Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

John BullThe English are said to have a richer appreciation of irony than most other races except perhaps the French – but then that nation’s spécialité du préférénce is cynicism!

Let’s not squabble about national partialities. However you look at it,  there’s there’s a splendid incongruity about the fact that glitzy, modish online brands last year spend a cool £180m [€206.6m; $279m] to promote their offerings on dowdy, old-fashioned British TV.

Difficult to know who’ll milk this succulent anomaly with the most glee: Britain’s TV marketing body Thinkbox – or the local chapter of the IAB. The former will claim the data is evidence of the efficacy of its medium; the latter will hype it as proof of the growing supremacy of the online platform.

According to data churned out by Nielsen Media Research on Thinkbox’s behalf, online brands’ TV spend increased from £10m in 2004 to £180m in 2009.

TVsetOldThe trade body, accustomed as it is to being caught on the back foot vis-a-vis revenue trends, claims the growth in spend by cyber-traders is evidence that TV can help generate online traffic – basing this assumption on Nielsen’s finding that 94% of people claimed to have gone online as a direct result of something they saw on TV.

MoonWink is unaware of the spin applied by the IAB to this latest TV spend data but the body will almost certainly select whatever convenient figures are supplied by its bean-counting valet Pricewaterhousecoopers.

Meantime, the research suggests that the effectiveness of TV in driving online traffic has been boosted by simultaneous web-browsing and TV viewing, claiming that some 54% of online consumers go online at the same time as watching TV.

C’mon guys, pull the other leg! The TShoppingCartV may still be switched-on (probably in another room) but don’t push credulity over the brink!

Still, the main point is this: whichever medium might the most efficacious – the TV/web combo appears to shift product. Which is the only true name of adland’s game.

Wasn’t it in 1955 when commercial TV first hit the UK that the term ‘cross-media campaigns’ first came into being?

Nah! As any meeja studies student will tell you, it became common currency around 1785 when some pushy genius started sticking handbills on walls to coincide with the birth of The Times of London!


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Ball: was he first to blink?

Ball: was he first to blink?

Tony Ball, one-time Clan Murdoch enforcer and erstwhile ceo of NewsCorp’s UK satellite fiefdom BSkyB, has pulled out of his protracted job negotiations with Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV plc, according to a report on the BBC’s website today.

Ball was tipped by this blog as ITV’s choice for the ceo’s hotseat six weeks before it emerged publicly that he had entered into i-dotting and t-crossing negotiations with ITV’s board and major shareholders.

Having set this weekend as the deadline to agree terms, Roller-Ball won the day vis-a-vis the number of trailing zeros that would have adorned annual paycheck.

But he was seemingly the first to blink in his stare-out with ITV honchos over his demand to veto the company’s choHeadtoHeadice of a new chairman – former Reed Elsevier ceo Sir Crispin Davis, currently languishing in the publishing giant’s departure lounge.

As the BBC commented with exquisite delicacy: “Many will understand why ITV’s board felt it inappropriate that a chief executive should have a veto on who should have the role of holding the very same chief executive to account.”

The moneymen were mildly miffed at the news, with ITV shares slipping 1.2 pence to 45.3 pence.

Staff morale, however, is believed to have soared!

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TV is dead ... long live TV!

TV is dead ... long live TV!

No question but that broadcast TV profits are down. But this is due primarily to (a) recession) and (b) misperception among agencies and marketers that web/social media have the same level of consumer engagement as TV.

They don’t – not the ilk of Twitter and Facebook anyway – both of which have the fascination and engagement level of ant-hill watching. In other words: you may be fascinated by the goings-on but you don’t feel part of them!

Outside looking in?

Outside looking in?

TV works – or fails to work – according to the level of viewers’ emotional empathy with the brand. Successful use of the medium integrates the viewer into the action; social media leaves the viewer on the outside looking in.

Trouble is, though, that online media will continue to snatch share from traditional media as agencies will continue – as they have for decades – with their Pavlovian obsession with the flavour of the month.

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Anybody's guess!

More accurate?

Media economist Jack Myers forecasts an adspend dive of 13.3%in 2009, and a further 4.8% sag in 2010. Oh, really?

