A message every station owner/manager needs to read

This quote is from Nick Pahade, Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Beyond Interactive, in a nice little summary of online advertising’s current state by DoubleClick.

2005 will truly be the year of the consumer. No longer will advertisers be in control of when, where, and how advertising is received by the mainstream consumer. The days of a family of four gathered around the TV set at 8:00 p.m. to watch a prime time show is a distant memory. If you are lucky enough to get one person’s TV-time attention — away from their computer, gaming console, cell phone, or iPod — then they are just as likely to skip, zap or fast-forward your message as watch it. The challenge in 2005 and beyond is getting consumers to want your message by providing real value to them in all the forms of media and new digital communication they receive. Consumers are paying for their entertainment at an ever greater rate, and unless you meet their needs, your brand has little value to them.
A lot of television companies believe (and consultants sell) the idea that their brand will carry them regardless of the disruptive innovations at work in the marketplace. This is a very dangerous assumption, because brand means nothing in a Postmodern world. As Mr. Pahade notes, it’s now all about meeting needs, and in the case of local media companies, that’s all about news and information — and in certain cases, entertainment.

I’m amazed at the number of my TV colleagues who don’t understand that they are the ultimate sellers of a service (news, entertainment) in their communities. Local stations are also the largest advertisers in a market, although they often limit their ads to their own medium. Everything that applies to our clients also applies to us, and that includes comments like Mr. Pahade’s.

I recently did some research for a broadcasting company and found that while many people still watch local news and read newspapers, they increasingly believe that those forms are less useful than the Internet. How many times have we heard that the news just isn’t relevant to viewers, yet we do nothing about it.

My mission in life these days, it seems, is to help stations figure out that their broadcast signal is only a part of the picture in terms of meeting the information needs of the communities they serve. This isn’t theory; it’s fact. And Mr. Pahade spells it out: “…unless you meet their needs, your brand has little value to them.”

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