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Archives » Don’t Believe the Hype

Viewers Claim To Tune Out During Election Season

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

A new survey commissioned by MGH, an integrated marketing communications agency, found that 32% of survey respondents change the channel as soon as a political advertisement airs and during political news coverage, and nearly half (47%) of viewers will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad.

The Baltimore agency commissioned the survey to find if consumers change their viewing habits during election season.

As usual, the vast majority (88%) of respondents said they are turned off by negative political advertising. But as usual, the negative ads work.

Younger millennials aged 18-24, skewed higher in some measures:

  • Forty-five percent change the channel during political news coverage.
  • Thirty-nine percent change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement.
  • Twenty percent are more likely to watch programs online, and 19% are more likely to record programs they want to watch to avoid commercials.

"This year's election is gearing up to be a tight race, and with tens of millions of advertising dollars being put toward mudslinging political television ads, marketers need to pay attention to some of these statistics to make sure that their consumers aren't changing the channel on their clients," said MGH President, Andy Malis. "During election years, television advertising space is limited and more expensive, so advertisers need to get creative and integrated with their media campaigns to ensure their message is getting through the clutter."

The key takeaways, according to MGH, are that marketers have the potential to lose more than one-third of their potential audience if a political ad airs – and nearly half if a negative political ad airs – in the same commercial block as theirs. Additionally, marketers that target the younger millennials may have an even tougher time reaching this audience through TV ads.

Still the spending is high, and a report released in March from Borrell Associates forecasts that out of the $9.8 billion that will be spent on political advertising for this year’s election, $5.6 billion will go toward broadcast TV and $939 million toward cable TV advertising. The New York Times estimates that at least $50 million worth of ads will appear in swing states in the next several weeks, about five months out from the election.

Time will tell if these viewers actually do tune out as they claim. Viewership was very strong during the GOP debates. ABC claimed big ratings for its “Your Voice, Your Vote – Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire” broadcast. Nielsen tallied 6.25 million viewers, including 1.73 million Adults 25-54 and 1.40 million Adults 18-49. The ABC debate topped the Fox News Channel’s December 15 debate with 1.31 million viewers.

According to January figures from The Pew Research Center for The People & The press, it is true that fewer Americans are closely following the campaign than four years ago. Cable TV leads among sources at 36%, but the Internet is next to last at 25% and has not grown in significance since 2007. So, those younger-skewing voters who claim to get ad-free news online might be exaggerating, or simply disinterested. Just 20% of those younger than 30 claimed to follow the campaign closely, down from 31% in 2008. But because younger voters skew Democrat, they may prick up their ears as the conventions and election near.

Equation Research conducted the survey in April 2012 on behalf of MGH. Equation surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18+ who had seen at least one political advertisement recently, located in states where presidential primaries had taken place.

Cross Media: Will “First Digital Olympics” Fall Flat?

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

The broadcast press is abuzz about the “first truly digital Olympics.” But should ad buyers be robbing their TV budgets to run banners on NBCSports.com? Maybe not. As PaidContent reports, online consumption of the 2012 Olympiad will not be as widespread as NBC predicted: That according to research from the online sports broadcaster Perform Group, in their Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2012.

Perform Group surveyed sports enthusiasts worldwide, to find that:

  • Only 9% of UK sports fans and 16% in the US plan to view the Olympiad online
  • Just 3% of UK fans and 7% in the US plan to watch any Olympic content over smartphones
  • 64% of Brits and 71% of Yanks will watch via regular TV

Interestingly, 70% of Chinese intend to watch the games online. But as WebProNews describes, research groups in every country but China concentrated on a representative sample from all adults, while in China, the survey was taken amongst “tech-savvy” consumers in major municipalities.

BBC Sport in the UK plans to broadcast or stream 2,500 hours of the games across TV, Internet, mobile and tablet forms. And the International Olympic Committee plans to stream the entire event across YouTube. Finally, all 32 sports at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be streamed live at nbcolympics.com, as the New York Times reported in April. As PaidContent observes, “we will believe actual online viewing habits when we see them.”

