The signs of the holidays are all around us: my teenagers have started listening to the local holiday music station, people are bundling up in anticipation of the snow that will soon be upon us, and theWall Street Journal is reporting on the expected sales of TVs at WalMart this Black Friday.
Aside from the economy, I'm following holiday shopping results because of the humble little devices we call connected TVs. CES 2009 featured many a promise from major TV makers – they assured us that connected TVs were finally ready to rock. Based on that, we estimated that a million of these TVs would be in US homes by the end of the year. In fact, if all the promises were kept, these million would be an easy sell because they would have fancy widget experiences just like the iPhone. Plus, we were assured the technology would get better every day so that accessing Internet content on the TV would feel as natural as switching from Dancing with the Stars to House (an activity I encourage).
This is not the time to go into my disappointment at the failure of some of those TVs to even arrive, much less the less-than-iPhone-like widget experiences they have delivered so far. Instead, in the spirit of technology denial, I’d rather focus on the fact that even if these TVs could do everything we hoped, somebody still has to sell them at retail. No, I'm not concerned we won't hit the million mark. Instead, I'm concerned that we'll have a million or more out there, but that fewer than 40% of them will actually connect to the Internet.
Allow me to add my voice to the chorus of those applauding the fall of the Berlin wall twenty years ago this month. It was this event that taught me firsthand why revolution is simultaneously impossible as well as inevitable. In 1986 I sat with other students from around the globe just blocks from the wall and debated whether it would ever come down. The naïve among us insisted freedom was imperative: It was inevitable. The others asked if we had stopped to think about the massive relocation of people, economic resources, and government structures that such a revolution would require: It was impossible.
Until it happened, just three years later.
The author, pictured left, photographed in front of the Brandenburg
Gate from what was then the East German side
Just this Monday Sarah Palin told Oprah she was "the queen of talk shows." Which might mean there's no better time to abdicate the throne than when you're clearly on top (and when the #2 talk show, Dr. Phil is produced by you).
But Oprah didn't just announce that when she wraps her 25th season in 2011 she will wrap the show for good. No, she announced that she would also begin the next chapter in her mega-successful life: she's going to move to cable. Her cable network, titled OWN, for Oprah Winfrey Network, was actually announced some time ago, so while that's not news, the fact that Ms. Winfrey is moving away from daytime television's most-watched show to build a fledgling cable network is an eyebrow-raiser.
Because cable TV is no safe haven away from the woes of broadcasters.
Audiences are fragmenting, cable TV is having a harder and harder time maintaining viewers in the face of the DVR and Hulu one-two punch. In fact, OWN was supposed to be up and running this winter but was postponed because of the challenging advertiser climate. It's a climate that's not going to get dramatically better even if our economy continues to improve. That's because advertisers have many alternatives for their advertising dollars, including the Internet, where more and more spending is shifting every day, reaching nearly $26 billion this year (see our July 2009 Interactive Marketing Forecast report for more detail).
Yesterday afternoon at our London-based Marketing Forum for EMEA, I was able to witness the first live performance by Lisa Bradner (@lisabradner), unveiling the story behind her latest report, "Adaptive Brand Marketing" which highlights how the brand management function of yore needs to change in the face of the growing complexities brought on by new communications channels to, and from, the consumer. These challenges are both digital and global challenges, as are the solutions.
Here are some highlights from Lisa's presentation:
At Forrester's EMEA Forum where David Cooperstein is presenting five things marketers can do to fight the recession. David shares that Europeans remain pessimitstic about their financial future--although younger Europeans show more optimism than older ones. So, marketers still face trying to figure out if things have stabililized, if they're likely to get worse or if we truly are on an upswing that will lead consumers back.
David cites five things successful marketers are doing to survive the recession: According to David smart marketers:
1)Spend to align consumer interaction. At the height of the recession ING Bank invested 15 months.,more than five million Euros and the time of 50 employees to integrate the ING and PostBank brands. They invested in channel syncronization & personalization in an effort that grew revenue, cut direct amail expenditures and sped up campaign cycle times from 26 weeks to 4 weeks.
2) Change the game by changing the offer. Hyundai auto offers its customers 3 months worth of car payments if they lose their job after purchasing a new auto.
Google remains consumers' favorite online brand, with Yahoo! and Amazon
not far behind. In the minds of their fans, the top online brands
exhibit very traditional attributes such as trustworthiness,
helpfulness, and relevance, all at the expense of more-predictable
tech-friendly characteristics such as innovation and speed.
We’re in the process of pondering a very important question
in the industry today: what is the future of agencies? Agencies have played
such a crucial role in helping companies market their products and services for
more than a century. Names like McCann Erickson, Young & Rubicam, J. Walter
Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather, and Saatchi & Saatchi (among others) are practically
household names. There’s even a massively popular and critically acclaimed
television show capturing life in the golden age of legendary agencies on
I'm hosting a panel on Millennials and TV at the Future of Television Conference later this week. I'm sure we'll talk about social media. And you might be surprised to see that one segment of the Millennial generation - today's teens - are perhaps more brand-loyal than you think. They just like to try new things more than adults do, and they depend on friends' advice more.
From a Forrester report (behind the paywall) on teen coolhunting:
According to Ad Age's math, if Comcast buys NBC Universal, Comcast's advertising revenues would go from 7% of its total take to over 20%. Most of the potential synergies described in the piece could be done via thoughtful deals rather than by acquisition, and plenty of pundits don't like the potential combo. But think about how that increased importance of advertising might affect Comcast, and the industry.