The success of MySpace has spun off an emerging trend of new social networking startup site based on specific themes and custom labels. And now radio is joining the online marketing action.
Billboard.biz reports today that America's largest radio company Clear Channel is starting up its own radio-branded social networking websites, with plans to get them up and running throughout this summer.
The concept? "Mini-MySpace" sites associated with a major market's radio brand logo targeting that stations' local community audience, allowing users to create and customize their profiles, upload their user-generated content and viral video, form friendship links, post comments and generally connect with other like-minded people.
At the same time, the radio stations with have a new opportunity to promote its activities and contests as well as community events, gossip, new music releases and even on-air podcasts.
It's only a decade late.
But at least it finally getting done.
How about the other radio groups?
Some Clear Channel example sites launched today: The Wild Space for Rhythmic CHR Wild FM in San Francisco; The Mob for Top 40 Kiss FM in Chicago; The Z-Zone for New York's Top 40 Z100; Kiss Nation for Top 40 Kiss FM in Dallas; and many more to come from stations across the country based on new music formats.
Will they just be LateSpace?
What took radio so long to wake up to the social networking phenomenon of the last decade? The Internet started as a community connector to share information (digitally) back when it was bulletin board Dos-based postings accessed via slow-baud dial-ups -- long before AOL IMs, or even chat rooms in CompuServe or Prodigy.
Radio could have -- and should have -- established online social networkings long before MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Bebo, Zanga, Eons, UrbanBaby or any of the others popular places online today. Radio already had (and still has) established built-in interactive communities, including local fans as well as listeners who've relocated to other cities who remain fans.
Clear Channel's plans will "monetize the sites with targeted online spots from local advertisers" while helping people connect with others locally. Meanwhile, users will be able to click on the user profiles in the chat area to enter and explore the social network.
According to the news release:
Each social network will have a user experience similar to that offered by MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and others. Users can create and customize profiles; upload photos, music and video; blog; and add friends. Users will also be able to enhance their profile pages with videos from Clear Channel's catalog of over 6,000 music videos licensed from major and independent labels.Yes, social websites are one of Top 10 things teens love to do. The timing is good for radio to step in and offer something fresh, especially since MySpace is turning more and more into a junkyard mess.
But it's not just teens that want to socially network online.
It's grownups, too -- GenXers and Boomers alike. Adult Contemporary, Classic Rock, Oldies and other adult music formats should also be included.
There's lots of competition among the most active social networking websites. Breaking through will be tough. Corporate Radio is slow joining the bandwagon when it comes to online social networking...perhaps its expertise in formating and its built-in on-air audience can help radio stations get the word out while creating a unique online community destination.
Just help users cut through the clutter!
It does lead to an interesting modern-day question: How many online profiles can a person possibly have and keep up-to-date while still keeping up real-life responsibilities? Three? Five? A dozen? More? How many multiple personalities are we all living every day?
And another question: what will radio do about mobile social networking (like Twitter, etc.)?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, April 30, 2007,
Joint Communications marks 30 years this month advising the radio industry through format programming, consulting, market research, marketing development and media strategy services.
The month of April also means it's time for John Parikhal's annual spring check-up as this week's featured FMQB cover story to discuss radio and the evolving mediaspace challenges radio faces in the immediate future.
Among the discussed topics:
> The proposed XM/Sirius merger -- including the financial and competitive implications as well as Mel Karmazin's catalyst role (puzzling; Stern probably helped save Sirius; Mel sees opportunities)
> The trend led by Clear Channel and other big groups toward privatization (more squeeze and bleed? And Clear Channel gets rewarded?)
> HD Radio (just another local spectrum)
> PPM ratings measurements (consistency of measurement will help)
> The cellphone (risky for electronic ratings measurement)
> Blink spots and other "Less is More" initiatives (applaud the experimentation; spare listener energy; don't invade the consumer)
> Radio's needed presence on the Internet and its mishandling of opportunities that went to MySpace instead (getting better...but still behind due to insufficient support staffing and streaming fee penalties)
> Google's new deal selling radio ads ("It's nonsense")
> The lucrative potential of selling and targeting the 30-59 year old demographic (so much money radio could grab)
> An updated look at radio's emerging trends (demographics!)
