Top Myths of Digital Video and Emerging Media

In this blog I intend to address some myths that drive popular culture regarding emerging media and advertising.  Let’s begin with a myth that provides an introduction.

Myth #1:  The Sky is Falling and Other Headlines

We have been hit with doomsday headlines and companies have spent barrels of money preparing for something that will not happen or certainly will not happen to the extent or as quickly as proclaimed.  An excellent example of this is an article with the headline “How Will TV Survive Its Own Reality Show? gave dire warnings about the demise of the television business model in saying “It also means that prime time will certainly evaporate, so that new revenue models will come to replace the traditional 30-second spot ad as the lifeblood of the industry.”  So far almost 9 years later the results are far removed from the hyper predictions.

Here are some reasons that this continues to occur.

  1. Controversial headlines sell – they generate clicks, conversation, and sell subscriptions.  Increased visibility leads to increased market share, which creates a strong incentive for promoting controversy rather than measured reporting.
  2. “Research firms” – which are different from marketing research firms – repeat what  engineers in the industry tell them including their forecasts for a new product and their revenue wishes.  If these firms collect enough data points from believers in the industry, their published reports and presentations essentially become tools for selling this information to companies who want to adapt or be in front of the curve.  This is a valuable resource because it allows them to know what is coming, but frequently the timing is far off and some elements may never be adopted at all.  We will cover some specific examples of this in our upcoming blog “Myths.”
  3. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.  Surveys can be fun but are often misleading. It isn’t easy to find the appropriate people to ask questions that will represent all or typical consumers rather than interested visitors where the survey is hosted.  It is also a challenge to demonstrate the idea cleanly, and ask the questions in an objective way and order.  With the ease of collecting data, the quality of the research and data points can suffer without a more deliberate approach to sampling.
  4. Advertising rate negotiations are difficult with billions of dollars on the line.  Each year the buyer and seller determine their own audience estimates for the future and argue over the rates to be paid for a huge portion of their annual advertising budgets in the upfront.  In preparation, both sides speculate and build solid perspectives about what will impact the audience and about the effectiveness of the advertising and the audience for next year’s television lineup.  The more momentum and systemic the trend, the greater the impact on prices.  So, in the spring, the trade and consumer press becomes saturated with stories about the reasons that prime time advertising and television will suffer that accompany stories about the next great series and new advertising formats.

If we believed everything we read, we would currently be ordering our pizzas using a remote control, there would be no more :30 or :60 advertisements, and consumers would be watching less television and cancelling their cable subscriptions.  Short of one specific kids programming example where licensing to Netflix corresponds to the linear ratings decline, one is not replacing the other today.

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