Thursday, March 27, 2008

Net Neutrality Solution

Well the old adage goes, if you can't beat them, join them. Comcast seems to have recognized that the best way to resolve net neutrality issues is to work in partnership with BitTorrent to find a solution to the issue of bandwidth hogging.

Will this new partnership curtail the FCC efforts to resolve net neutrality claims; probably not in the short run. But if a technological solution can be found, it may delay action to allow a business approach to run, as opposed to a legislative one. It reminds me of the day multiple files were zipped into smaller packets for easier emailing. Clearly those that understand bits and bytes are looking to that type of quantum change to reduce the size of the files so they are easier to transport.

Bandwidth continues to be the ultimate issue and efficiencies of the infrastructure is needed. We are moving away from hardware storage of content. CD and DVD sales are declining. Audio files are small compared to video files. And as more people move toward downloading large video files, bandwidth issues will become more challenging. Mobility of content is key; holding data on ipods and other portable devices is far easier to carry than cases of cds and dvds. It is the natural evolution of the product.

Product Placement Rules

Tivo killed the ad inserted spot. VOD tries to disable fast forwarding, but people always find away around it. Success in monetizing content requires smart advertising and a keen understanding of how much is enough. The article in the New York Times demonstrates that branded entertainment can fund projects and can uniquely break through the clutter to get noticed. As the article suggests, "Integrating a brand or product into the plot of a movie, a TV series or a video game is intended to thwart the increasing ability of consumers to zap, zip through or otherwise dodge — so to speak — traditional advertising tactics like television commercials."

Certainly these are not new ideas. The golden age of television was all about sponsors who integrated their messages into the title or plot of the show. Uncle Miltie and his Texaco Theatre, the Jack Benny Program weaved products like Lucky Strikes and Jello.

Ultimately, the success of the sponsorship and promotion rests on the appeal of the content. Viewers will watch "Soccer Mom" if the storyline appeals, the actors are engaging, and the interest is peaked. First and foremost, the content must be engaging and interesting; otherwise, it becomes seen as a long commercial message to avoid.