FMQB's chief editor Fred Deane gets it all started by saying:
As the radio industry evolves at a rapid pace, critical decisions about the medium’s future become increasingly more urgent. Technology issues have enveloped the industry to such a challenging extent, that the call for radio leaders to be actionable has never resonated so loudly. John Parikhal has never met a challenge he didn’t like, he relishes the very concept. While Parikhal’s client list continues to remain firmly entrenched in radio, the macro version finds him involved with a variety of media and marketing companies. His latest foray with strategic Internet initiatives with some large clients has him thinking about the future 24/7. It’s spring and time for our annual check-up with one of our industry’s deep thinkers.Thanks, Fred. All that and more...just click here for some great reading. Then come back and add your thoughts here on the Jointblog.
Additional reading: Thinking Through The Decision Making Process
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, April 27, 2007,
Since its launch 16 months ago, Free FM has spent more time in the repair shop than out on the open road.
Firings, content train wrecks, show suspensions, schedule changes, weak ratings, weak revenues...
Is Free FM running out of gas?
In branding, words often contain more than one meaning. Take the word "Nova". Chevy thought it sounded good for a line of small-muscle sport cars back in the 70s. Of course, as the well-worn urban legend goes, the "Nova" became "No Va"...a "Doesn't Go" joke. Soon after, sales dropped and Chevy stopped producing the car.
CBS Radio is facing their own "Nova" problem trying to find life after Howard Stern.
Or, at least they're getting very familiar with the phrase "Don't Go There".
When Stern left in late-December 2005, CBS (then known as Infinity Broadcasting) installed a new "Hot Talk on FM" format in its major markets across the nation that formerly broadcast Stern's morning show.
In a not-so-subtle move countering satellite radio (Stern's orbital home for the past 16 months), CBS decided to name the new format "Free FM".
Hot talk on satellite radio = you pay.
Hot talk on traditional radio = it's free radio. Or, Free FM.
Get the difference? The advantage? The Free-dom?
Nope, me neither. Nor have millions of radio listeners in NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago and other markets.
The problem with naming the new national format "Free FM" in this post-9/11 traumatized society is that America is not feeling quite so free. Rather, among the Homeland Security warning lights, anthrax dustings, relentless White House manipulation scandals, a no-end-in-sight War on Terror, wardrobe malfunctions, celebrity meltdowns (physical, verbal and mental), global warming doom-gloom, likely $4-a-gallon gasoline...all the way to Imus ho's, Virginia Tech slayings and Karl Rove's screams at Sheryl Crow, America's mood feels less than free lately.
America seems more obsessed with Fear (on Fox) than with Free (on FM or elsewhere) right now.
Formerly known as WXRK K-Rock for 30 years, WFNY in New York City became the flagship for Free FM post-Stern.
The ratings? (mired at a 1.2 Arbitron rating 12+ all persons).
The revenue? (from $50.8 million in revenue 2005 down to $18.7 million in 2006).
Imagine the costs to operate, advertise and manage...
One thing Free FM was supposed to represent was "free speech", "free attitude", "free humor". Not just "free" from subscription fees; free for wild, open, surprising, unexpected content. Something capitalizing on the "extreme" culture and attitude trend. And that is how it has been promoted. How Free FM has tried to position itself.
Yes, Free FM has its funny moments of comedy, Idol Watching and train wreck radio as well as serious topics, too. And it does have its fans as Free FM pokes fun at popular culture. I usually listen everyday during the week and I'd call myself a fan, not that Arbitron counts me in the ratings.
What Free FM often seems to be, though, is a "No Go". No Va. Post-Imus, it's an easy target for uncontrollable controversy. Just today, more jock suspensions were handed out for midday show "The Doghouse with JV & Elvis", with the show apparently crossing a racial line over some Asian jokes.
Now, how is that line defined again...?
Although JV apologized for the incident and said at the conclusion of today's show that "if this is my last show, at least I got to say what needed to be said"...their real feelings were posted on their blog, with this "censorship" jpeg:
How do their fans feel about this? Read their comments here and here...or watch this clip of Hannity & Colmes as they discuss the subject.
What exactly does Free Radio mean anyway? Is it Free when the audience knows there are FCC regulations, corporate restrictions and advertiser considerations?
Isn't this why Stern left for Sirius?
As a brand, what does Free FM really mean? Especially when the audience knows there are "costs"?
