Are Networks Signaling The End Of Commercial Advertising As We Know It

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  • December 11, 2012

Sorry about the horrible video above, but I had to move quickly. No time to set up the DSLR & the tripod. Had to stop eating dinner, do a quick smartphone shoot and some quick editing. My message is more important than my production in this instance.

Why? Because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on FoxNews. Forget the political B.S. This could be huge. I think I just witnesses the first network to actually direct their audience to DVR their programs for time shifted viewing later. Think about that. A television network, which relies upon commercial advertising for revenue, just told their audience to DVR their programming.

Now you know why I had to jump quickly and make the video. No one would have believed me if I didn’t have video proof. I bet some of you watched the video above and STILL don’t believe it.

So what does this mean? Well, two things. It means that the audience will more than likely fast forward past any commercials in the programs that they record, and more importantly, showrunners, networks and brands will be forced to integrate messaging into the actual programs. I’m not talking simple hashtags and overlays. But rather true #socialtv wherein the audience becomes a part of the show and the marketing message.

As stated in a recent article over on MediaPost’s TV Blog. Special care needs to be exercised not to compromise the integrity of the programming or annoy the audience.

And, if the promotions are done appealingly – and kept brief — frustration might be minimal. LeBron James popping up and quickly swallowing a few fries could be funny. And, there is no sound. (The promotions may be more palatable to viewers than product placement because viewers may appreciate that there is no veiled tactic .)

Turning the screen into something resembling a NASCAR vehicle would of course be a problem, but a banner or motion graphics every half hour might be an acceptable amount to a viewer. Of course, once new ad space is made available, it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle and a slippery slope might emerge as far as what else within a show could be for sale.

Now is the time for innovation and ideation by all of the parties concerned. Now is the time for the true evolution from Brandtailing to Socialtailing. I think the showrunners and the nets are up for it. I think the brands would love to find a way to reach an audience that WANTS to hear their message and if they can touch consumers who want to be a part of a commercial message, then all the better.

However, here’s where the wheels may fall off. We need to see ad agencies embrace social television. We need to see ad agencies promote social television and it’s merits as a serious advertising platform to its clients. But that may be a very tall order to fill.

There’s an agency out there somewhere that will “get it”. And when they do, they will capture a large share of this burgeoning niche. Who will it be? It’s anyone’s guess.

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About Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Helping brands & sports teams become the media. Making consumers happy one innovative campaign at a time. #socialtv Click to join Barry Cunningham on Google+ Google

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