Why does anyone takes such adspend forecasts seriously, MoonWink wonders? Most are based on agencies’ over-egged optimism, ratecard prices [and that’s a notion funnier than Jim Carrey!] and other analysts’ best guesses – the latter often tailored to fit another predetermined agenda.

If such data really matters to you, try rolling dice. They’ll be as accurate!

Moreover, these forecasts are rarely (if ever) reviewed retrospectively. There’d be blood on the carpet if they were! Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Someone  looking?

Mencken: Inner voice?

“Conscience,” opined the late, great American wit, journalist and literary critic H L Mencken, “is the inner voice that warns us someone may be looking.”

Mencken’s dictum struck home among the adveratti a couple of decades back as it finally dawned on the trade that something had to be done about it’s excesses before the politicians and Joe Public finally lost patience.

Since when there has been a procession of half-hearted, limp-wristed attempts to impose a set of workable rules that wouldn’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

A realisation now confronting the adolescent internet advertising industry.

Within the exponentially expanding fish-tank of online marketing and media, there’s growing concern that US lawmakers could soon intervene on issues concerning the collection of personal data, according to US trade journal AdWeek.

It’s certainly an outcome encouraged by the vociferous privacy and public interest lobbies, currently bending ears in and around Washington DC.


Zaneis: Behavioural believer

Blather, balderdash, bosh and bilge, splutters Mike Zaneis, vice-president of public policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who claims that  the real goal of the privacy campaigners is to eradicate behavior-based advertising, one of the most promising areas of innovation.

“They don’t believe in behavioral advertising,” he said. In which, of course, the IAB understandably does believe. Implicitly. According it a status akin to Holy Writ.

On the other side of the battlefield, the call to arms is taken-up by Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum: “We want consumers to be able to take advantage of all of the new technologies without the technologies taking advantage of the consumers. Right now, that balance is not there.”

Jeffrey Chester, executive director of lobbyist, the Center for Digital Democracy, is of like mind. Industry self-regulation, in the form of the IAB’s  Network Advertising Initiative, he avers, has failed.

Chester claims that tracking from all directions besets consumers with opt-out notices buried in legalese on hidden privacy statements. “The one thing that’s crystal clear that’s emerged so far is that, as in almost any industry, self-regulation doesn’t work.”.

And that assertion, italicized above, finally brings MoonWink  to the point of this article. Exactly how effective, if at all, is advertising self-regulation?

It’s a question aptly answered by a famed cartoon (circa 1895) from the long defunct British humorous magazine Punch.

Bishop to new, young curate beset with queasiness at the aged state of his egg:" Your egg is not bad, I hope?" Curate to Bishop: "Oh no, my Lord. It is exceedingly good ikn parts!"

Bishop to new, young curate beset with queasiness at the aged state of his egg: "Your egg is not bad, I trust, Mister Simpkins?" Curate to Bishop: "Oh no, my Lord. I assure you it is exceedingly good in parts!"

Yup, like the curate’s egg, self-regulation is exceedingly good in parts. On occasions. And with a following wind.

But, as with the dollar-generating ambiguities of law, so with adland’s self-imposed rules as to what is – or is not – permissible in advertising. And where. And to whom.

Booze is a good example. In the UK, for instance, a sanctimonious entity known as The Portman Group, funded in its entirety by large multinational pedlars of alcohol, preaches moderation and responsibility in drinking. And on behalf of its paymasters Portman tuts like a proverbial auntie at the frequent nationwide instances of alcohol-fuelled behavioural excess and violence.

Responsible drinking?

Responsible drinking?

Such antisocial goings-on are directly connected to the self-same booze-pushers’ stratagem of  ‘Happy Hours’ and other ongoing promotional events at bars and pubs throughout the country. Events that are, of course, intended to encourage moderation and responsibility in drinking!

Self-regulation in TV advertising is a similar cynical mockery. While medical professionals and dieticians condemn the peddling of high salt/calorie/sugar junk foods to children and and teens, over-exposed millionaire former sporting heroes and TV pundits continue to push these poisonous products to kids via  networked TV.

While the ad industry to its eternal discredit vigorously lobbies government and media regulators to further  ‘liberalize’ the current latitudinary rules.

Meantime, the letter of the law is adhered to – usually by the merest whisker! The spirit, however, is up for grabs.