Will new CBS Radio President Dan Mason keep the Free FM experiment going...or will he simply say, "No va"? Can Free FM get repaired? Can he get it up and running?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, April 23, 2007,
Check out this brief transcript from yesterday's radio show (April 19th) of Rush Limbaugh deflecting criticism of his appalling comment that the Virginia Tech shooter was "a liberal".
The way Limbaugh moves attention from his own sick interpretation of mass murder to a "poor me" defence against the "drive-by media" that attack him -- before anyone has said a word about his horrible slur!
This is a masterpiece of radio manipulation -- it's why he's so big with his core and why he's stayed on top.
It's why he will get away with this outrageous and ugly connection between mass murder and liberalism.
Click here to listen to the actual broadcast mp3.
Media Matters of America tracked Limbaugh discussing the April 16 Virginia Tech shootings. According to Rush Limbaugh:
"If this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich and all this other -- this guy's a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act. Now, the drive-bys will read on a website that I'm attacking liberalism by comparing this guy to them. That's exactly what they do every day, ladies and gentlemen. I'm just pointing out a fact. I am making no extrapolation; I'm just pointing it out.Does anyone have the guts to go after Limbaugh just like they went after Imus?
They try -- whenever -- I can tell you from the history of this program, starting way back in the early '90s, when there was any kind of an incident, crime or what-have-you that attracted national attention, in the early days of this program, the drive-by media went out and they tried to connect the perpetrator to this program. They did everything they could. In fact, it went so far as Bill Clinton blaming me for influencing Timothy McVeigh to blow up the (Oklahoma City federal) building.
These are the people sponsoring lies and distortion for the purposes of dividing this country and creating hatred. These are the people that invented this kind of tactic, if you will."
April 27 Update: Hmm, is Rush tempting his critics' to try bringing him down? Click here to find out about Rush's ignorant "Barack the magic negro" routine.
posted by John Parikhal @ Friday, April 20, 2007,
Music fans are passionate. They talk music. Download, upload, swap, and playlist music. Participate on and start their own fan sites, go to shows, create/buy custom cellphone ringtones and fan wallpaper, serve as street marketers building up the buzz, blog it, and more.
These are great days for interactive music fans ...radio, are you listening?
They live the music of their favorite bands everyday.
Remember those days, Gen Xer? Sound familiar, Boomers?
Despite all the doom and gloom of industry indicators (album sales, retail sales, ticket sales...all down 15-20% from a year ago; weak debuts on the charts that don't stick; weaker TV ratings for music programming; etc.), there never has been a better time to be a Music Fan.
Radio is still figuring out how to connect with them. Some in radio are getting it, many others aren't.
What do teens want?
Radio has to program better to young music fans.
Radio has to understand their language, their various cultures. Value them. Be a place to connect with other like-minded people.
Radio can still do it.
Radio has always been an important social gathering filter. The "secret language" of rock n' roll delivered through transistor radios creating generation gaps between teens and parents back in the '50s and '60s is exactly the same kind of social networking we see today. Only now, it's through digital communication using multiple gadgets and devices in more interactive ways.
How will radio deliver more interactive opportunities for its listeners to form fresh social networking communities?
I stumbled upon this digital artwork (above) from a music fan in Germany. It's a great way to express creativity and be a fan, sharing it with the world.
Music Radio Website Idea: Create a custom digital webart community for Music Fans to express their creativity...it's a great way to participate in youth culture, acknowledge their contributions and connect with their music passion...the very essence of your music format. Then, convert the listener graphic art into a station/artist music gateway, where users/listeners simply click on the artist name -- leading music fans deeper into the site, allowing the radio station to showcase the music.
And be a music fan, too.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, April 18, 2007,
Last week, much of the nation's conversation focused not on the War in Iraq or Afghanistan. Not on the fired U.S. Attorneys controversy or Karl Rove's "accidental" deletion of key email documents related to the firings. Not how the cellphone may be the cause for the dwindling bee population around the world.
Or even the O'Reilly/Geraldo verbal fight.
Instead, media -- and even personal conversions among friends and coworkers -- were fixated on the Don Imus scandal.
At first, his broadcast corporate owners were forced to suspend his national radio and simulcast cable TV show for two weeks.
