Advertising - Push or pull?
I confess, I had to read this article (subscription to WSJ Online required) twice before it sank in that the TV networks were asking advertisers for a premium for the estimated number of viewers who watched content on a DVR.
A premium for viewers who skipped the ads when they watched the program? Go figure! The Media buyers (appropriately!) were having none of that argument and balked in the negotiation process with the networks selling their ad slots for the fall season.
The networks contend that there is value in the viewers with DVRs but that flies in the face of reality. With 16% of households with a DVR and growing, the networks (and the advertisers) have to face up to the facts. The majority of advertising is pushed at the viewer and, for the most part, is bland, boring and irrelevant - no surprise that in most households the ads are skipped. To watch live or time-shifting with the DVR is in most cases a no-brainer - DVR every time.
The advertisers have as much role in this as anyone - they need to get more creative and start thinking about advertising that is more compelling or entertaining to watch. Face the facts Madison Avenue, you only get to push advertising in people's faces when they don't have a choice.
Which brings up an interesting point - advertisers need to stop thinking push and think pull. How do you get the viewer to willingly seek out and consume advertising? Virgin Mobile is trying an incentive program where they compensate people for watching advertising with free air time on their cell phones. That's certainly one way but providing advertising that is location relevant could be useful enough that people would pull the ads to their phones.
My hunch is that there will be more and more ways to skip past ads, just like the AdBlock plug-in for Firefox, the DVR etc. Converting from a push to pull could make an interesting new market opportunity as well as benefiting the consumer.