CEA: Consumers Use HDTV Like An iPad

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

As video consumption increases and viewing devices vary, consumers are still using televisions most often to watch video, according to The Evolving Video Landscape study released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). So should ad buyers take back those digital dollars they robbed from TV budgets? Not necessarily. Consumers are increasingly using televisions like iPads, for social media, music and web browsing.

Consumers are watching more video than they have in the past, across a variety of platforms. One-third of U.S. adults online (34%) say they watch more video content today than they did a year ago. Viewing of television video programming is up 28%, with consumers citing convenience and the appeal/variety of programming as the top factors for increased viewing. Viewing of content on portable devices has also increased, with 40% watching more on those devices today than a year ago.

Many consumers (66%) who are watching video content on television are simultaneously using other consumer electronics (CE) devices. This behavior is more prevalent among younger consumers, as 85% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 70% of 25- to 34-year-olds multitask with another device while watching video on a television. U.S. adults online report watching some type of video content an average of 3.2 hours a day, five days per week.

Televisions continue to be the most commonly used device for watching video but other devices are gaining in popularity. HDTVs are the most prevalent devices used for video viewing, used by two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. adults online. Computers are also commonly used to watch video, with 62 percent using a laptop to watch video and 55% using a desktop. One-third (33%) of consumers are using their smartphones to watch video content, and 17% are using their tablets.

“Consumers are watching more video than they have in years past and they are seeking devices and technologies that deliver a quality video and audio experience,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research. “However, younger consumers accustomed to multitasking are defining new video behaviors as they watch video content across multiple platforms, on their own schedule, all while interacting socially on their devices with their friends.”

Televisions have also emerged as a device that can do more than just play video. Among consumers using televisions to watch video content, nearly half (47%) also use their sets for other purposes. One in three (34%) consumers who use a television to watch video also use their set to listen to music, and one in five (21%) uses a television to listen to audio. Usage also varies by age and the type of display owned. Younger consumers, those under age 25, rely on their TVs more for music, social media, going on the Web and communicating. Consumers with Internet-enabled TVs use their displays in a number of ways as well: 47% listen to music, 28% use social media, 26% surf the Web and 23% view photos.

Future television purchases will be based on better picture quality and larger screen sizes as consumers will continue to seek the latest innovations in the market. Almost half (48%) of consumers planning to purchase a TV in the next 12 months will be replacing an aging, obsolete or broken set. However, half (51%) desire improved picture quality in a new display and half (50%) want a larger screen size. One in four (24%) consumers with intentions to purchase a TV over the next year expect to purchase a 3DTV; 21% plan to purchase an OLED display; and a quarter of consumers (25%) plan to purchase an Internet-enabled TV. While stated purchase intentions do not always translate to transactions, the study clearly shows many consumers have their eyes fixed on newer TV technologies.

“Easy access to the Web makes TVs more versatile, allowing us to stay connected, informed and entertained,” said DuBravac. “In the future, new technologies, like OLED and 3D, will continue to improve the viewer experience, and Internet-enabled sets will fulfill consumers’ desires to be connected.”

The Evolving Video Landscape Study (April 2012) was conducted between February 22 and March 2, 2012. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies at members.CE.org. Non-members may purchase the study at the CEA Store.

National Magazine Awards: Big Surprise - Magazine of the Year Winner An Ad Page Loser

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Something is off, when the best magazine of the year cannot attract advertisers.

At last night's Ellie Awards in New York, held by the American Society of Magazine Editors, Magazine of the Year Winner was TIME. But as Folio details, TIME fell almost 21% from 286.95 ad pages in Q1 2011 to 227.01 pages in Q1 2012. Rival Newsweek enjoyed a 27.5% spike to 183.26 pages in Q1 2012.

National Magazine Awards 2012 Winners and Finalists
MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
Winner: TIME

Finalists: Esquire; New York; The New Yorker; Popular Mechanics.
 