When the uproar refused to die down (and the ratings on news channels kept going up), Al Sharpton's interest group cranked up the pile-on pressure, leading major advertisers to drop their advertising sponsorships. Once this happened, the end was inevitable. MSNBC and CBS Radio both were forced to cancel his show entirely and send the I-Man back to his ranch to contemplate the error of his ways and consider a possible retirement for his 30-year-plus Hall of Fame broadcast career.
The lesson learned?
Big Media has lost control of their content.
(Well, actually, they lost it years ago...but Big Media desperately tries to maintain their grip with the remaining fingernails they haven't nibbled down to nubs.)
Broadcast content no longer is something that just dissipates after its aired. While most listeners or viewers treat broadcast content as disposable, someone is recording...ready to exploit both excellent content as well as potential gaffs in judgement in order to satirize, criticize, reinterpret, spoof or simply to use as a base argument in the fight against social injustices.
Should the nation have been so transfixed on this issue? Was this naval-gazing really necessary? Will it actually create social change...or will our short attention spans just move on like society tends to move on after every scandal?
(Anna Nicole and Britney was so two months ago.)
Were the Three Nasty Words (which were nasty, wrong, and over the line of taste, respect and manners) aimed at the Rutgers University women's basketball team deserving of Tragedy Coverage?
Because feelings were hurt, did this deserve National Outrage?
Does racism suck, does bigotry and misogyny exist and should we stop prejudicial injustice?
Does this country need to make Improving Social Harmony Between Races, Classes, Genders and Ethnicities a national and governmental priority requiring regular conversation and debate in order to move forward and heal past and current injustices?
This is a Presidential job. It requires Presidential leadership. And it should be a permanent job responsibility.
What deserves National Outrage?
What deserves 24/7 Media Tragedy Coverage?
The shocking, awful and criminal catastrophe Monday morning on the campus of Virginia Tech, resulting in the deaths of 32 innocent, gunned-down victims.
We have two examples of college students being attacked in the last 2 weeks. One group of students were verbally attacked through the crass use of three disparaging words during a radio/TV show those students never heard live on-air. They had never listened to nor watched Imus before this scandal. Their hurt only came after other's made them aware of it. After other's exposed and pushed forward the issue.
This attack did not change the documented and permanent result that the Rutgers is this year's NCAA division 1 women's basketball semi-finalists.
On the other hand, another group of students were physically and mortally attacked by a fellow student packed with heavy weapons and apparent mental issues. These 32 students were murdered in less than two hours of real terror.
This is the story deserving national, interest group, parental, academic and media outrage. Everyone is and should be outraged and saddened. This is real Tragedy.
There is a clear and obvious Tragedy difference in these events.
One is the violent weapon of words, stupidity, bad manners, disrespect and spin. Yes, it was a serious problem that needed to be addressed, brought to attention and fixed; apologies needed to be (and were) made. The other is actual violence, shaking the foundations of trust and security on our valued institutions.
Which event is the real tragedy?
The world wants to know where America stands today, what American values remain essential and true. America needs to heal. It does not need more violence.
Violence should not be the American brand.
There is real anger and frustration in our society. We all play a part in finding a solution.
What lessons will we learn from these two very different issues, these different tragedies?
And how will the media choose to influence pop culture and political action?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, April 17, 2007,
"What was that?"
In the last week or so, you probably have noticed a strange TV commercial while watching a favorite TV show on Fox. My teenage daughter and I both turned to each other after seeing it for the first time during American Idol...and, yes, we did say to each other: "What was that?"
Turns out it's a new TV ad campaign to help make commerical breaks more "sticky", by making them more interesting and less prone to channel-flipping. Fox is weaving in a fresh update of an old radio and TV programming idea: interstitials.
The other networks are planning their own interstitial campaigns, too.
Essentially, these interstitial promo ads sell nothing. But they make you stick around a little longer through the commerical break to encourage you to watch the commericials instead of just tune out, fast-forward the TiVo or walk out of the room.
As the Guiness gents might say in their ads, "Brilliant!"
For the Fox promo interstitials, these various offbeat, 8-second clips feature an animated cabbie named Oleg who talks to you while looking at you through his rearview mirror.
Makes you think "You talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me?" (think DeNiro...or is that Tom Cruise?).
With Nielsen ready to roll out its new TV ratings for each show's commercials about to figure in ad sales negotiations beginning at the end of May, this is a tried-and-true great idea to increase ad watching.