Moreover, the foregoing examples relate solely to the UK – a nation almost Stalinist in its media controls compared with the USA, much of Latin America and Asia.

Makes you proud to be a marketer, doesn’t it?

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Darwin, he aint!

Clan Murdoch versus the 'Creationists'!

The scion of a media mogul and bearer of a fine old Caledonian name (who himself was the scion of a media mogul of that ilk) stood before an audience of his peers in Scotland’s ancient capital on Friday 28 August and socked-it to ’em in a manner of which poppa would have been proud.

Reminiscent of a cyborg Daniel in the lion’s den, the chairman/ceo [by proxy*] of News Corporation, Europe and Asia stood, before the arrayed hostility of the Edinburgh International Television Festival and manfully delivered this year’s keynote MacTaggart Lecture.

Murdoch minimus didn’t, of course, jet-in solely for the glory of delivering this annual set piece to the British TV establishment. No Siree. He had something to get off his chest – just like poppa when he delivered a similar paean to unfettered capitalism in 1989.

Wee Jamie [*who owes his present position to the disinclination of elder brother Lachlan to work under Rupert’s yoke] inveighed against the British government in general – and the BBC in particular – for failing to operate in accordance with the principles upon which the Murdoch dynasty was founded and has prospered.

An unlikely Murdoch ally?

Rooting for Rupert?

Citing this years’ centenary of the publication of The Origin of the Species, Murdoch minimus compared the BBC and the UK establishment with the ‘creationists’ who railed against Charles Darwin’s upturning of the Christian myth.

And whilst it’s invidious to mention Darwin and wee Jamie in the same breath – there are those [including this scribe] who agree wholeheartedly with some of the latter’s cavils, e.g …

Yes, the BBC is saddled with a top-heavy management structure and a controlling trust chaired and populated by out-to-grass members of the British establishment.

Yes, the BBC does appear to be vying with its commercial rivals to peddle populist formulaic crap to the proletariat.

Yes, the BBC has failed miserably to cater for those who prefer a TV diet free from the endless round of so-called ‘reality’ shows, cop sagas, hospital and other soaps, in-yer-face sitcoms, property makeover programmes and ancestral anus-gazing.

And yes, the present British government is responsible for the creation of communications regulator Ofcom – a  fatuous hybrid whose primary activity appears to be digging holes for the sole purpose of filling them in again.

Pops and Jamie don’t care for this situation one teensy bit. The Beeb eats into Sky’s market for mind-numbing TV trivia, while the publicly-funded corporation’s extra-curricular activities provide unwelcome, cross-subsidized competition in the internet and publishing arenas.

But at the end of the day, aren’t the former and present UK prime ministers, Blair and Brown, and Clan Murdoch birds of a feather?

All are driven by the quest for self-enrichment and power while a docile population – drugged by media mediocrity –  obediently performs its obligation to consume, consume and consume again!

Media dinosaurs battle it out!

Primeval media monsters ...

For those who relish Kong-like spectacles such as a fight unto the death between primeval media monsters, MoonWink reproduces (courtesy of MediaGuardian) the following exchange.

“At an official dinner following the [MacTaggart] speech, Murdoch and [over-exposed BBC business editor] Robert Peston – who were sitting with the Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark and BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons – became involved in a discussion about banking deregulation which progressed to the flashpoint of whether or not the BBC was patrician.

“According to those who were there, Murdoch apparently banged the table and shouted: ‘How dare you?’ with Peston shouting back: If you think you can get fucking angry, I can get fucking angry.'”

By such informed debate between the representatives of Mammon and the Establishment are our drab lives shaped!

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Having a Ball

Ball's Up !

Divination being one of MoonWink’s myriad skills, he predicts that before this week is out, the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV will have opened the box to reveal the identity of its new head honcho.

The name inside will not be that of the current frontrunner Simon Fox (see today’s FT) but that of Tony Ball, former ceo of NewsCorp’s BSkyB and one of Rupert Murdoch’s few henchmen able to out-stare his boss.

You heard it first from MoonWink!

Postscript: Any such appointment would have no connection whatever with BSkyB’s current (unwanted) 17.9% stake in ITV. As if !

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