Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short Takes: 5.27.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:

  • Video Viewing Surges: This week's least surprising interactive news story comes from Mediapost, which reports that online video viewing continues to rise. According to comScore's Video Metrix service, U.S. Internet users viewed 11.5 billion online videos during March, 2008, representing a 13% gain versus February and a 64% gain versus March 2007. Continuing the unsurprising news is that Google sites (primarily YouTube) are the most popular video sites, accounting for 38% of all video viewing, up 2.6 points from the prior month. With so many consumers surfing for video entertainment, you'd have to figure somebody (probably Google) will eventually figure out how to make advertising in or around video clips relevant, welcome, effective, and profitable, wouldn't you?

  • Yahoo On Top; Google Nowhere in Sight: It's not often you can see a category list of top online destinations and not find Google in or near the #1 spot, but in this case they're not even on the list. MediaPost published a list of the top sites for financial news and information; Yahoo leads the list, and Google is notably absent. The search giant has a decent finance site, but for some reason it's never gained traction unlike just about everything else Google touches.

    Another unusual thing about the financial site data is the demographics. How often do you see a demographic breakdown of online users and find less than 10% under the age of 25? This group is older (with a mean around 40 years old) and wealthier (with mean HH income between $75k and $100k). On this blog, I've shared information about how affluent Web users feel (and are) ignored to some extent by online advertisers, so if you're seeking the affluent online, all you need to do is follow the money news.

  • Viacom Threatens the Internet: I normally have little patience for hyperbole, but this time it seems warranted. Google filed court documents that claim Viacom's suit against Google's YouTube, "threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information," and they're right. Viacom is suing the video sharing service for its inability to keep copyrighted material off its site.

    While any owner of Intellectual Property can sympathize with Viacom as it combats the tidal wave of consumers posting its content to YouTube and other video-sharing sites, there seems little chance Viacom can win this suit. According to MediaPost, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides "safe harbor" that protects YouTube from liability for copyrighted material posted by users, and Groklaw notes, "Viacom is essentially asking the court to rewrite the DMCA safe harbor provision, and rewriting the law is exactly what courts are not supposed to do."

    Google has vowed to fight to the Supreme Court if necessary, and with implications that could impact some of the most popular sites and online activities, this case is worth watching.

  • What Makes an Agency "Up and Coming"? According to this interesting article from Mediaweek, the agencies to watch are getting noticed with a focus on search, online experiences, viral content, and social media. Given those are the hottest marketing trends, I guess that should come as no surprise. Check out the brief but informative profiles of five up and coming interactive agencies: 360i, Big Spaceship, Deep Focus, EVB, and Schematic.

    What is interesting is how often in this brief article it is mentioned that an agency leader doesn't think in terms of advertising. Quotes include, "I think the interactive space is moving from media buying...", "When (he) thinks of the model he wants his agency to follow, he talks about architecture, not advertising," "(He) is rethinking the primacy of the ad campaign, which social media is rendering irrelevant," and "(He) has never considered himself an adman." Advertising is dead; long live advertising!

  • Experiential Billboard: Periodically, I run across an Out Of Home execution that really rises above the clutter of ignorable billboards. From Adland comes this Saatchi & Saatchi campaign for Kill Bill featuring a blood-drenched billboard, street, and cars. You may love this or hate it, but you have to admit it's tough to ignore. If a consumer is grossed out by the OOH campaign, they probably weren't a good target for the bloody film in the first place.

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