What took so long?
Way back when we were still partying in 1999, this study confirmed the effectiveness of interstitial advertising.
TV typically loses an average of 7% of viewers as soon as a commercial break starts, according to media buying agency Magna Global.
Radio has been doing interstitials for decades. It's what helps radio stations create their special "X factor" of personality and sense of specialness. In radio, it's needed "ear candy".
And the Internet has been doing interstitials for the last couple of years in order to move beyond annoying banner ads or poor pop up windows which get blocked.
If this is a new TV media trend, we will be watching them. But will TV get it right...or will it quickly turn into added clutter?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, April 15, 2007,
Fresh from this week's Spring 2007 Canadian radio ratings (pdf) from BBM, Astral Media announced their purchase of Standard Radio has been officially accepted and approved by both companies.
The transaction is still subject to customary conditions, including a review by the Competition Bureau and the approval of the CRTC. If fully approved by the government, its expected to finally close and trade hands in early 2008. Once done, it would create a new owner for the title of Largest Radio Broadcasting Group in Canada.
The big get bigger and the super-sizing radio trend of the past year continues in Canada (although not in the same way as it's been lately in the U.S.).
According to All Access.com this morning:
"ASTRAL MEDIA makes it official and announces a definitive agreement to buy STANDARD RADIO for C$1.08 billion (C$880 million cash and the rest in Astral Class A non-voting shares). Astral adds 52 stations across Canada in the deal, plus INTEGRATED MEDIA SALES, SOUND SOURCE NETWORKS, STANDARD INTERACTIVE, and CBC affiliates CFTK-TV/TERRACE, BC and CJDC-TV/DAWSON CREEK, BC. The companies had earlier announced that Astral had entered into exclusive negotiations to buy Standard."More importantly, it expands Astral Media beyond just its French-language radio properties, absorbing Standard's national English-radio market presence...and placing Astral Media (in combination with Standard) in a new multi-media head-to-head competitive Battle of the Titans with Corus Entertainment -- which will get bumped in status to 2nd-largest radio group of owned properties in Canada.
Correction: Although Standard Radio did sell off its Standard Interactive division in the Astral Media acqusition, apparently Standard's President/CEO Gary Slaight is keeping some key brands.
The Globe and Mail reports Standard will be holding onto its Iceberg Radio assets (as well as its stake in Sirius Canada) and not sell Iceberg in the Astral Media acquistion. (thanks for the tip, Captain Phil!)
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, April 12, 2007,
Al Sharpton is mad at Don Imus because he called some women "ho's" - short for whores.
The Reverend Al is mad at Imus. NBC is mad at Imus. Women's groups are mad. Don Imus seems to have stepped over a line he didn't see.
Why didn't Imus see the line?
This gets Time Magazine to ask "Who can say what?"
Maybe because rappers have been calling women "whores" - whoops, "ho's" - for more than a decade (when they weren't calling them "bitches" or something worse). On MTV. On the radio. In public. During their interviews. And, they made millions by doing it.
Maybe Imus thought he was a rapper. Maybe he just didn't think.
Here's the good news: This is a chance to talk about the degradation of women that's become part of our entertainment culture. And to change it.
This isn't about Imus. It's about a Tipping Point - when women fight back against the degradation that's in rap music, on MySpace and so much "popular" entertainment.
Come on Oprah, Rosie, Katie, Ellen ... Imus is already going to hell. Let's use the opportunity to change an ugly mind set - calling women "whores" - whoops, "ho's". Regardless of the color of their skin.
Update @ 7pm: And now MSNBC has fired Imus from his TV simulcast...which brought in $8 million in annual revenue.
April 12 Update @ 5pm: And now CBS Radio has fired Imus from his 61-station Imus in the Morning radio show. Wonder what will be topic #1 at next week's NAB conference in Las Vegas?
posted by John Parikhal @ Wednesday, April 11, 2007,
Radio's been hot on the selling blocks lately, with more than two thousand station transactions in 2006 in the U.S. The last time that many stations were sold off was back in 1997.
Then: consolidation merger mania. Now: The post-consolidation end of super-sizing.