GENERAL EXCELLENCE, PRINT
General-Interest Magazines
Honors large-circulation weeklies, biweeklies and general-interest monthlies
Winner: Bloomberg Businessweek
Finalists: GQ; New York; The New Yorker; Vice

Women’s Magazines
Honors women’s magazines, including health and fitness magazines and family-centric publications
Winner: O, The Oprah Magazine
Finalists: Glamour; More; Real Simple; W

Lifestyle Magazines
Honors food, travel and shelter magazines as well as city and regional publications
Winner: House Beautiful
Finalists: Bon Appetit; Country Living; Garden & Gun; Texas Monthly

Active- and Special-Interest Magazines
Honors magazines serving targeted audiences, including enthusiast titles
Winner: Inc.
Finalists: The Fader; Field & Stream; Men’s Health; Popular Mechanics

Thought-Leader Magazines
Honors literary, scholarly and professional publications as well as small-circulation general-interest magazines
Winner: IEEE Spectrum
Finalists: The American Scholar; Aperture; The New Republic; Virginia Quarterly Review

DESIGN
Winner: GQ
Finalists: Bloomberg Businessweek; Interview; New York; Wired

PHOTOGRAPHY
Winner: Vogue
Finalists: GQ; Interview; National Geographic; Virginia Quarterly Review

NEWS AND DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY
Winner: Harper’s Magazine for “Juvenile Injustice,” October
Finalists:
Harper’s Magazine for “Uncertain Exodus,” July
National Geographic for “Too Young to Wed,” June
The New York Times Magazine for “From Zero to 104,” September 4
TIME for “Birds of Hope,” January 17

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
Winner: The New York Times Magazine for "Vamps, Crooks & Killers," December 11
Finalists:
National Geographic for “Taming the Wild,” March
TIME for “Portraits of Resilience,” September 19
Vogue for “Lady Be Good,” March
W for “Planet Tilda,” August

SINGLE-TOPIC ISSUE
Winner: New York for “The Encyclopedia of 9/11,” September 5-12
Finalists:
Bloomberg Businessweek for “Steve Jobs,” October 10-16
ESPN The Magazine for “NFL Preview: The Vick Issue,” September 5
Garden & Gun for “Southern Food,” October/November
Wired for “Underworld,” February

MAGAZINE SECTION
Winner: New York for “Strategist”
Finalists:
Bicycling for “Know/How”
Esquire for “Man at His Best”
Real Simple for “Food”
Wired for “Start”

PERSONAL SERVICE
Winner: Glamour for “The Secret That Kills Four Women a Day,” June
Finalists:
Good Housekeeping for “Fractured,” July
Real Simple for “Your Holiday-Spending Survival Guide,” November
Redbook for “Would You Get a ‘Mommy Tuck’?” April
San Francisco for “The New School of Fish,” February

LEISURE INTERESTS
Winner: Saveur for “Italian American,” December
Finalists:
New York for “The Urbanist’s Guide To . . . ,” April 25
Outdoor Life for “Sniper School,” March
Texas Monthly for “Home Plates,” April
Wired for “The Wired Travel Optimizer,” October

PUBLIC INTEREST
Winner: The New Yorker for “The Invisible Army,” June 6
Finalists:
5280 Magazine for “Direct Fail,” December
Harper’s Magazine for “Tiny Little Laws,” February
Marie Claire for “The Big Business of Breast Cancer,” October
Men’s Health for “The Signature Wound,” November

REPORTING
Winner: The New Yorker for “The Apostate,” February 14 & 21
Finalists:
The Atlantic for “Our Man in Kandahar,” November
Los Angeles for “What Happened to Mitrice Richardson?” September
The New Yorker for “Getting bin Laden,” August 8
Vanity Fair for “Echoes From a Distant Battlefield,” December

FEATURE WRITING
Winner: Esquire for “Heavenly Father!” October
Finalists:
GQ for “The Man Who Sailed His House,” October
The New York Times Magazine for “You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!” June 12
The New Yorker for “A Murder Foretold,” April 4
Rolling Stone for “Arms and the Dudes,” March 31

