Last week at the Marketing Forum, Forrester COO Charles Rutstein challenged a couple of us media & marketing analysts to answer the question, What happens when online CPMs get so close to zero that they make ad-supported businesses unsustainable? He drew scary charts on a napkin.
Nielsen buzz monitor Pete Blackshaw's column in AdAge suggests the future of marketing is marketing to marketers. He uses Twitter as the prime example. I'm skeptical. A lot of Blackshaw's argument rests on the online social talking-to-each-other and linking dynamic that results in boosted organic search rankings. He calls colleague Jeremiah Owyang a de facto media channel with "buzz reach that would make most media planners salivate." But he also notes that "we end up interpreting the very buzz we created or fueled ourselves." Amen.
Last night, colleague Nate Elliott tweeted about a cool Apple rich media ad on ESPN's home page. That inspired me to take a quick morning tour around major media sites, to see what everyone's doing. The unscientific homepage summary below shows who's doing branding deals, and gives some hints at how tough things are for different segments. Sports site are rockin'. Traditional news media and portals at least have fixed-placement sponsors that own the page for the day. CBS seems to be doing something interesting.