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IN PERSPECTIVE: Fairy tales for execs

Sun, 08/31/2008 - 8:20pm
Brian Santo, Editor

Hirelings can spend money on TV ads and justify their actions, or they can spend money
on the Web and hand their bosses spreadsheets filled with precise click counts.

Most industries must sell products to customers – end of story. TV has to pull off a two-step few other industries must match; it has to sell one set of customers (viewers) a product (entertainment), and then it has to sell the first set of Brian Santocustomers (viewers) to a completely different set of customers (advertisers).

Advertisers want to know precisely who those viewers are, but attempts to ascertain that information produces notoriously imprecise results. Certifying that those people (whoever they are) are in fact watching – rather than, say, fetching a bag of Funyuns from the kitchen – is not possible.

But today’s executives want results, by gum. Their nervous hirelings have a choice: they can spend money on TV ads and justify their actions with polling and extrapolation, or they can spend money on the Web and hand their bosses spreadsheets filled with precise click counts.

But there is mounting evidence that Web-based advertising in the consumer market is ineffective beyond search-related ads, which make money mostly for the company providing the search engine. Otherwise, consumer Web ad response is dismal. Web publishers are flailing for effective ad vehicles. The ad market is still up for grabs.

Pay TV services can’t afford to merely emulate the Web, because there’s mounting evidence that what the Web is offering today is ultimately inadequate. Pay TV has to do much, much better, and if you read Mike Robuck’s story, “Wanting to be just like the Web” (page 14), you’ll get a glimpse of how cable is preparing to do just that.

Canoe Ventures, relying on EBIF and tru2way technology, is preparing to deliver the appropriate ads to a precisely targeted audience. The best of these ads are likely to invite interaction, which will prove a viewer is watching and is engaged.

That’s the way I see it. What’s your opinion?

brian.santo@advantagemedia.com

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