Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did Greed Kill the TV Ad Model

A simple enough question as advertising effectiveness on TV has been hurt - by falling ratings, by more fragmentation of TV choices, and because of the DVR. I believe that broadcasters have killed the golden goose of TV by adding more minutes per hour to a show, reducing the time spent inside the show and increasing viewer dissatisfaction with the growing number and length of breaks. As non-programming minutes have grown per hour, viewers have hit their wall and began seeking alternatives. One was the development of the DVR to literally skip over commercials; another, was to keep the pc in the same room as the TV and switch attention during commercial breaks from the show to other interactive applications. I believe if audiences were less bombarded by the number of ads and breaks, the DVR would not have become the necessary tool that it is to stay engaged with TV's content.

Last night, for instance, American Idol was a 2 hour show. Great family entertainment, yet filled with way too many ads. Luckily, I was able to start the show with my DVR and skip those too long breaks. Not good for the advertisers, but more satisfying viewing by me and my family. And yet, I still was able to recall key sponsors integrated into the programming of the show. Branded entertainment can be less invasive when done well and more effective use of dollars.

The same ad problems will happen to the web and VOD advertising as pre-rolls and overlays disrupt the content and cause the viewer to create new remedies to avoid them as well. A short form video can't have a :30 pre-roll each time. The viewer will disengage quickly from multiple views. Overlays remind me of snipes on the bottom of today's tv network programs, but at least they seem to be able to be clicked off.

It is okay to earn money through advertising; the point is that sometimes less is more and when you get greedy, you will lose everything. Gecko's quote from Wall Street is not true, Greed is not good.