Thursday, April 19, 2007

Denying The Future

I flew to Chicago this week for a presentation to one the industry's leading media agencies. The topic of the presentation - as audience size continues to fragment, how do media agencies continue to offer value to their clients outside of impressions?

There were six in the meeting from the media agency - most of them from the new media division of the agency. Four of the six did not have a DVR or a TiVo in their homes.

I started my presentation with what I assumed to be a fact. As viewers gain more and more control over their viewing options, our industry will need to evolve from intrusive platforms to more opt-in platforms. And as opt-in platforms will offer fewer overall impressions, we will need to evolve from impression-based business models to something else.

The leader of the agency team corrected me. "Maybe," she said.

"Maybe? Maybe what?," I replied.

"Maybe our industry will evolve from intrusive platforms to opt-in platforms," she said.

Maybe?

I felt like a scientist at a global warming meeting explaining to a group of businessmen that the polar ice cap is melting at an frightening rate. And their response being maybe it's melting. Maybe it's not.

Did I mention that four out of six did not have a DVR or TiVo in their homes? Yes, I did mention that.

There was a wonderful article written by Joe Marchese yesterday called "Web 2.0. Where's the Business Model?" In the article Joe said, "Pretty much everyone will agree that we are not selling eyeballs anymore."

Everyone, Joe, except those that make money selling eyeballs.

Unfortunately, that pretty much defines the leading media agencies in our industry.

You can't solve the problem within the same mindset that created it. There's too much self-interest involved. Our industry has its own inconvenient truths.

Impression-based models losing value is one of them. The sooner media agencies face up to this truth, the better for their clients.

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