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Steve McClellan, writing today in Mediapost's Agency Daily reports on a talk by Association of National Advertisers president Bob Liodice. He says marketers can't rely on ads in digital media since it's the least accountable of all media. Viewing levels, some studies show, are only around 50 percent.
Liodice says some estimate that for every dollar spent by marketers on digital, only half is applied to the media itself. So where does the other 50 cents go?
Digital had been thought to be more accurate than other media in terms of who sees those ads. Marketers can, supposedly, track how many clicks and how many "opens" a digital ad gets -- or so we had been led to believe.
Liodice is calling for better measurement and a standard that would cover digital, TV, radio and print.
But even with TV, for example, which relies heavily on Nielsen and others to determine how many people watch a given show, marketers still can't really determine how many viewers actually see an ad. How many of us do some fast channel-surfing while an ad is on, or how many go into the other room to hit the fridge or the bathroom. And now that we have DVRs, how many just zip through the ads?
It's a really tough challenge. And it just makes the case even stronger for using other marketing tools including public relations, which, if done right, will get people to read or watch or listen to your message. (I know... a shameless plug for what I do, but when the shoe fits...)
Jimmy Kimmel did it again. Looks like many people on news desks at local TV stations and some networks just don't verify stuff when it's on the web.
Kimmel phonied up footage of a wolf supposedly stalking the dorms where the Olympics athletes are housed, and he got U.S. Olympic team member Kate Hansen to post it on her YouTube feed.
Take a look at all these newscasters around the country who talked about it, thinking it was the real thing. It's a funny clip, but it points again to a serious problem with the authenticity of things we see online.
Jay Leno hosts his last Tonight Show tonight, after a 22-year run where he held the lead in the ratings race pretty much the whole time.
In some ways, it feels like deja vu. (Didn't he do his last show once before, about five years ago?)
But it also feels almost like a non-event. Those of us who are old enough can remember when Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show. It was THE news story and the hot water cooler topic for weeks. Even those who hadn't watched Carson for years tuned in those last few nights, and we can still remember feeling kind of sad when Bette Midler, Johnny's last guest, sang a sweet thank you. Johnny had been a big part of our lives, and we all realized it was the end of an era.
So as Jay Leno hosts his final show, where is the hoopla? Where are the teary eyes and the goodbyes?
Despite Jay's ratings dominance for only eight years shorter than Johnny's, it's just not the same.
NBC is busy pushing the Olympics, which begin tonight. And we've all been pre-occupied with other show business news in the midst of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.
Back in Johnny's time, there weren't late-night talk shows on all the networks. Viewers didn't have the other choices -- cable, Netflix, DVRs, online streaming video. There just wasn't as much to watch.
Jay Leno, while a very good stand-up comic, seems not to have built the kind of image with viewers that Johnny Carson had back then. Maybe some of it is because Jay never hung conspicuously with the big celebrities, the way Johnny seemed to do with the Las Vegas rat pack crowd back then. To his credit, Leno -- although very rich -- always seemed to be just a regular guy from a blue collar background. Carson, also from a humble midwest background, seemed a bit aloof from the masses. We knew he played tennis with all the show biz big shots, but rarely heard of him hanging with regular people. Leno always has gone back to the comedy clubs where he came up, and does stand-up in front of small crowds.
So maybe that humble accessibility has him a bit less of a super-star in our eyes.
And maybe many have just become tired -- or bored -- with his bland humor. We have so many choices, from David Letterman's self-deprecating irreverance to Jimmy Kimmer's frat boy humor, or the biting political satire of the guys on Comedy Central and Bill Maher on HBO. No one dominates the field the way Carson did.
When Jay Leno signs off tonight, it will be the of an era... for him. For viewers, they will be sampling Jimmy Fallon when he takes the 11:35 spot in two weeks after the OIympics. He's not for everyone, so some may move over to Letterman or Kimmel or Arsenio. But I don't think there will be that big gap that was left when Johnny Carson said his last goodnight to us.
The big pre-Super Bowl story this year was about the weather in New York -- would the first outdoor Bowl played in a northern climate be played in single-digit temps or be snowed out? But New York delivered good football weather yesterday, and the previous few days were also a hit for the hundreds of thousands who flooded Times Square and Broadway for the NFL marketing extravaganza "Super Bowl Boulevard."
The ads did make news, but this year in a slightly different way. One predictable story angle was the ever-increasing cost -- as much as $4 million for a 30-second spot.
But the other angle, as Stuart Elliott pointed out in a New York Timesvideo report, is that many of the Super Bowl ads got huge viewership even before the opening kickoff yesterday at Met Life Stadium. Thanks to the combination of advance publicity in traditional media and added chatter on social media, some of the ads got millions of views days before the big game. And, those views probably weren't interrupted by the distractions of bathroom breaks and reaching for the chips and wings.
As Stuart says in the video clip, people who've seen the ads beforehand talked about "that Cadillac ad" rather than saying "a car ad." Releasing the ads in advance and putting them up on social media added visibility and brand awareness... a win-win.
Back in the days of Mad Men, creatives had 60 seconds or more on TV to sell their client's product.