PROFILE WRITING
Winner: D Magazine for “He Is Anonymous,” April
Finalists:
ESPN The Magazine for “Game of Her Life,” January 10
Men’s Journal for “The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See,” March
Rolling Stone for “Santiago’s Brain,” December 8
Sports Illustrated for “Dewayne Dedmon’s Leap of Faith,” November 14

ESSAYS AND CRITICISM
Winner: New York for “Paper Tigers,” May 16
Finalists:
Esquire for “The Loading Dock Manifesto,” May
GQ for “Too Much Information,” May iPad Edition
The New Yorker for “The Aquarium,” June 13 & 20
Slate for “The Stutterer: How He Makes His Voice Heard,” February 22

COLUMNS AND COMMENTARY
Winner: Vanity Fair for columns by Christopher Hitchens
Finalists:
The Atlantic for columns by James Parker
Field & Stream for columns by Bill Heavey
Los Angeles for reviews by Steve Erickson
TIME for columns by Joel Stein

FICTION
Winner: Zoetrope: All-Story for “The Hox River Window,” Fall
Finalists:
The Atlantic for “Scars,” Summer 2011
McSweeney’s Quarterly for “Ambition,” April
McSweeney’s Quarterly for “The Northeast Kingdom,” August
Virginia Quarterly Review for “La Moretta,” Fall
 

comScore: Android Captures Majority Share in Mobile Platforms

Published 2 years ago

Whatever the buzz about the new iPhone and Apple-friendly digital magazines, Google’s Android platform is the king of the hill.
comScore has today released data from its comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending February 2012. comScore found that Google Android continued to grow its share in the U.S. smartphone market, crossing the 50% threshold in February to capture a majority share for the first time in its history.

The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.6% market share.

OEM Market Share

For the three-month average period ending in February, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.6% of U.S. mobile subscribers, followed by LG with 19.4% share. Apple captured the #3 ranking in February with 13.5% of mobile subscribers (up 2.3%), followed by Motorola at 12.8%. HTC moved into the #5 position in February at 6.3% (up 0.4%).

Smartphone Platform Market Share
More than 104 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in February, up 14% versus November. Google Android’s share of the smartphone market eclipsed 50% in February, an increase of 17% since February 2011. Apple ranked second with 30.2% of the smartphone market (up 5% versus year ago), followed by RIM at 13.4%, Microsoft at 3.9% and Symbian at 1.5%.



Mobile Content Usage
In February, 74.8% of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 2.2%. Apps were used by 49.5% of subscribers (up 4.6%), while browsers were used by 49.2% (up 4.8%). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 3.1% to 36.1% of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 32.3% of the mobile audience (up 2.6%), while 24.8% listened to music on their phones (up 3.1%).

Graphic: Ignore Social Media At Your Peril

Published 2 years, 1 month ago

Don't bother with social media ads and branding, unless someone is willing to engage with the viewers, advises MediaBistro. “It’s all well and good signing your brand up for Twitter or emblazoning your logo on a Facebook Page,” writes MediaBistro's Shea Bennett. But the effort is wasted—even harmful—if you do not actively engage with customers, listen to their complaints and deliver first-class support.

Advertisers and marketers value social media for brand engagement, but are notoriously bad at the actual engagement. As MediaBistro describes, “it’s not enough to simply show up – you have to put in the miles,” and a supposed 71% of complaints on Twitter are ignored by the brands.

This infographic from design firm J6 Design summarizes the opportunity (and the burden). As J6 describes it, “Two billion people are online. 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media. Word of mouse = word of mouth. Online culture is THE CULTURE. You can hate social media BUT you can’t ignore it.” The firm advises ignoring Facebook "Likes," which are pointless: measure interactions instead, which a brand can actively drive up with engagement.

Pew Research: News Consumption Up, but News Industry Suffers

Published 2 years, 1 month ago

Where do consumers get their news (and see the ads)? New research suggests that advertisers are better off advertising in a tablet edition of a newspaper, than in the newspaper itself. Also that those advertisers are guaranteed exposures on television, but perhaps wasting their ad spends on Facebook.

