Thursday, April 23, 2015

Will Comcast Drop Time Warner Cable Acquisition Plans?

Bloomberg is reporting that Comcast will give up on their efforts to acquire Time Warner Cable.  According to their report, Comcast is deciding today and could make their decision public by Friday.  Given all the time and money put into this huge deal, it is somewhat hard to believe that Comcast wouldn't continue to fight for its approval to the very end. 

Whether it is because they either see it as throwing more money at a losing fight or that they expect the conciliation that they would have to make to be too great.  Spinning off too many more systems to bring the penetration levels down to more acceptable levels for the FCC and DOJ or selling off assets like NBCUniversal may simply be unacceptable solutions.  It may simply be that Comcast is taking a page out of Sun Tzu and the Art of War, "If fighting is sure to result in victory, than you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler's bidding."  We will find out if this story is true pretty soon.  Stay tuned.

Future Of Advertising - Mobile And Social

As we engage more and more with our mobile devices, our smartphones and tablets, they become a much larger focal point for reach and frequency. More Facebook users access their accounts via through mobile rather than a computer. In fact, in Q1 of this year, Facebook's "mobile advertising revenue represented roughly 73% of advertising revenue", as mentioned in Business Insider. And given Facebook innovations, videos now automatically run as you begin to scroll down the timeline, hoping to snare you to watch and turn up the volume.  I know that I am like the majority, accessing these and other social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and others on my iPad or iPhone.  And whether it is a display ad, or sponsored content, or other banner or video, this is where the future lies.  We are easily reached, personalized, and presented with relevant and hopefully engaging messages.  

And so other ad platforms may need to worry as usage patterns shift and so to the flow of ad dollars from one bucket to another.  Cord cutting on cable TV is not just an issue for subscription dollars but advertising dollars as well.  As higher percentages of our time are spent on our mobile devices and interacting with others via social platforms, so to will ad spend. 

It is why TV Everywhere is so important  for content providers.  And why many today have apps for authenticated viewing on mobile devices.  It is why the DOJ and the FCC are looking so hard at the Comcast - Time Warner Cable merger and that together they would control a majority of the broadband pipeline in the US.  Monopolistic pricing, controlled or limited access to content, and lack of a competitive threat are key concerns.  

And as I look at the growth of mobile, I am struck with an interesting idea.  For companies like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others delivering content to mobile devices, the thought of complementing these services with social networks for its members to discuss content that they have consumed on their respective apps. Consider a Netflix social app that is easily accessed and used to reach other "fans" of House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or other series and where they can discuss in detail.  Such a companion site would also enable these content providers to add an advertising revenue stream into their mix.  It may be a niche social platform at first but may just drive future growth.

For it is the increasing usage of mobile platforms in our daily lives and our desire to interact with others online that is driving new opportunities for advertising.  At the same time, traditional ad platforms, threatened by this new growth, must continue to play in the new space and become ubiquitous across all platforms, print, TV, radio, digital. By being accessible via the mobile platform, advertisers too will gain with better data based on individual preferences, not household ones.  And it is that one-on-one relationship that we have on our mobile devices that is the future of advertising.