Everyone’s a jumping bean for the rise of mobile in media. The two biggest avatars so far has been the number of hours spent watching videos on the web by internet subscribers and the billion of ad-impressions generated by websites. It’s caught the popular zeitgeist that the web and mobile is the new advertising honey-pot for TV and print’s new revenue stream. Except try selling billions of ad-impressions and they’re only worth ‘pennies a bushel’. On a slow news day what keeps those ‘penny bushels’ up are ‘hot anchorwomen’ and ‘celebrity underwear fails’ – so the setting for the message is literally worth ‘pennies a bushel’ now. Traditional media companies thinking they can invest profits into mobile from traditional distribution channels haven’t been able to offset the costs because the return-for-a-dollar is less than forecasted by business planners.
(I also want to examine the rise of Will Farrell’s company, Funny or Die and College Humor, as those hot ‘content marketing ad agencies’ later on – College Humor as a marketing agency is a target for a bigger fish to take over because it’s good. You can also call them branded content contractors.)
Cord cutting isn’t a big problem after all. The real substance of TV are the networks, which beam their signal over the air free of charge. Specialty cable channels are an extension strategy, to give die-hards ever more than the average consumer could want, hence increasing their viewing hours. TV has approached mobile with much the same model. ‘Canadians watch an average of 5 hours of video on the web’, are die-hards seeking more than the average on a medium that’s supplied by other die-hards. In Canada, 98% of households watch TV and 93% of them have cable, so that only 5% have been cord cutters. All the while online video viewership have risen by 5 hours per person (if you spent 5 more hours reading books, it’s still 5 hours more), so that is a lot more because we’re becoming subject matter experts.
Meanwhile, ‘30% of Canadians listen to radio via non-traditional platforms (computer, television, mobile, tablet)‘ and that is a helluva lot more time because traditional platforms hasn’t declined. 30% more radio time is like 24 hours more I haphazardly guess.
The benefit of listening to radio via mobile platforms are that it is live, fresh and low-bandwidth. It is easy to tune in and tune out, while turned on. It is also ‘hyper local’, a trendy marketing idea about tailoring things for the audience. Radio can charge more for advertising because its product has become better — it hasn’t yet because it’s reaping another type of crop …influence! ‘A campaign is nothing if not on radio’ so radio keeps its throne as a hit maker. Much of the ballyhoo about new media platforms like the web and mobile is about ‘influence making’ – a certain portion of print has attempted to ‘flip’ youthful influence for lower salaries, thinking it can take advantage of the ‘lower production standards’ of new-media at both ends of business operations. ‘Less expensive content’ and more revenue to double their profits. Bandwidth and desktop CPU limits the production standards of new media that even in HD, the production is less than TV. Internet viewers do not add on all sorts of graphical hardware to their desktop that gamers do, such that desktop advancement is geared to video-games not watchers. Like in American Pie, the movie …know that joke about the fuzzy porn? It’s clandestine access to content that have prohibitive economic barriers like $4.99 per movie or a charge on your ‘credit card’.
Print in particular have over-extended itself. There isn’t pathos because the main characters aren’t sympathetically Shakespearean, they’re billionaires. Except …there’s been so many layoffs in the industry that companies are paradoxically top-heavy (by salary) but light weight (by expertise). This imbalance in the leadership in media is leading to band-aid solutions and quick fixes, like ‘cookie cutter’ formulas and less originality that they call ‘risky’ or ‘experimental’. It has a particular social relevance in Canada because ‘Canadian productions’ are ‘risky’ or ‘experimental’ — why not another Dick Wolfe show or a George R. R. Martin short story we can stretch to death? Getting back to print, why not ‘NY Daily Post Toronto’? Except …media isn’t Campbell’s soup …it’s about community and that ‘hyper local’ idea. Only 4% of Canadians watch USA channels because they’re Canadians. And radio’s got it!