Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is TiVo’s Tom Rogers TV’s Al Gore?

Yesterday, Al Gore was in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Climate Change talking about the perils facing the future of our planet.

At about the same time yesterday, Tom Rogers was in front of the folks at NAPTE delivering similar dire warnings about the future of television.

Not unlike with Mr. Gore’s predictions, there are those who are skeptical about Mr. Roger’s vision of the future. As was proven with Mr. Gore’s predictions, those skeptics only serve to make the problems worse.

Will the same prove true with television?

There is little question that the digital platform has changed the playing field surrounding television. After all, digital gives viewers the ability to skip commercials through DVR devices like Mr. Rogers TiVo.

DVRs are currently found in 30% of the nation’s 114 million households. Predictions are that DVR penetration levels will reach 50%-60% by 2012.

These digital devices give viewers unprecedented control over commercials. That’s the negative part of digital, at least in the eyes of most advertisers.

But on the positive side, digital also allows return path – second-by-second – data, to be accumulated and used by advertisers.

This data gives advertisers unprecedented control over their agencies.

After all, second-by-second view duration data allows advertisers to know whether any of the impressions that they purchase actually end up making an impression.

As well, second-by-second data allows advertisers to hold their creative agencies accountable for creating advertising that viewers actually watch. If the data comes back showing that viewers watched only 10 seconds of a 60-second spot, there’s some explaining due from the creative agency.

In a nutshell, digital, and the data it delivers, allows advertisers to eliminate waste from their advertising budgets.

In a sense, you could say that it helps them to lessen their carbon footprint.

Fast-forwarding through commercials multiplies advertising’s carbon footprint by increasing the amount of wasted dollars.

While Mr. Rogers is warning advertisers that their carbon footprint is increasing, he is, at the same time, offering them different ways in which they can start to reduce it.

Mr. Gore is doing the same regarding climate change.

The belief that climate change is real really didn’t kick in until Katrina. When asked why this was, Mr. Gore replied, “We have a wonderful ally in reality.”

The ad industry is slowing coming around to the fact that if they don’t change the way that advertising is bought and sold, there will soon be no advertising left to buy and sell.

Mr. Rogers is doing what he can to accelerate the process. But, as we all know, people don’t like to face inconvenient truths.

Let’s hope that advertising doesn't need its own Katrina to expedite the process.

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