Then, as the price of TV time jumped, just as attention spans shortened, the challenge was to sell in 30 seconds... or sometimes 15 seconds. And with the advent of remote control, agency folk had the added challenge of building and holding the viewer's interest for all of those 30 seconds. Otherwise... click.
These days, advertisers need to hook viewers even faster or they're lost to DVR skipping and an even newer challenge. With more viewing on the so-called second screen -- computers, laptops and mobile devices, advertising has moved onto those platforms where we watch video, the biggest being YouTube.
In some cases, if you want to watch something online, you have to pay the price of watching a pre-roll ad -- an ad that comes on before the thing you actually want to watch. Often, especially on the networks' on-demand channels, you can't fast-forward. So you watch the ad, just as if you were watching TV in "the old days."
Platforms like YouTube have ads on many of the videos they carry, but there's often with the option to skip the ad after 5 seconds. So advertisers now have 5 seconds to either draw you in so you'll watch the whole ad or, if that fails, to at least try to make an impression of what the product or service is and why you should want it.
The younger generations are constantly online, socializing mainly via social media, as they share every little details of their lives with friends and strangers online. And they don't read magazines and rarely watch TV. That's what we boomers and Gen Xers tend to think, if you put any faith in the stereotypes we constantly see when we think of Millennials (Generation Y) and the younger Generation Z.
(An aside here: This is the first I've seen of Gen Z, which is used to categorize the teen children of the Generation Xers, who are themselves the kids of the boomers. Got that? And I wonder, what will the next group be called after Gen Z? Do we start back at the beginning with Gen A?)
But back to those stereotypes...
Two separate studies, reported in MediaLife and Media Daily News this week, show those stereotypes may not be so accurate after all.
More than half of Millennials say they prefer to socialize offline, and 63 percent say they communicate face to face more than they do online. They're active on Facebook, but teens are not as interested. It's something teens have grown up with, so there's no "wow" factor for them, and it becomes even less cool as they see their parents and grandparents on FB.
Teens seem to be a bit more careful about posting personal information online, with just under half saying they share nothing or close to nothing personal online. They're also realizing how long personal information can stay online, and the get the importance of maintaining privacy. Looks like they've learned from the older generations' mistakes online.
Teens (Gen Z) are online a lot, up 37 percent last spring as compared to a year earlier. Online time for other groups, including Gen X, remained fairly steady. The study says much of the increase has come from the growth of tablets and smartphones, whose prices have been coming down and thus more accessible to younger people. Teen ownership of smartphones, for example, grew last year from 35 percent up to 55 percent.
The study had another finding that belies stereotypes. The younger generations, especially teens, like magazines. More than two-thirds of teens say they prefer printed magazines over digital e-zines. That's encouraging news for publishers.
One would think traditional TV is dying, if we believe all the articles we see. But more than half of the young people surveyed say they prefer watching TV or video on a traditional TV set, rather than on a laptop or the so-called second screens of mobile devices.
With all the talk of binge viewing and the supposed second “Golden Age” of TV (or cable, at least), new statistics just released by Nielsen are a bit of a surprise.
Nielsen says we watched an average of 4 hours and 18 minutes of live TV and 25 minutes of DVR playback, for a total of 4 hours and 43 minutes of TV daily. That’s down a tiny bit from 4 hours and 24 minutes live and 22 minutes of DVR, totaling 4 hours and 46 minutes daily a year ago.
Average viewing of TV on mobile devices went up to 16 minutes daily, from 11 minutes a year ago. And online viewing rose to 46 minutes, from 40 minutes last year.
So with so much time spent in front of a TV screen, how is there time left for social media and gaming? Oh yes, of course… multi-tasking.
Both The Wall Street Journal and Mediapost are calling it Super Sunday. And they're not talking about football. Instead, it's about event TV... on cable.
First, it's the long-awaited series finale of Breaking Bad on AMC. And then, it's the season premiere of Homeland, on Showtime. Not NBC, CBS, ABC or FOX.
Showtime, as a premium subsciption channel, doesn't run ads. But the quality and popularity of shows like Homeland and the recently-departed Dexter draw more subscribers.
For advertiser-based AMC, it's about eyeballs, which translates into more money for ads. Advertising Age reports that AMC is getting between $300,000 - $400,000 for a 30-second spot on the finale broadcast. Ads on the show earlier in the season, which has been drawing steadily higher numbers of viewers, ran about $140,000 for a :30. A 30-second spot on ABC's hit Modern Family, for compaison, is in the $300,000+ range.
Last week, 6.6 million people tuned in to watch the next-to-last episode of Breaking Bad. With all the hype, the audience is expected to be a lot bigger on Super Sunday. And series creator Vince Gilligan has been hitting the talk show circuit promising us we won't be disappointed with the show's outcome.
If drug-related violence isn't your thing, another cable channel -- HBO -- has prohibition-era whiskey-related violence Sunday night, in the form of Boardwalk Empire. And, oh yes, another kind of violence is on NBC -- NFL football.
Thank goodness for the DVR on a night like this Super Sunday.