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Audience Research & Development
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at AR&D

IN THIS ISSUE:

MOBILE DIGITAL TELEVISION WILL HAPPEN
THE STATE OF ONLINE SHOPPING
HOW TO "BE SOMEBODY" ON TWITTER
FOR THANKSGIVING, LET'S HAVE A LITTLE FAITH
THE MULTIMEDIA REVOLUTION: TEN WRITING TIPS
TOOLS OF THE TRADE - EVERYTHING GOOGLE
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

MOBILE DIGITAL TELEVISION WILL HAPPEN
by Terry Heaton
TV in your handThe race to put a broadcast signal on our smartphones took a step forward last week with the announcement from a consortium of broadcasters that they will equip 20 major markets to receive digital signals at no cost to consumers. The business model is an old one: advertising. This is what I have been touting for five years as the only viable option for local broadcasters to avoid being swept away in the new media culture, so there's a lot at stake.

The Mobile Content Venture (MCV) is a joint venture that includes Fox, ION Television, NBC and Pearl Mobile DTV. The Pearl member companies include: Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, Media General, Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations and Raycom Media. Other broadcasters have expressed their belief that a subscription business model is the way to go, but the failure of Qualcomm's FloTV project may have signaled the end to that idea. People just don't want to pay $15 a month to access broadcast signals. The MCV group's approach makes a lot of sense.

The MCV announcement has brought out the critics, including Steve Smith at MediaPost, who rightly points out that no handset manufacturer currently provides the chip needed for Mobile Digital Television (MDTV) and that the battle to get manufacturers to insert them and the carriers to sell them is unwinnable.

Ultimately carriers and handset OEMs work together to create hardware and business models that satisfy both. Aside from a passing mention of working with "various OEMs and device manufacturers to ensure these devices are available in the second half of 2011," no specific hardware manufacturer or carrier was quoted in the press release supporting the effort. Damn straight they didn't. Because someone at both links in the service chain will have to do the math on this one. They will need to figure out what returns the carriers and OEMs get from a scheme that is supposed to gush ad dollars to someone and redirect mobile users perhaps from the voice and data cash cows both segments of the mobile economy spent years creating.

I think Smith and others underestimate consumer demand, and if broadcasters can strip a program schedule that includes the best of cable, people will demand it on their devices. This, of course, assumes people are aware of it, and that's where broadcasters could do themselves a big favor by beginning the marketing campaign sooner than later. Demand can be created, and broadcasters — if they work together — can make it happen. Free TV on your smartphone is a powerful value proposition, one that's worth going all out to achieve. It's no overstatement to say that the future of local broadcasting depends on it.

In the end, the carriers won't have to "sell" it, because the chip's availability in the handset is what will make it possible. That means the battle is with the manufacturers, and I don't view that as difficult, especially if consumer demand is there.

Watch for Google to support broadcasters in this. Why? Because Google wants things from broadcasters (like programming for Google TV) and is a perfect partner to provide an auction-based advertiser solution that has proximity marketing built in.

No, there's too much at stake for this to simply crash and burn, because it's a tough sale. I applaud the MCV for this initiative and hope we have the courage to aggressively advance the opportunity.   <Link>

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THE STATE OF ONLINE SHOPPING
by Ken Elmore
Santa OnlineIt's been five years since Shop.org coined the phrase "Cyber Monday." The event was billed as an online alternative to Black Friday, scheduled on the following Monday. Shop's target was the online user who had Internet access at work.

It didn't take long for this online shopping frenzy to match the after Thanksgiving Day mall stampedes. The latest data from the National Retail Federation shows nearly 90% of retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday. That is up almost 20% in the last three years.

And how do you think retailers are reaching these online masses? Through online of course, 63% of retailers will send special Cyber Monday alerts via emails and social media.

"When Shop.org coined "Cyber Monday" to illustrate the trend of people shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, we never imagined it would become such a popular phrase in the retail dictionary," said Joan Broughton, Interim Executive Director of Shop.org. "Today, Cyber Monday has become such a crucial component of the holiday season that many retailers — and shoppers — don't remember the holidays without it. And just when we think that Cyber Monday can't get any bigger, it does."

Over half of the people with Internet access at work in the U.S. are expected to shop on Cyber Monday, that's about 70 million people.

Need to track all of the best deals online? Send your viewers and readers to CyberMonday.com. This one website alone could be valuable information as an online report in your newscasts, updated constantly with deals and promotions from more than 700 retailers.