Just-released findings by the Pew Research Center suggest that mobile technology fueling news consumption, strengthening the appeal of traditional news brands and even boosting reading of long-form journalism. But, technology companies are strengthening their grip on who profits, according to the 2012 State of the News Media report by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

More than a quarter of Americans (27%) now get news on mobile devices, and for the vast majority, this is increasing news consumption, the report finds. More than 80% of smartphone and tablet news consumers still get news on laptop or desktop computers. On mobile devices, news consumers also are more likely to go directly to a news site or use an app, rather than to rely on search — strengthening the bond with traditional news brands.

While technology may be adding to the appeal of traditional news, technology intermediaries are capturing even more of the digital revenue pie. In 2011, five technology giants generated 68% of all digital ad revenue, according to the market research firm eMarketer — and that does not include Amazon and Apple, which make their money from devices and downloads. By 2015, roughly one out of every five display ad dollars is expected to go to Facebook, according to the same source.

“Our analysis suggests that news is becoming a more important and pervasive part of people’s lives,” PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel said. “But it remains unclear who will benefit economically from this growing appetite for news.”

Social media platforms, meanwhile, grew substantially over the last year, but still play a limited role in daily news consumption. Only about a third as many news consumers follow stories via Facebook as do so by going directly to news websites or apps or by using search, according to new PEJ survey data released here. For Twitter, the proportion drops to less than a sixth as many.
“News organizations have a big opportunity in the social and mobile realms,” PEJ Deputy Director Amy Mitchell said. “But they will need to do a better job than they did in the desktop realm of understanding audience behavior and developing effective technology and revenue models.”

These are some of the conclusions in the ninth edition of PEJ’s annual State of the News Mediareport. The report is a comprehensive analysis of the major trends in news over the last year and includes detailed chapters on eight major media sectors — digital, newspapers, cable news, network TV, local TV news, audio, magazines and ethnic media. This year’s study also includes two new national surveys examining how news is consumed on different devices and the impact of social media on news, a special report on the state of community media and an examination of Native American media.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Americans are far more likely to get digital news by going directly to a news organization’s website or app than by following social media links. Just 9% of U.S. adults say they follow news recommendations from Facebook or Twitter “very often” on any digital device — compared with 36% who say the same about directly going to a news organization’s site or app; 32% who access news through search; and 29% who use news organizing sites like Topix or Flipboard.
  • Even so, social media are an increasingly important driver of news, according to traffic data. According to PEJ’s analysis of traffic data from Hitwise, 9% of traffic to news sites now comes from Facebook, Twitter and smaller social media sites. That is up by more than half since 2009. The percentage coming from search engines, meanwhile, has dropped to 21% of news site traffic, from 23% in 2009.
  • Facebook users follow news links shared by family and friends; Twitter users follow links from a range of sources. Fully 70% of Facebook news consumers get most of their story links from friends and family. Just 13% say most links that they follow come from news organizations. On Twitter, however, the mix is more even: 36% say most of the links they follow come from friends and family, 27% say most come from news organizations, and 18% mostly follow links from non-news entities such as think tanks. And most feel that the news they get on either network is news they would have seen elsewhere without that platform.
  • Most media sectors saw audience growth in 2011 — with the exception of print publications. News websites saw the greatest audience growth (17%) for the year. In addition, thanks in part to the drama of events overseas, every sector of television news gained in 2011. Network news audiences grew 5%, the first uptick in a decade. Local news audiences grew in both morning and late evening, the first growth in five years. Cable news audiences also grew, by 1%, after falling the year before; in particular, MSNBC and CNN audiences grew in 2011, while Fox declined. Print newspapers, meanwhile, stood out for their continued decline, which nearly matched the previous year’s 5% drop. Magazines were flat.
  • Despite audience gains, only the web and cable news enjoyed ad revenue growth in 2011. Online advertising increased 23%, and cable ads grew 9%. Most media sectors, however, saw ad revenues decline — network TV was down 3.7%; magazines ad pages, 5.6%; local news, 6.7%; and newspapers, 7.6%.
  • As many as 100 newspapers are expected in coming months to join the roughly 150 dailies that have already moved to some kind of digital subscription model. In part, newspapers are making this move after witnessing the success of The New York Times, which now has roughly 390,000 online subscribers. The move is also driven by steep drops in ad revenue. Newspaper industry revenue — circulation and advertising combined — has shrunk 43% since 2000. In 2011, newspapers overall lost roughly $10 in print ad revenue for every new $1 gained online. (That suggests no improvement from what a separate PEJ study of 38 papers found regarding 2010, when the print losses to digital gains in the sample were a $7-to-$1 ratio.)
  • The emerging landscape of community news sites is reaching a new level of maturity — and facing new challenges. As some seed grants begin to sunset, a shakeout in community news sites is beginning, along with a clearer model for success. NewWest.net and Chicago News Cooperative are among the prominent community news sites that ceased publishing in 2011 or early 2012. The model for success, epitomized by Texas Tribune and MinnPost, is to diversify funding sources and spend more resources on business—not just journalism.

