New technology has enabled viewers to bypass traditional media advertising and forced marketers to try new approaches. Consumers have been so empowered by devices like the internet, the iPod, Sony PSP and TiVo that they can now choose to view video content when they want it and not on someone else’s schedule. More importantly, they can view the content without ads. Advertisers are experimenting with new ways of reaching their target customers on these devices, but the decision to watch ad content belongs to the consumer.
Some of the companies trying to reach consumers in this new environment are Disney and Clear Channel, who have just announced separate plans to deliver promotional video content to iPods and PCs. Disney plans to release trailers, clips, interviews, and other film content from The Chronicles of Narnia while Clear Channel will be providing 60-second video segments of the Rush Limbaugh Show.
The companies behind this technology are Maven Networks, who is providing the software platform, and Akamai Technologies, who developed the digital media delivery platform. Maven’s Todd Boes explains the incentive to deliver ad content to these new technologies:
“Consumers are increasingly in control today, and as marketers realize that, they want to deliver their content to them wherever they are.”(ClickZ)
The difference between these new ad delivery systems and the more traditional television format is that consumers would choose to download the ad content rather than be subject to it while watching a show during a prime-time broadcast. This is an important difference. TiVo has also taken steps to revive television advertising by giving subscribers the opportunity to choose ads based on content. I could choose to watch ads for kitchen appliances, for example, from a menu of many ad categories. TiVo believes the system is effective because it gives the viewer control:
“What we’ve learned is, TiVo customers want to know about new products and services but on their own time,” TiVo vp national advertising sales Davina Kent said. (Reuters)
Getting viewers to voluntarily download ads seems like wishful thinking. But assuming TiVo, Disney and Clear Channel will be tracking the number of downloads and viewings, the results will have the final say on whether opt-in advertising pays off.
More on Disney and Clear Channel iPod ads in RedHerring.