Thursday, June 26, 2008

FOX Gets It

Well, at least Peter Levinson, president of Fox Interactive Media, seems to.

The discussion took place at The Media Entertainment Marketing Summit. The topic was reach. The premise put forward was that new media lacked reach.

Levinson disagreed. He quoted some numbers - how MySpace has 75 million people who come to it every month; while the American Idol finale was only watched by 30.5 million people.

A huge difference to be sure. But in the digital scheme of things, relatively unimportant. That's because on the digital platform, marketers need to stop worrying about how many and start worrying how long.

Reach, in the linear marketplace, was about how many we could put our messages in front of. It was about throwing out the largest net possible.

Digital Reach is about how many consumers reach out to marketers by clicking into their messages. And, once they do, how long do they stay engaged with the messaging?

So how do marketers take advantage of Digital Reach?

Levinson had the answer. "One of the things that has struck me as odd, is that the ad spending isn't keeping up with the time spent, which is somewhat interesting," he said. "While it's easier than ever to find an audience that might be interested in a brand, the goal is to actually engage the audience. When it comes to this, creative is king."

That's why I think that FOX gets it.

Digital Reach is not just about how many. It's about how long. In other words, Digital Reach is about creative.

If a media platform offers an opportunity for more time to be spent with a brand, then that platform should be able to charge more than a platform that enables less time to be spent. After all, they're offering a greater level of potential engagement.

Which is why digital platforms that give the consumer complete control should be more valuable than, say, broadcast platforms which allow no more than thirty seconds of engagement.

The fact is, it's not the number that are exposed that we should be aggregating. What we should be aggregating is the amount of time people choose to spend with a brand's messaging.

Will FOX start doing this? Levinson didn't say.

But, they're smart. Chances are, they'll figure it out.

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