The deals begin rolling out on the site on Black Friday, all the way through the shopping season. In fact, there will be "Deals of the Hour" on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The top five retailers getting the most online traffic so far this year - Amazon, Walmart, Target, JC Penny and Best Buy.

Projections for online sales are brisk. comSore is reporting a 13% increase over last year for the first 20 days of November. Overall the forecast is for an 11% gain during the entire holiday season, compared to just 4% last year, totaling more $32.4 billion.

"The beginning of the online holiday shopping season has gotten off to an extremely positive start, outperforming our earlier expectations," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "Despite continued high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, consumers seem to be more willing to open up their wallets this holiday season than last. While this early spending surge reflects, in part, heavy promotional activity on the part of retailers occurring earlier this season, it is nevertheless a very encouraging sign."

Free Shipping Day, December 17, is expected to peak last minute shoppers interest. It is also the main driver that encourages consumers to shop online in the first place, along with of course discounts and great bargains.

And what about the offline shopping season? Those brick and mortar stores that fill the media company coffers with seasonal holiday ads? Good News! Gallup poll numbers released this week are telling us a majority of consumers, 52%, are expecting to spend on average $714, about a 2% increase year-over-year, and could go as high as 4%.

Online Shopping

That is no where near the ten year spending high in 2007, but it does suggest two years of solid growth in consumer spending.   <Link>

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HOW TO "BE SOMEBODY" ON TWITTER
by Terry Heaton
The 10 rules of TwitterTwitter is a marvelous innovation that both Ken and I use and believe in strongly. I think if you don't have Tweetdeck on your desktop, you're really missing what's happening in the real-time world of news and information today.

Twitter's beauty is in the conversation that takes place within its walls, so it's really about who you follow, not about how many tweets you send or how many people follow you. You can't participate in the advancing of ideas and memes unless you follow those who are talking about them in the first place, and long after its personal branding attributes have done their thing, the ideas advanced will be Twitter's greatest accomplishment.

Media people, however, are more into its marketing value, as are a great many of its more famous users. Tiger Woods joined Twitter last week, for example. Already, he has 251,944 followers. He's on 3,955 lists. He follows only 11 people. Clearly, he's in it for the ability to reach fans directly. This is what I call a media 1.0 usage of a media 2.0 tool. Tiger Woods doesn't want to interact with anybody. He's interested in its one-to-many (broadcast) facilitation.

Celebrities, athletes and media people all use Twitter this way, because of its unparalleled ability to get a message out in a really short period of time. Those 251,944 follows all have followers, too, so in a retweet frenzy, Tiger can get his own words out to most of the world before anybody can synthesize them or analyze their meaning. This is a power that is most definitely new, and we don't even begin to understand where it's taking us culturally.

Not everyone is Tiger Woods, though, and so Twitter is home to a new form of personal brand management that's known only to the experienced users. The thing about Twitter, however, is that this behavior is hopelessly transparent and, therefore, a bit off putting. So, with sarcasm on my mind and my tongue firmly in cheek, I offer ten rules that you must follow if you want to "be somebody" on Twitter.

  1. Retweet any tweet that mentions you. Your followers might not be their followers, and you always want to show your followers that you're important enough that people tweet about you. Always include humorous things, because it makes you more human and approachable, even though you probably aren't.

  2. Tweet links of articles that are controversial in your space. Read only enough to provide a statement that proves you read it and think it's relevant. This way, you'll be known as one who watches the space and are "in the know." The more links you tweet, the greater your presumed knowledge of the topic. "Gosh, he must know EVERYTHING!"

  3. Make sure you tweet links of articles that prove or validate your point-of-view. In so doing, don't forget to take credit for creating or advancing the idea. Remember, it's all about appearances.

  4. Retweet tweets that reference articles that prove your point of view. This gives the impression that the original tweeter of the article accepts that you are the person responsible for creating or advancing the idea.

  5. Follow the people in your space who are retweeted often, and do likewise. However, try to retweet their thoughts before anybody else to prove you're on top of things. It also might get their attention, so that they'll follow you.

  6. Repeat your best tweets late at night "for the Asian or European crowd." This makes it appear you actually have a lot of followers in different time zones who may not have seen your earlier tweets. You're all about them, right?

  7. In Tweetdeck, make sure you set up a column searching your name, so that you can see what people say about you that don't refer to you properly through your official "mention" name (hint: it begins with @). Retweet those tweets so that people know you're important (see #1).

