ad:tech: A Bit of Reality To Go With Some Net Kool-Aid – NAB: A Tale of Two Shows

ad:tech: A Bit of Reality To Go With Some Net Kool-Aid – NAB: A Tale of Two Shows


Last week I attended the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas and Internet advertising conference ad:tech in San Francisco.

More on NAB below. Quick take… big crowds around the digital production systems vendor’s booths and a lot of space in the aisles elsewhere.  Zero length cab lines were a telling sign.

At ad:tech, there were some valuable panels with pragmatic information on advancing Net advertising and on digital media’s role as part of an overall advertising mix. On the other hand, there was atmospheric Internet boosterism. Here are some examples of the Net kool-aid that bumped my curmudgeon meter to 11 (and prompted some metrics in counterpoint – see below for details):

  • A digital media exec said the "Internet will be everything in three years" (I won’t name names on the chance I didn’t write the quote down in my notebook correctly or in context)
  • Cross-platform advertising strategies apparently didn’t exist before digital media (sorry planners of yore who only had TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mail and outdoor to deal with)
  • TV cord-cutting is sweeping the nation
  • Creative is the new content. Or was it content is the new creative? Or was it consumer generated social media (or is it "earned media?") are the new content and creative?

I do acknowledge and celebrate the power of the Internet and digital technology in enabling an astonishing transformative impact on society, let alone content, commerce and advertising business models. The growth and impacts absolutely will continue.  But… despite the world view one sees from San Francisco (where I reside), Manhattan or certain portions of LA – the Internet is not "everything."

Especially as it relates to advertising. 

Let’s take a look at the mix of advertising spend in the US in 2008.  The below chart combines ad spend estimates for non-Net segments from Robert Coen of Magna Global (as of December 2008), estimates for the Internet from the IAB/PWC and an estimate for local cable spending from the NCTA (plus my estimate for satellite/telco local avail spot).

Pie chart of 2008 overall ad spend mix

(click to see larger)

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TV Stations’ Challenges Online – To Start, Local TV Is Mostly Not Local

TV Stations’ Challenges Online – To Start, Local TV Is Mostly Not Local

As the NAB show starts next weekend in Las Vegas (I’ll be there next Monday and Tuesday), one of the top mindshare topics will be how TV stations can best respond to consumer shifts from linear TV to the on-demand, targeted and interactive world of online and digital TV platforms (including VOD, DVR and mobile).

One of the challenges in that shift comes from local TV stations’ current mix of programming.  Local TV is mostly not local.

I reviewed the programming schedules of the four major San Francisco broadcast network stations for this coming Thursday, April 16th – a typical broadcast weekday.  (Three are O&Os (owned and operated by the networks) – KNTV/NBC, KPIX/CBS, KGO/ABC.  The FOX station is KTVU, an affiliate owned by Cox Television, a sibling of MSO Cox Communications.)

Here are the results:

Chart of Bay Area TV stations show splits by time

(click to see larger)

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NCTA Notes – MSOs Say They’re Not On The Newspaper Arc (yes, but…)

NCTA Notes – MSOs Say They’re Not On The Newspaper Arc (yes, but…)

I’m just back from The Cable Show (aka NCTA) in Washington DC.  Much of interest in advanced video for a "quiet news" show, here’s some topline takeaways…

Despite the economy, attendance was actually slightly ahead of last year at around 12,000 (being in DC undoubtedly helped).  On the exhibit floor, most of the big exhibitors and (last year’s) booths were back (with a few notable companies missing). The exhibit hall felt busy, although with less energy via fewer marketing dollars spent by networks on floor activities (no Mad Men cocktail party this year AMC?).

On the panels one of the most prominent messages was that cable CEOs wanted everyone to know they are not on the newspaper business arc.  While I think this is true, I see a "newspaper like" trend in their core business – residential video services.  But, this trend can be slowed or even reversed with the help of advanced TV advertising and services.

(Two other prominent themes were in fact advanced TV advertising, and cable networks working with MSOs to bring a lot more of their shows to broadband – see below for details.)

What’s this "newspaper like" trend?  It’s cable’s declining video services share of US television households. 

Continue reading “NCTA Notes – MSOs Say They’re Not On The Newspaper Arc (yes, but…)”