Clear Channel leads the "For Sale" movement spinning off lesser market properties while trying to go private. Spanish-broadcasters Univision did go private last June for almost $13 billion. Infinity shed about 35 stations in the past 6 months. Bonneville station swapped with Entercom. And, most recently, Citadel completed its 18-month financial journey purchasing ABC Radio.
The last time radio saw this amount of selling action was right after the Telecom Bill of 1996, which changed all the owership limit rules, spurred fast merger and acquisition consolidation and created super-sized radio groups.
Back then, market values for stations soared as groups raced to get "big" as fast as possible...all in the name of increasing radio's competitive position for ad dollars against other media (or so we were told), damn the consequences.
Ten years later, stations are selling again...but the motivation is different this time around.
"Less is more" might really mean "cluster/group right-sizing".
Instead of station sales creating mega radio groups, radio is scaling back by selling off to smaller groups...or even to brand new small groups. This brings more competition back into radio and creates more-manageable operations, especially in the unrated, small-sized, and mid-sized markets.
Radio needs this retro trend of ownership diversfication, which hopefully can attract fresh creativity and innovative content ideas that work.
Meanwhile, station groups in Canada are being sold off, too...with Astral making a play for Standard and CHUM going to BellGlobal...but there's a difference between radio in Canada and the U.S.
Now that we've entered the post-consolidation phase, what did the last ten years bring to radio? There are a small few who made a ton of money, some who made a little and then there's the overwhelming majority -- people who lost gigs and careers (and money) as well as radio listeners who gave up, moving on to different (better) media choices (or, at least away from commercial radio and over to either NPR or new media forms of radio).
Radio remains important and profitable. This new active buy/sell phase is good for radio, leading to smaller major radio groups (as opposed to massive, complex-to-manage divisions).
With all these recent station sell-offs, what bodes for radio's future? Will it improve quality? Minimally, the gap between executive management and the content will shrink somewhat (that's good). Will radio reinvest in creativity and real (not just financial) innovation? Going private and having radio less beholden to Wall Street is also a good thing. But what about that elusive increase in radio's share of total advertising dollars?
And what about radio's issue fighting against the proposed XM/Sirius merger when radio is trying to get its own house in order?
The chart below shows the amount of station selling activity last year:
For the first time since 1997 radio station transactions reached levels above 2,000 in 2006, according to the first edition of BIA Financial Network’s quarterly Investing In Radio® Market Report. The breakdown of 1,544 station sales in radio markets (as defined by Arbitron) and 562 unrated areas last year (compared with 1,613 and 637, respectively, in 1997) [led by the proposed privatization of Clear Channel Communications]...demonstrate an interest in the purchase of small market stations as long term investments.Is radio making a U-Turn? Is old school sanity returning to radio? Was the consolidation run-up just another merger mania cash grab? Did radio watch "Super Size Me" and decide it needed to reduce to "get healthy"?
Will former radio leaders run out of the industry due to consolidation find new opportunities to return and reinvest? Will Wall Street continue to downgrade radio? Is the unretirement of Dan Mason a sign of things to come for the industry?
So what is the future of radio? There will be lots to discuss at next week's NAB show in Las Vegas April 14-19.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, April 08, 2007,
More ad dollars keep going to the Internet.
Last month, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that Internet advertising revenues for 2006 were estimated to be $16.8 billion, a 34% increase over the previous revenue record of $12.5 billion in 2005.
Globally, 2006's Q4 totaled just under $4.8 billion -- the highest quarter ever reported.
Nine short years ago, total spent Internet advertising in the 4th quarter (1997) was just $424 million...more than an eleven-fold increase.
These ad dollars are being spent on search marketing, paid search links, streaming video ads, contextual GoogleAds, email campaigns and many other forms. Among all choices, the most popular -- and often most annoying -- are banner ads. Sure, they deliver "eyeballs"...but many of them are just plain bad. That can't be great for ROI and certainly not for brand building strategies.
American may love streaming video...but the only people who like the banners ads next to the video probably are advertisers.
I found an article for "The Top 5 Most Annoying Banner Ads on the Internet". No doubt you've seen these banner ads while visiting your favorite sites. They're everywhere. While it may be difficult to ever narrow it down to only a Top 5 Most Annoying (given there are so many available), the logic is sound (although there's no scientific basis for their list).
Here's the selections from Cracked.com (thanks, Cracked!):
The Jointblog avoids banner ads (except to get snarky with them). Which banner ads annoy you? And which ones do you think work?
