Friday, December 24, 2010

More tipping points have tipped as we tip a glass to 2010

Online advertising to eclipse newspapers ads with video a key driver. Display closing in on paid search. Sneaky contextual ads not fooling DVR owners and liberal arts still matter for fostering entrepreneurship.

When the year-end ad spending totals come in early next month, many forecasters expect to see more dollars under the online advertising column than the newspaper advertising column in 2010 -- including advertising in newspaper online editions. Assuming these projections hold true, it would mark another major milestone for online advertising.

"It's something we've seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point," said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey, in a statement. "Marketers are devoting bigger shares of their budgets to digital media as they see more customers shifting time toward the Web."

Ramsey’s widely cited research expects online ad spending to grow 13.9 percent to $25.8 billion, while advertisers are expected to spend just $22.8 billion on print newspaper ads -- down 8.2 percent year-over-year. Ramsey told Online Media Daily Tuesday that increased consumer use of the Web isn't the only reason marketers are putting more dollars online. "The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising," Ramsey said. "Online ads -- especially search ads -- are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result."

By 2014, eMarketer predicts that growth in spending on online display ads will outstrip that for paid search -- although search will continue to take a greater share of dollars. This year, both search and display are on track to outpace overall U.S. online ad spending, estimated by eMarketer at just under 14 percent. The increase in display advertising will be driven partly by the dramatic rise predicted in online video advertising, set to grow by at least 34 percent every year through 2014. Banner ads will experience more moderate gains of between 7 percent and 16 percent annually, while rich media spending will stagnate.

Do Timeshifting Viewers Pay Attention to commercials in playback?

If you missed our post last week, we shared our take on the new research showing internet viewership has caught up TV. On Tuesday Nielsen trumpteted new findings trying to debunk the myth that time-shifting DVR viewers are NOT skipping through the ads. The DVR is now in nearly 40 percent of U.S. homes. As Nielsen noted, it’s a double-edged sword for advertisers. On one hand, DVRs enable TV networks to hold on to viewers who use time-shifting to watch their favorite shows when it is convenient for them and who might otherwise seek alternate ways to watch programming – or not watch at all. On the other hand, DVRs allow viewers to skip content that doesn’t interest them, including commercials, potentially undermining TV’s longtime ad-supported business model. In its latest report on DVR usage, The Nielsen Company highlighted a number of key findings, including:
• Viewers do watch commercials on their DVRs. Among DVR homes, playback lifts commercial ratings by 44 percent among 18-49s after three days. Among all 18-49 year-old viewers DVR playback adds 16% to commercial ratings after three days
• More than 38% of DVR users are over age 45.
• When DVR playback is included, DVR households watch more primetime programming than non-DVR households.
• Overall, 49% of time-shifted primetime broadcast programming is played back the same day it was recorded, and 88% is played back within 3 days.
• DVR playback peaks at 9pm and 10pm.
Download the full report DVR Use in the U.S.

Here’s our take: While it’s true about 40 percent of US homes have DVRs, and we agree with Nielsen that DVR owners watch more TV and commercials overall than they would otherwise, and the contextual ads within popular shows are getting better and more seamless. However, Nielsen found the most popular time for playback mode is 8-9pm prime time. And as Don Seaman, director of communications analysis for the media agency MPG [] told the New York Times earlier this week, even if DVR users are theoretically watching commercials in playback mode, they’re not doing so with their undivided attention – they’re the ones most likely to be milti-taksing he said, -- texting, Facbooking etc during the commercials, using that as “down time” to do other things until the commercial is over.”

Why liberal arts still matter….entrepreneurship

If you think innovation is the province of those trained in engineering, computer science and high finance, we’d like to remind you that great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere any time, and we suggest your organization makes a full on effort in 2011 to expand its horizons beyond the Product Development Group. Peter Katopes, Interim President, of LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY had a great Letter to the Editor in Tuesday’s New York Times that caught our attention.

Here’s the gist of it: “If it is true that the ‘jobs of the future’ will be different from those of the present and that we need the ‘best and the brightest minds’ to confront future challenges, then what could we better offer our young people than to train their minds through the liberal arts? To confront problems that have not been encountered before requires both a grounding in the past and the skills and understanding to make sense of today’s world.

As for the question of jobs, we hear much about the need for entrepreneurs in business and technology, but what we also need for future prosperity will be an entrepreneurship of the imagination, encouraged by a rigorous immersion in the liberal arts, which might lead to currently unthought-of solutions to currently unimagined problems.“
Amen Peter.

Have a safe, happy Holiday and let’s hit the ground running together in 2011.


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