Research: In-App Purchases Depend On Power Users, Customer Loyalty

Published 2 years, 1 month ago

A mobile application with in-app purchase capability is an advertiser’s dream. In one well-designed app, a company can both brand and sell. But, believes eMarketer, those who make in-app purchasers are not consumers at large, but a segment of power users who are ultra-comfortable with mobile applications.

eMarketer quoted a study called the “Mobile Application Business Model,” released in February by Boston-based intelligence company ABI Research. ABI projects that overall revenues from mobile applications, which include in-app purchases, pay-per-downloads, in-app advertising and subscriptions, will reach $46 billion by 2016. That is a greater than 300% jump over the $8.5 billion earned in 2011.

ABI expects 2012 to the year in which revenue from in-app purchases surpasses pay-per-downloads, fueled by greater availability of in-app in applications other than mobile games.

So far so good.

Media researchers and consultants IHS Screen Digest made their own projections in a January report called “Mobile Media Intelligence Service,” and predicted that in-app purchases will ultimately garner the majority of revenue from smartphone apps. In-app purchases worldwide reached $970 million in 2011, for 39% of total smartphone app revenues, and will reach $5.6 billion or 64% of those revenues by 2015. Smaller figures, but ABI included subscriptions and ad sales in its forecast.

But a third firm, Localytics, discovered that the majority of in-app purchases to date are made by high-level or “power users” of applications—chiefly games. In January, Localytics (a mobile app analytics provider) found that 44% of those users who made an in-app purchase did so after their 10th session in the app. Only 22% did so in their first session.

eMarketer remarks that to capitalize on in-app purchasers, developers and marketers must “get non-power users interested in making purchases,” and include in-app purchase options in applications besides games.

But developers, advertisers and marketers have already done so. The way Localytics describes its own research, “Although it may seem like getting users to the sale proposition quickly is ideal…building relationships with app users and fostering long-term usage are more important.” Loyal customers generate 25% more in-app purchases. Games are not the only type of application that generates multiple visits. Loyalitics' own customer base includes publishers Bonnier, National Geographic, The New York Times and The Boston Globe, as well as Hulu and Rhapsody. Presumably, apps for newspapers, music download and streaming media sites generate repeat and loyal customers as well.

The takeaway may be to cease to define the "power app user" as a mobile-game-addicted millennial, but to include the daily news reader or music enthusiast. He or she may not make a purchase immediately, but this research suggests, they will in time.

Administration’s Privacy Initiative Likely No Death Knell for Ad Targeting

Published 2 years, 1 month ago

The Obama administration has made it formal: in a report released yesterday, the Administration calls upon Congress to enact a privacy bill of rights for web users, and it calls upon companies like Google and Facebook to develop those standards, reports Business Week. Key among the rights is a simple, one-click opt-out of data collection. President Obama said in a statement “Consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules…consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy.”

