Thursday, May 1, 2008

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

Let's leap to May 2014: The much-anticipated finale of "Found," a popular program from Microsoft's Disney division, is going to be a mega-hit. But what being a hit means may not be good news for the program's sponsor, Swallow Throat Spray.

Writing on his advertising/media blog, On Demand, Rob Norman, the present-day head of GroupM Interaction Worldwide, described how he thinks the viewing audience of six years from now might actually watch a show like "Found." Then he crunched the imaginary viewership data and discussed its implications for media planners looking ahead to 2015.

In Norman's scenario, the program premiered on 300 IMAX screens, where it was seen by an aggregate attending audience of 400,000. Users also downloaded 20 million copies. The 6 million sold at $10 a pop had to be viewed within 72 hours while the rest, sold for $20, came with extra features and could be viewed indefinitely. Seven million also paid $5 for a subsequent pay-per-view edition with limited commercials -- and a third of those were viewers used mobile devices. Six weeks after the IMAX premier, a "free to air" version attracted another 23 million viewers.

Significantly, from the point of view of the program's sponsor, "less than half of all the full length showings were ad supported and... less than 20% of total content revenues were believed to be generated by advertising," Norman wrote. For a 2015 advertiser such as Swallow Throat Spray, that means that "reach," still a key advertising metric back in 2008, would be "an unaffordable objective and has for all practical purposes ceased to be a relevant measure."
    "The overarching trend has been clear for sometime: Media strategy has evolved from the placement of messages to the distribution of content. Consumers control the content they consume in terms of time, place and device."
At least that's how things look in Norman's 2015. Hard not to wonder if the media landscape he envisions is as far out, or even as far off, as seven years from now.

(Norman's fictional media plan was published on his blog April 29, 2008, and then reprinted the following day on Advertising Age's Mediaworks page, where I first saw it. The image if the 1950s Chevy ad above comes from Quality Information Publishers.)


Christine said...

Interesting to think that as commercial advertising ROI and opportunities decline, good ol' word-of-mouth will increase in importance and impact, and for now blogs are a huge engine of word-of-mouth dissemination. As illustrated by this blog entry. I probably wouldn't have noticed and read the AdAge article that's the focus of your blog entry had you not talked it up here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for picking that up. Hope you enjoyed it. You may be right about 2014 being too far out!