fill it with stuff, promote it and people come and buy its wares…if you happen to be selling anything.  Sometimes the web is used to help people decide if they want to buy your stuff, because it’s sold elsewhere.  And other times the web is about entertaining visitors encouraging them to come back so ad revenue allows the site owner to buy stuff.  And sometimes still, a website is created to just simply to impart knowledge, altruism and community. 

That’s the thing about the web — visitors don’t always know if they are on a site to be sold, entertained or informed. Sometimes the builders of websites don’t seem to know either.  And when that happens the sites tend to provide a little bit of each.  And a little bit of each often leads to a lot of none. Fruit cocktail. Tricky stuff.  Focus is your friend.

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paste brush

On the Web everybody has the opportunity to be a spokesperson.  It’s how you use this fact that determines a marketing program’s efficacy. 

What’s the Idea? readers know that unlike Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, who in their excellent book Groundswell suggest 6 different social computing profiles (creators, critics, collectors, etc.), I focus on only two: Posters and Pasters.  Posters are spokespeople.  Pasters amplify them.  Posters write about products, services and trends. Pasters share those links.  Posters have followings, influencing people they don’t know. Pasters have link buddies, most of whom they do know.   

Taking advice from someone you know or with credentials you trust is and has long been the key to successful commerce. If that advise is well-crafted and convincing, so much the better. That is why targeting Posters with your social media effort is a business-winning strategy.

Social Media Briefs

Good social media programs target Posters, but are considerate of Pasters. Writing a brief for a social program, my targeting takes account of both. For the Poster the idea has to be salient selling. For the Paster it just has to make them a trusted, fun and/or thoughtful poker (to steal a word from Facebook.)  If the brief can not accomplish both, then don’t force the Paster side of the equation, let it be.

On TV, you can pick your spokespeople. On the web you can’t.  Simplify your brand claim, make the proof points powerful and memorable, and manage it. Don’t poop out an off-strategy message in the hope that consumers will turn into creative directors. Peace!

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The company capturing the imagination of the world in consumer electronics – Apple (sans Computer) — has one hole in its portfolio. TVs.  Close your eyes and imagine what an Apple television would look like sitting in your den, living room, bedroom or kitchen. Its rounded corners. Sleek contours. Flat in a way only Apple does flat. And how about a TV monitor in your conference room with an Apple logo on it?   I can think of a media company, ad agency or two who might be willing to splurge.
 
With Apple’s computer sales spiking, doubling the market growth rate, and new flatter monitors having an impact, it’s only natural that Apple will try to steal some share in televisions. If you can see it, hear it, or digitize it, it is within Apple’s domain. The only question is when?
 

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Size Matters

Can anyone venture a guess as to why television sets are getting bigger? And flatter. And plasmatic (sorry Wendy O).  And surround sounded. Is it because our family rooms are getting bigger and we are sitting farther away from the screens? Is it because boomers are getting older and can’t see and hear as well? Is it because it allows manufacturers to extract larger margins? 
 
Nope. Nope. Nope.
 
It’s because we can now watch Grey’s Anatomy and other TV shows streaming on our computers making “size” and comfort the only real differentiators for TV. Size, I guess, does matter.
 

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