Putting Google and Facebook in charge is a matter of fox guarding hen houses. Google was caught last week bypassing privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser, which by default blocks cookies. Somehow, as CNN reported, Google tricked the browser into believing the viewer had interacted with an ad, thus giving Google permission to install a test cookie and collect user data. CNN called this just “the latest high-profile flap over online data privacy.” The Federal Trade Commission in 2011 settled complaints against Google, Facebook and Twitter over their handling of consumer data.

But, those companies are just three members of a consortium, which will also include the member organizations of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Those member organizations include the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI). DAA said in a statement that the Administration had called upon it to “[create] robust self-regulation to protect consumer privacy rights and expectations in the advertising-supported Internet,” and claimed to be “honored.”

How honored DAA is has yet to be determined. The DAA earlier in February argued that it “wanted to put all the force of self regulation” behind ensuring consumer privacy, according to an Adweek story. It would police itself. But Adweek also observed that the Google snafu would likely put the kibosh on self regulation: the Administration is likely to legislate privacy measures. In fact, The Commerce Department will with with those companies and organizations—plus privacy advocate groups like the Center for Digital Democracy—to develop those (for now) voluntary standards.

Until any such legislation passes (if indeed), The White House report prescribed broad principles for the use of personal information, which includes giving consumers clear control over what data is collected and how it is used, the Business Week story describes.

Ad Targeting and Do Not Track

As the Business Week story described, privacy advocates are simply opposed to tracking consumers without permission, for purposes of targeted advertising.

DAA General Counsel Stu Inglis argues that online ad networks are willing and able to adhere to the anti-tracking tools available in most Web browsers (e.g., the “InPrivate” option available in Internet Explorer). Thus it is up to Mozilla with Firefox, Microsoft with Internet Explorer and so forth, to solve the opt-in/opt-out dilemma. Google said yesterday it would enable a “do-not-track” button to be embedded in its browser to let users limit information gathered on browsing habits.

No experts have weighed in on the potential impact to targeted advertising. But if Google, Microsoft and the DAA have their way, behavioral tracking will remain standard, and targeted advertising will survive it—perhaps for the better. Opt-in is of course the sign of a qualified sales lead.

Cable Providers Abandon Interactive Ad Venture, But Those Ads Will Be Back

Published 2 years, 2 months ago

The U.S.’s largest cable TV providers have shuttered a venture that would let viewers interact with TV ads, and have laid off 120 employees, reports the Associated Press. Four-year-old Canoe Ventures enabled viewers of eight cable networks (including Bravo, Discovery and AMC) to request information by mail from advertisers by pressing a button on the remote control.
Canoe had a powerhouse roster of backers, which were Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems Corp. and Bright House Networks; but neither viewers nor advertisers were interested.

That does not mean that advanced advertising is dead, reports Broadcasting & Cable. Rather, the effort may have been simply premature, and perhaps too broad in scope. Canoe aimed at becoming “a national standard bearer for interactivity, addressability and data gathering…a one-stop shop that would nationalize advanced TV.”

Of those three functions (interactivity, addressability and data gathering), one agency told Broadcasting & Cable that addressability is the first step. Tracey Scheppach, executive VP and innovations director at media agency VivaKi and its SMGx unit, felt that “being able to measure [advertising] and address it is so much more important than being able to interact with it.” Scheppach believes that the satellite operators and telcos that were excluded from Canoe are further along in deploying addressability to individual households. They have viewer households than cable providers, but a better grip on technology.

Mike Bologna, director of emerging communications at media agency GroupM, believes that Dish Network, DirecTV, Cablevision and Verizon “all have an addressable product in market today,” if not highly advanced ones, “and I think advertisers are going to focus on that for this current year…once we get the right message to the right households, the interactive overlays and the interactive components will become that much more valuable."

Canoe will close its New York office and retain 30 to 35 employees in Denver to better monetize on-demand programming (encompassing TV, tablet, computer and smart phone viewing). The individual operators will pursue interactive TV on their own.