  8. When someone with a lot of followers retweets something of yours, thank them with a tweet of your own. It makes you look important in the eyes of your followers, not all of whom follow the guy who just retweeted you (see #1). It also makes it look like you know these people, which may or may not be true.

  9. Be careful not to respond to somebody you've never heard of, because you might accidentally advance their brand and make yourself look bad in the process.

  10. Never jump on a bandwagon, especially hours after it was started. It's too easy to get lost in the crowd, and it looks like you're just jumping on instead of leading the band. If, however, the situation demands that you jump on, draw attention to the fact that you're late and make up some excuse. It'll make your followers feel better.

There are many other rules, of course, but if you practice these, you'll be well on your way to establishing your brand via Twitter. Be careful, though, because the Web has a way of seeing through disingenuity, and with Twitter, trying too hard stands out like a fat, naked guy on a stage.

Go forth and be known!   <Link>

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FOR THANKSGIVING, LET'S HAVE A LITTLE FAITH
by Terry Heaton
We must have faithIn 1988, my news team at WDEF-TV in Chattanooga did something that no one had ever done before. We produced a month-long series on religion in the Tennessee Valley called "I Believe." The project doubled our ratings and was the talk of the town.

I had just come from my days overseeing the top religious program on television, The 700 Club, so I knew things that my contemporaries didn't, including that religion was a really, REALLY important topic that was ignored in the news. That news team -- working for a third-place station with no hope of really being competitive -- totally kicked the snot out of our competition, and to this day, it remains my favorite group.

One of the many items produced for that series was a documentary on snake handling churches in North Georgia. The practice of snake handling began in the region, and this documentary was fabulous. We got permission to videotape during a service at one church, and I'll never forget a sound bite from the pastor. "You'd better have faith," he said, "if you're going to stick your hand into a box of rattlesnakes."

And so this day before Thanksgiving, 2010, I want to write a note about faith, because it's missing in the discussion about change today. It's missing, because it's one of those words you just don't talk about, if you want to be taken seriously, and that's a shame. It may be politically incorrect or, gasp, unprofessional to talk about faith, but I have no doubt that more people are with me on this than against me, so let's talk about faith.

First of all, its place in our history is unmistakable, although those who make a living out of rewriting history spend a lot of time refuting it. I don't blame them, because we've made a mess with our religions, and they want nothing to do with that. However, it's intellectually dishonest to deny its role in history, so let's assume it has a place. The pilgrims headed west in search of religious freedom and the freedom to profit, but to paraphrase that snake handler in Georgia, "you'd better have faith, if you're going to get on that boat." The founding fathers found the courage to rebel against the King through faith, be it in their God or themselves. Filled with faith in the rightness of their cause and in their God, the men who died so bravely on Omaha beach moved forward against machine guns and the high likelihood of death. Those who sit atop rockets built by scientists say a prayer and believe they will return safely. That's called faith.

When you pull out a chair from the kitchen table and sit down, you do so with the faith that the chair will not collapse. But, Terry, that's faith in science, not God. So what? It's still faith, and we need to include it in our discussions during times of great change. Why? Because faith is a weapon against fear, and I see a lot of terrified people out there these days.

We need to talk about our faith, mostly because we never do, and because we don't, we have so little of it at a time when we need it more than ever. People view faith as associated with religion, and that's why we don't talk about it, but even at the heart of the West's most prominent religion, Christianity, is a view suggesting that faith has more to do with our day-to-day behavior than what we believe in our religion.

When I think of the red words in the Bible, I don't think of the guy who said them as a religious fellow. Jesus wasn't a wizard or magician, although that's what a lot of people think. He was a human being, just like us. He spoke in parables, but that's what people do who are beyond the norm in all ways. I also think of the Disciples as guys who tagged along, because they were fairly impressed with what was going on around them. I mean, why not? These are people we're talking about, not some form of cosmic "chosen ones" with halos around their heads. Believers can look back and say they were, but I'm talking about in that moment.

So when they asked him about this thing called faith, they were parenthetically saying they wanted to be cool, like him. They'd heard him talk about faith, and they knew it was important, but they simply didn't get it. They assumed that, whatever it was, if they had more of it, they could do magical things, too. So they asked him to "increase our faith." His response, however, didn't help.

"If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed," Scripture quotes him as saying, "you could say to this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."

Holy crap. Sounds like "the force" from Star Wars. I can imagine the looks on the faces of his audience.

