The Digital Signage Insider

How much influence should digital media networks have?

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With so much hype around the recent downturn in the advertising business, many people, myself included, have questioned Madison Avenue's continued focus on TV and other traditional media (some of my articles that have touched on this include TiVo Users Have Advertisers Thinking, Dynamic digital signage drives sales, improves brand recognition, says research firm and Digital Signage Statistics Suggest Digital Signs Better for Recall than TV).  While this view continues to perpetuate itself (mostly through Internet channels and other "non-traditional" media outlets), industry research and a bunch of smart people seem to think that TV advertising will continue to get along just fine... it's the format that will change.

More specifically, according to Tim Manners and Karen Post at Fast Company, "It's not that television advertising is dead. It's that advertisers no longer understand television."  Their argument is essentially that the traditional notion of TV as the box in the living room that gets passively consumed by viewers is no longer sufficient.  Instead, the term "television" now encompasses anything that can carry a moving image to a consumer, including things like in-store kiosk networks rich email, and dynamic display networks.  So now, the real culprit isn't the television, who can't compete with cool interactive technologies for eyeballs, it's the advertisers themselves, who haven't adapted to the notion that there might be more than one way to make contact with prospective customers.  As they sum it up, "[the o]dd part is, many of the very talented people who create the very best advertising can't seem to break free of the notion that television is something we watch only passively, normally at home -- and that advertising is something that varies mostly only in terms of length."

Meanwhile, back over on the information side of TV content production, the quality, validity and even authenticity of traditional news outlets have come under fire from the new media front-line: bloggers.  By now, everybody has heard about how Dan Rathers and CBS News got taken down by those scrappy upstarts after they aired a controversial (and in retrospect, contrived) piece on George W. Bush's record in the National Guard.  And while many hailed the work of these cyber-sleuths who exposed and then publicized the problems with the mighty TV news outlet, others started to wonder whether the blogsphere -- the collective intelligence created by the interlinked blog network -- will become (or already has become) a suitable replacement for TV and printed news.  Bernard Moon from Always On Network has written an interesting piece about this very notion, and comes to the conclusion that while the increased transparency and accountability of blogging makes it well suited to reporting up-to-the-second news, individual blogs will always be subject to the beliefs and ideologies of their principle authors and editors.

The potential benefit for those of us in the digital retailing space is first and foremost the validation of our medium.  Along with the prospect of better information content becoming available to digital media network owners, advertisers and viewers will all benefit from the new authenticity that our medium will enjoy.  Likewise, as others (read: advertising and marketing firms) also begin to understand this new definition of "television", they may become more open to treating out-of-home media networks as valuable commodities and a source of new revenues, instead of fearing them as new competition.


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