Are You (and your kids) TV Ready?

The seminal marketing (see Doc’s comment below) book for the digital age was The Cluetrain Manifesto, first published in 1999. The first thesis was “Markets are conversations,” and I immediately sensed that this line of thinking would become my own, for I couldn’t argue with the book’s wisdom. It is still highly relevant today, especially if you’re lacking some foundational thinking about the web. It’s available for free here.

Dan Gillmor’s “We the Media” in 2004 and J.D. Lasica’s “Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation” in 2005 were the first two books to generally describe the disruption of personal media. J.D., in fact, coined the phrase “personal media revolution” to tag what was about to descend upon our culture. And, oh boy, has it ever! I was so convinced of its certainty, that I dedicated many years to study it and report back to television clients about the enormity of it all.

Nobody cared. They were making too much money doing things the old way, and that was professional media’s great downfall. These executives could only see as far as their business model could carry them. They were married to one-to-many marketing and too blind to even see the disruption of targeting individual browsers. Online, I would tell them, afforded two-way advertising wherein the ad was served to eyeballs, but the server received information back from the ad. It was obvious to some of us that the pros were doomed.

When I was teaching college students, they’d ask, for example, what’s the best way to get to be a sportscaster? My response was always, “Just BE a sportscaster. Establish your brand. Blossom where you’re planted. You don’t need the institution to ‘do’ sports, not when you can do it on your own.”

The web loathes filters and their roadblocks, which it views as inefficient annoyances that serve no useful purpose. The web’s basic function is to connect people in a 3‑dimensional media form. It can be one-to-many, many-to-one, and most importantly, many to many, thus turning every browser into a form of media company itself, including the people formerly known as the advertisers.

The personal media revolution has advanced so far today (and it’s got a long, long way to go yet) that everyday people have been able to exploit the free time granted them through the coronavirus to explore beyond surfing or connecting via social media. No institution has been more impacted that adult entertainment. Yup, that’s right; good old porn. For the uneducated, Only Fans and many other similar sites offer software that enables anybody to become a porn star and get paid directly by the audiences they “serve.” This same concept is giving new light to each of the arts, and this is a good thing for our culture.

While this is highly chaotic to many other institutions of the West (and I could go on), but the aspect of this that needs the most discussion is how TV itself is being reinvented. The very definition of the TV is changing. In the beginning, it was reserved for broadcasters only. As each new form of video delivery appeared on the scene, they, too, were tagged (by the disruptors) as “TV.”

And today, YouTube is exploding with fresh content posted by this personal media revolution, and they are called “TV.” In the world of Reality TV, the vast majority of contestants are seasoned TV performers before they set foot on the set. In truth, those who apply to be on reality shows see the experience as a way to dramatically increase their individual influence on social media as experienced TV performers.

On the show Married at First Sight (MAFS), this same thinking applies, although this show can involve some very unusual contestants. Take Henry, of Henry and Christina, one of the couples married at first sight in the current season. Henry is, well, a little quirky with quite an awful set of parents who doubtless contributed to his lack of social skills. Reddit, that online gathering of talkative people with opinions who enjoy the company of others of a similar ilk, has a whole section on MAFS.

One Redditor (as they’re called) who goes by NoWayJeFe, had this to say about Henry: “Decent guy just not TV ready.” It would seem being “TV ready” is a prerequisite for appearing on these sorts of shows, but it speaks volumes about where we are as a society. It would seem that from the earliest years, kids are now learning how to be “TV ready” from the time they face their first cameras and microphones, even if it’s just an iPad.

There’s the Barbie TV News Team dolls, where little girls can pretend to be the real thing. Take a quick look at YouTube’s kids channels, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of kids playing TV. It’s almost a rite of passage these days, and in so doing, these kids and teens are learning what we all have known for a long time in the world of television news: it’s just not all that hard to do. Sorry if I’m toe-stepping here, but it’s just much, much easier than all the “broadcast” schools would have us believe. I mean, where’s the money for an industry that can be easily duplicated with an iPhone?

Think TV has shot its wad in 2020? Think again, because there are no rules to these youngsters as they invent their own uses for the video medium. They start by copying but soon move to innovating. Those who pretend its rocket science are slowly going to fade into the setting sun.

To parents and grandparents, are your kids TV ready? If not, that would be a great investment for their future. Get them what they need to make media. Buy usernames or obtain them for free on the various sites that require them. They will fight their own media wars downstream, and those who’ve been properly prepared will have a head start.

But what do I know, right? We’ll see. Maybe I won’t see how far it goes, but you certainly may. And, those kids of yours will be the ones who’ll need these skills the most.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey local TV. This remains a viable business opportunity. You balked at it all those years ago, but it’s still there. Who better to teach local people to be TV ready than local TV?)

More fun with headlines

It’s time to play “Fun with Headlines.”

The Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) held its “Forward” conference this week, so there have been a few headlines this week about the future and especially the future of TV. These form a fascinating, albeit confusing, narrative.

MediaDailyNews offers TVB President Defends TV ‘Value Proposition’.

To hear TVB President Steve Lanzano tell it, Henry Blodget isn’t any better at writing about the media than he was researching stocks for Wall Street. In his opening remarks kicking off the TVB’s Forward Conference Wednesday morning, Lanzano challenged a recent story by Blodget, the disgraced research analyst-turned blogger who declared that the TV industry was headed toward collapse.

Lanzano asserted that Blodget “didn’t let the facts get in the way of” his reporting.

“Our value proposition has never been better,” declared Lanzano, citing various third-party sources to make his case.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the Blodget piece that Lanzano referenced. Here’s a link to my response.

Diana Marszalek at TVNewsCheck delivered Ryviker: Local broadcast TV is here to stay

Despite an unstable economy and increased competition, traditional television is apparently holding its own in getting its share of advertising dollars.

“The investment community thinks broadcast TV is going away, but we are not seeing that,” says Marci Ryvicker, who covers media for Wells Fargo Securities.

“You still have growth in the industry and that’s a really important concept.”

From Mobile Marketer, we were given Tablet users’ TV consumption is heavy across mobile, traditional outlets: report

Tablet users who stream television programming on their devices watch more regular TV, not less, according to a new report from The Diffusion Group.

Marketers are concerned that as consumers spend more time consuming TV content via tablets, this will cannibalize high-value prime-time TV viewership, thereby diluting the impact of their ads. However, the research suggests this should not be a concern, with 39 percent of 18–49 year olds reporting that their tablet viewing has lead to an increase in regular TV viewing.

TVNewsCheck also published its annual consensus spot TV forecast, and saw positive signs in the auto industry. 2013 Spot TV: Total Down 7.8%, Core Up 4%

According to broadcasters, reps and analysts surveyed by TVNewsCheck, the revenue driver at TV stations next year will be automotive, which our survey participants say will be up around 8%.

Finally, another headline from TVNewsCheck’s Diana Marszalek, Don’t Take The Auto Recovery For Granted

Despite pretty rosy predictions for car-related TV ad sales in 2013, an auto industry analyst says the business is not rebounding like it should.

“The truth is that auto sales … are actually worse than they would have been in a typical bad recession,” says Itay Michaeli, Citi Investment Research’s VP of U.S. autos.

So you see, it’s easy to grab a couple of headlines to make the case that everything’s fine (*waves fingers* “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”). I recommend caution, however. For one thing, Henry Blodget isn’t nearly as incompetent as the TVB would have you believe, and the auto industry is already adjusting marketing due to decreased sales.

Until next time…