But faith isn't some wizardry that involves moving heavy objects with a pointed finger to impress your neighbors. It's much, much more basic and simple than that. He was talking about what human beings can accomplish.

The first thing to understand is that the mustard seed has faith. Since it has no consciousness, faith isn't some mysterious force that you can conjure when you need it. It's your fundamental behavioral pattern, and it's based on who or what you are in nature. With its faith, the mustard seed grows into a giant plant. How? By doing what it's supposed to do. That, more than anything else, describes tree or mountain-moving faith. Human beings lack faith, because we're in it for ourselves, and that's what Jesus was saying. If we simply did what we're supposed to do, we could do anything.

What compels a bird to first jump into the sky? Faith.

Our culture was built on faith. It's what has always separated us from other cultures. After due diligence, what compels the investor to sign the check? When the artist finishes her work, what gives her the courage to put it out there and risk embarrassment? When the explorer sets his sights on the undiscovered, what's the final nudge he needs? What makes inventors climb aboard their devices in the face of crowds who insist "it'll never fly?" Again, you can trust your measurements and your science, but remember the words of that pastor in Georgia when risk is involved.

Today, I see media companies everywhere afraid to pull the trigger on tomorrow. Everybody seems bound by invisible chains from taking a risk. Everything about our businesses, including our compensation systems, seem to discourage innovation and encourage safety, and that can be dangerous when the chair on which you're sitting is about to collapse. It's okay to believe in yesterday. It's okay to wait until somebody else takes the chance. We can manage our way into the slow decline of the last buggy whip makers, but why not take the lead? We can be smart about it, but leadership is in our veins, and lead we must.

If faith means doing what we're supposed to do, what we're capable of doing, then let's bring that to the table. We've got mountains to move, but we've faced them before. We know we can do it, so let's get busy.

It could be worse. We could be staring at a box of rattlesnakes, and that's my Thanksgiving message for 2010.   <Link>

THE MULTIMEDIA REVOLUTION

TEN WRITING TIPS
Sharpen your writing skills. Put these ten tips to work.

  1. Write to the video and audio. If possible, think how you'll edit the story, then write. Don't let the script drive the story. Move what lacks visual support to an outro or deliver the info from the scene through on-camera storytelling.
  2. Engage the viewer off the top. You've got about 10 seconds before viewers zap you.
  3. Write like you talk. Use everyday language.
  4. Keep it simple. Get to the point. One thought per sentence.
  5. Write with a "you" orientation. Viewers want to know how stories affect them.
  6. Don't forget "us." After all, you're one of them, so include yourself.
  7. Avoid passive voice. Passive voice uses verb phrases with a form of the verb "to be." The receiver of the action usually precedes the verb: The man was shot. Instead: "Two gunmen shot..."
  8. Keep it simple. You're telling one story. If you have more than one, move them to sidebars or a second story running later.
  9. "People-ize" every story. Communicate through the eyes and experience of people.
  10. Avoid overused words and phrases — like "officials" and "at this hour."
You'll find examples of strong writing and visuals at www.kaplitzblog.com including this one by an NPPA award winner: http://www.kaplitzblog.com/2010/11/04/multimedia-minutes-touching-story-by-nppa-mmj-award-winner/   <Link>

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TOOLS OF THE TRADE - EVERYTHING GOOGLE
by Ken Elmore
It seems search giant Google launches a new service nearly every week. Lately itís GoogleTV that is getting a lot of press. But just in the last week Google has launched 3D street mapping for Japan, Google Voice for iPhone and an update to Google Goggles - allowing you to search the web with pictures, as opposed to text.

How do you keep up with everything Google? This week they made it much easier, launching a new site dedicated to new developments and apps.

Google New logoGoogle New Products posts daily updates of the latest developments from Maps for Android, to tracking your entire financial portfolio.

Hereís another good example, just in time for the upcoming holiday season. Google Shopper launched 9 months ago and so far† 2.5 million users are using the mobile app. A major update was released this week.† Google Shopper allows you to search product barcodes and voice search. Google gives this example :

Version 1.3 includes new search filters like "price" and "brand" to help users refine their searches to find the perfect product.For example, if you're looking for a new Blu-Ray player and you want to match it to your existing Denon receiver, you can filter by price and brand.

This is a site to bookmark as Google continues to roll out advanced technology and groundbreaking software.   <Link>

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK To state the obvious, any fool can succeed in an era of growth. Life is defined by your response to difficult situations. Tom Peters via Twitter.

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