AS BOTH A CHILD OF and practitioner in the modern “we’ve got
you surrounded” age of media, nothing should surprise me. I’m used to message
bombardment, from traditional sources like television and radio to more non-traditional
sources like shopping cart handles, airport security trays and strategically
placed tattoos. Even O.J. Simpson getting arrested again isn’t enough to make
Advertising paradise has been paved and put into a parking
lot. It’s as clear as the lines on the asphalt asking us to watch Desperate Housewives
on ABC – these are desperate times for television as well.
But this isn’t about TV or anything else being “dead.” It’s
about media companies continuing to change and adjust to a modern world that
isn’t going away. It’s about embracing people’s busy lives and reaching them
where they are, rather than making an appointment and hoping people show up. Unlike
its much older media colleague – newspapers – TV is mad as hell and not going
to take it anymore.
ABC has been especially adept at understanding the New Web
Order, that your web presence is more important than your web site. As one ABC
exec put it, “ABC.com is a platform – and that platform can be distributed
And it is, on mobile phones and iPods (we’re waiting for the
inevitable Facebook app, too.) ABC also cracked the code of co-creation, using
its Lost message boards to help develop plotlines with the audience.
This is in contrast to NBC’s latest move to remove its shows
from Apple’s dominant iTunes store, opting instead to make shows available for
free on its web site. The catch? The free shows have commercials while the
iTunes shows you pay for are commercial free.
No question NBC’s decision has more to do with money than
content distribution. And plenty of people will go to NBC and watch shows for
free rather than pay a few dollars not to see car ad after car ad.
I just wonder how long this can last. Ultimately people
don’t want to be on your web site, they want to be on their web site, blog, social
network, phone, iPod or PDA. The web site is a creature of the ‘90s and is
quickly becoming an endangered species, but that’s a topic for another day.
More and more, content today is wherever people are – not
where anyone else, including the TV networks, wants them to be.