5) TBS Very Funny Ads. This is everything that's wrong with the modern media in one convenient image, for the busy modern person who needs to lose faith in humanity 'on the go'. A website dedicated to the commercials which prevent you from watching the programs on television....Worse, they're targeting the most annoying demographic on the planet: the "I only watch it for the ads" vacuum-headed smirkers.
4) Win a Free Thing. Banner ads used to promise instant free prizes, but even the dumbest internet surfer eventually realized that just maybe there weren't magical love-powered companies dedicated to giving free electronics to everyone on the planet...One thing all these ads have in common is legalese fine print which, like mobile-phone cancer and minesweepers wrist, is a disease of modern society.
3) Surveys. It's looking for people to complete marketing surveys, but only gets the kind who click on banner ads. The sort who can be distracted from what they're doing by the chance to fill out a form! People who need time and a roughwork sheet to answer the question "Is this object shiny?"
2) Emoticons. In the beginning, there were text smileys. And it was good. People who could spell transmitted thoughts around the globe, finding uses for neglected keys to generally acting like smart people. But with the advance of technology the ability to "use a computer" or "think with mouth closed" are no longer required to get online and banner ads are ever ready to harvest the new subliterate hordes.
And topping the list (drum roll, please...)
1) Juggling Animation (scaled down in size to minimize the annoyance). The makers of these eye-wrenching monstrosities have fixated on "Get their attention," forgetting that it's part of the larger sentence, "Get their attention so they want to buy our product/service, and ideally aren't motivated to track us down, cement our legs into the pavement, and slowly tear our heads off with a length of chain and a monster truck."
Update at 6pm: The Fark forum board is posting many comments about more bad banner ads, such as this comment:
There are worse banner adds (sic) than those. The mortgage dancing people, animals, anything with that freaking mortgage company. Anything that flashes so that I have a seizure while I am trying to do something. Then there is this annoying windows one I ran into yesterday. I thought it was because of windows but it only happened on this one website..and it was about weight loss...IT DROVE ME NUTS. So yeah anything that resembles any kind of error window.Tell us more...what other bad banners do you despise?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, April 06, 2007,
Thanks to the surge of broadband internet access and other new wireless high-speed options, Americans love their streaming video, making the web their own personal time-shifted TiVo.
YouTube was last year's major success story, leading to mainstream media content owners, Network TV broadcasters and even video rental agents like Blockbluster and Netflix to make more of their content available online.
The public is quickly embracing streaming video...and wants more of it. Online video now blurs the mainstream/new media divide. Americans love their TV and online video is quickly becoming a mainstream way to consume it, even if Google says the Internet isn't TV.
According to the latest reported update in a biannual digital video study from Ipsos Insight:
"At the end of 2006, nearly six of ten Americans (58 percent) age 12 or older with internet access had streamed some form of video content online, according to findings released by Ipsos Insight from MOTION - its biannual digital video study.What kind of online video is most-preferred? No surprise here. Among the various types of video streams offered online, shorter video clips, such as those on video-sharing sites like YouTube, are by far the most preferred.
In other words, 44 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older - some 100 million people - have streamed digital video online.
Moreover, over one in four Americans (28 percent) age 12+ have downloaded a digital video file, with a significant amount of overlap between the two types of digital video.
Among those that stream video online, teens and young adults are the most likely to do so: three in four of all teens age 12-17 and young adults age 18-24 in the U.S. have streamed digital video content online. Moreover, they are more likely to have higher incomes and be highly educated, even more so than others with internet access.
This highly coveted demographic appears to be watching digital video more and more on PCs or portable devices. Teens and young adults, on average, have stored 20 percent of their entire video library either digitally (on a hard drive) and/or have burned it onto DVDs."
Three-quarters of all digital video streamers have streamed short news or sports clips; two-thirds have streamed amateur or homemade video clips. Roughly 40 percent of those who have streamed or downloaded video content have accessed YouTube.
What does this mean? As written on the Jointblog last month, content may be king...but it's distribution that really matters.
Make it easy, make it simple, make it fast. Video usage may soon be broken into two categories: short-form video for online streaming (music videos, perhaps commercials?); and long-form video for broadcast and/or DVD viewing (movies, TV shows, etc.).
