Friday, February 3, 2012

Advertising Swag: How the Industry got its flow back

Companies that fear evolution within the entertainment industry are destined to fail, according to Haven & Lotz. It is imperative for a company to grow and evolve in order to stay fresh and on top of the competition. This is as true in any other industry; recently Microsoft failed to take footing in the handheld market and is now drifting out of relevance. Entertainment companies are dependent on shifts in technologies as they provide new avenues to distribute content and programming.

Recent technology not only provides entertainment companies alternate routes to distribute their programming, outlets like Hulu, Netflix and DVR are now the most direct route to consumers. While instant streaming at any convenient time is great for the consumer, advertisers are upset about the loss of live audiences. Subjecting a live audience to uninterrupted ads has been the favorite approach but now that the consumer can fast forward and skip through ads, advertisers are understandably worried.

Not only is broadcast television competing with sites like Netflix, it’s also battling other leisure entertainment activities such as video games and websites. Now-a-days more people can be found consuming entertainment through computers and handhelds than television. MTV realized this shift in 2008 when their show The Hills not only premiered to 3.7 million viewers, but also reached another million viewers and a spot on iTunes top ten downloads over the following three days.

This embrace of the changes in technological distribution is what Curtin calls “Matrix Media.” Entertainment companies that are able to overcome their fear of the new technologies will find that these new distribution plans may offer different approaches to advertise to the consumers. Recently there has been an increase in target advertising online; from Facebook to Amazon companies have taken note of its effectiveness.

Netflix is now able to compile a list of shows you’ve watched (and possibly rated) and can now suggest other shows or films based on your preference. Hulu (who also uses this practice) asks if you like or dislike an ad, takes note and narrows you down to scientific equation. I can’t even turn on my Xbox without getting advertised to and I pay a premium for that service! While it may be annoying to some you have to give the industry credit for hitting you with ads you may actually enjoy, unlike the constant Sear’s air-conditioning commercials that flooded Nickelodeon in the 90s. A 6 year old has no interest in an air conditioning unit for a house.

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