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Paying for ads
Thursday, May 19, 2005

I don't know if TV corporation get the web.

I think the problem TV corporation have is that they don't know their viewers as well as they should.

Sure, they know how many people live in their area and how much income the average household pulls in. But they don't know WHO and HOW the viewers are actually using the boob tube.

I happen to watch TV once in a while (I don't have cable - See below for the reason) and I've caught myself watching TV and visiting a site as it's mentioned in different ads. I have the computer in my lap, so I quickly type in the site's addres.

It hit me: it's the new way of getting information while being entertained.

Do news stations know this? Do advertiser know this? That passivity leads to activity? Even though you stop watching, you keep attached to their message and this time you actually are looking for information you want and their brand is consciously and purposely in your mind while visiting the site. I wonder?

Tonight the news were on while I was updating one of the sections in my resume and I over heard a commercial's anouncer saying that their spot had been taken out of the air because it was too racy. Sure enough, the ad mentioned a URL where the spot can be watched at will. I.e. We, web surfers, are not ruled by the same "decency laws" as the TV watching populus :)

I was curious, so I went to the site.

A terrible thing happened.

Because the advertiser and the TV station don't know their watchers-users, the ad was not available in their web site within 20 seconds of the anouncement. The site ran out of connection and, most importantly, bandwidth.

The site was slashdotted.

It was a good idea to announce that the ad was in their web site, however it was a bad idea NOT to prepare for the traffic.

The site melted. Like I said, TV companies don't know how viewers watch TV and what they are watching; the advertiser doesn't know who is watching TV; and most importantly, in this case their IT department was probably never told to get ready for all the traffic.

I still don't know why the commercial was pulled out of the air. And probably never will now, my attention span is very short, like any other viewer: 3 seconds and I'm gone.

It's too bad, really. It was a great opportunity, but no one knew how to prepare for the wave of passive-active watcher-users.

No cable
Watching TV used to be a give and take relationship between the viewer and the TV station.

It's was all part of the social contract: you get entertained for free if only you watch a few commercials. TV used to be free. I.e. It was distributed via radio waves.

Things have changed, though. We now pay for cable or satellite. So, TV stations have a dual revenue model: we pay for cable, and advertisers pay to get their ads played. So, where is the viewer in all of this? I guess we pay to watch commercials. Who would have thunk it? - BTW, it's not such a stretch: we even pay for bottled water now. Yes water.

And this trend of paying to watch commercials is so pervasive that we actually pay to watch them in huge screens: movie theaters.

Have you noticed the commercial before watching the latest flick. I know, it's so annoying.

Anyway, I don't pay to watch commercials at home anymore. I don't do cable. I haven't had cable for about 6 years. I decided to forgo cable because my local cable company would not transfer all my cable services to my new location for free - I know what you are wondering: "How many more times can this guy write cable in the same sentense." Not many, but keep on reading...

When I had to move, I called my ex-cable company and asked to transfer all my services to my new address. I was told that I needed to pay $100.00 to move everything to my new location.

I told the customer representative that I didn't want to pay. She said that everyone had to pay. I said that I didn't want to pay and I explained to the rep. that I had my Internet connection with them, I was a premium cable subscriber and that I was even a subscriber of their digital services (fairly new then) and movie packages. All and all I was paying around $120.00 per month.

She went away for a few minutes and told me that they would lower the fee to $59.00. I said that I wanted to pay $0.00 dollars. She went away again and came back and said that they were willing to lower the fee to $49.00. I said that it wasn't good enough. She then said $39.00. I said nope and said: "Look, if I have to pay to move all my services, I will cancel all of it. Right now."

She then said: "Mr. Sandoval, we will lower your transfer fee to $24.99." And I said no. I said that I wanted to pay $0.00. She said that they couldn't do it. Then I told her to cancel ALL my services. I've been cable free since then.

So, the way I look at it, the cable company servicing my local area has lost approximately $8,000.00 so far. And their loses don't stop there, because I'm sure I would have paid for cable and internet access until I could see or type no more. A trade of $50,000.00+ for $24.99 - It makes a lot of sense.

I will not buy services from this company: cable, internet, cell phone, etc. None of it, muah-ha-ha. Ok, it's not that evil. It's just a fact of the way our economy is set up: we have choices.

BTW, I tried doing the same thing for my phone service. It didn't work so well. If only I didn't need a phone or internet and I had more choices. Canada's phone services are kind of monopolized by one big company in some areas - No wonder it's called a monopoly :) Some would argue that it is an oligopoly (more than one, but very few). I'll believe it when I see it.

1. I don't do cable/satellite.

2. How can TV companies integrate the web in their programming? If you know, I predict you will be a very wealthy person.

And I don't mean the type of boring shows where the hosts read blogs to their audience. Yes, you read right: read blogs to the audience. If it's good enough for CNN every other news chain should do it, too (And some are). It's as exiting as watching yourself breathing - on a mirror.

3. On a final note, Microsoft will probably end up doing something about this type of passive users with their new XBox 360 (and beyond) - What Microsoft really wants is to control the living room with their entertainment computer system. They already have a big check beside the "Control desktop market" todo item.

I'm sure someone is already developing some technology to quickly add a URL as a bookmark item into your browser by cliking some button in your TV remote control. Better yet, have the commercial send a signal to your browser's bookmark or "favorites" list.

It's the new way: you watch TV, but at the end of the program you can visit the web sites that interest you.

Of course, this system can be abused. Imagine all the stupid SPAM URLs you'll get in your bookmarks. I'm sure though, that all those millions of R&D dollars can solve a couple of these problems. Also, most TV advertisers still care about their corporate image, so SPAM may not be such a big problem after all.

11:52 PM | 0 comment(s) |


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