This Ipsos Insight study pairs up nicely with a new video brand building study from Millward Brown which says video ads are great for brand recall.
The evolution of video continues to be a major media trend to watch, which puts the whole Google/YouTube/Viacom distribution battle center-stage.
To read more, click here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, April 04, 2007,
Hand back in pocket, Alanis Morissette -- one ironic woman who gets the joke and appreciates a good parody spoof (nee Kevin Smith) -- uploaded a new video "single" this afternoon on YouTube.
But is it a real single...or is it just ironic comeback? Will radio pick it up? Or does it play better as a viral video? Does it matter?
The blogs already love it. 7:30pm update: Technorati lists 344 websites (with a bullet!) linking to the video. Another 4 hours later: Now it has a quarter million YouTube views. All for a parody video that would make Weird Al proud. Next afternoon update: Almost a million views and nearly 2000 Technorati websites pointing to the parody. Think Fergie's a fan?
4/4 evening update:: More than 1.8 million views on YouTube (plus the views on the 2800+ Technorati linked blogs.
A dozen years ago, her "scorned lover" attitude scored a hit with "You Oughta Know". Now she is "humpingly ironic" with a new cover take on the Black Eyed Peas (with Fergie) hit "My Humps".
You just might find this Alanis version about junk in the trunk sticky in your brain...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, April 02, 2007,
Howard Stern made some news this week, saying he wants to "kill" American Idol by "corrupting the entire thing", hoping "to turn the talent competition into a farce and destroy its popularity."
He's backing VoteForTheWorst's campaign to keep Sanjaya Malakar, whom the New York Times called "the off-key, lyric-fumbling, elaborately coiffed teenager who is perhaps the most talked-about “Idol” contestant ever.
This is nothing new...Stern has commented about VoteForTheWorst's weekly picks for the last three years. What's different this year? Instead of just referencing it within Robin Quiver's news segment, Stern's gave the site's owner an on-air inteview. This ramped up VoteForTheWorst's web traffic, got lots of news services and blogosphere attention...and attracted Stern criticism.
In other words, fresh publicity, quickly attaching Stern to the #1 TV show in America.
He has a much smaller audience now on Sirius compared to what he used to have on traditional radio...but he still knows how to place himself at the center of controversy and water cooler buzz. And his fans love him for it.
Does he want to "kill" off American Idol by supporting a part-time website run by a Chicagoland community college teacher? Of course not...it provides easy fodder for him to mess with year after year. And it gives him a chance to rub mainstream media's nose in his crap.
If it's not American Idol, Stern would be attacking some other #1 show.
That's what he has done his entire career. Brilliantly, even if you don't like his methods.
So Stern wants Sanjaya to win. Simon Cowell says he'll quit if Sanjaya wins. According to an online prediction market website, Simon Cowell, American Idol fans and Freemantle/Fox executives won't have to worry about that outcome.
InTrade.com has a freakish habit of (almost) always being right in their predictions. In the last U.S. election, the site successfully predicted the outcome in every state. In the Scooter Libby trial, Intrade successfully predicted the odds of a guilty verdict to be 70% (Libby ended up guilty on four out of five charges -- or 80% of the charges).
InTrade's success reportedly relies on the number of people who use the given "market", however that market is defined. People "buy" and "sell" outcome "shares" online as events happen, tapping into the wisdom of the public.
So who does InTrade predict will win American Idol in 2007? (once on the site, click "entertainment", then "American Idol") As of today (April 1), 83% say a female will be the new Idol, not a guy. 50% say Melinda Doolittle will win the contest, with Jordin, Blake and Lakisha far-behind tied for second-place (14% of "win" votes each).
Only 3% think Sanjaya will win.
Yet, they also don't think Sanjaya will get voted off this week; they think he'll be sticking around a little while longer while Haley will be the one to get booted.
Will InTrade get it right? Maybe, maybe not. Sanjaya backlash could happen...or it might carry him all the way into May sweeps. The odds will change as the show's dynamic changes...and Sanjaya may stick around for more farce value (hey, it is good TV).
Is Howard Stern behind Sanjaya's staying power? Whatever. It's TV. It's American Idol. Howard Stern will still create news ranting against pop culture. Even though he's on satellite radio.
related NYTimes.com article here (log-on may be required) or AOL.com article here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, April 01, 2007,