What Do Young Viewers Actually Want From Traditional TV?

By: Wayne Friedman

MediaPost - How do you draw digital-centric millennials to a new entertainment company? If you answered, “Start another social media service, website, or premium entertainment service,” you'd be wrong.

For some, the better answer is to start an old-fashioned cable network.

Big-time movie producer Participant Media("Lincoln," "The Help,” "An Inconvenient Truth") which started a TV division in April, is looking to do that through the combined assets of Jim Henson Company, TV producer/ex-MTVer Brian Graden, and others.

The proposed as-yet-unnamed channel hopes to start with more than 40 million subscribers next summer.

All this would seem counterintuitive: Why not start a new digital business -- something young consumers 18-24 and 18-34 seemingly want more of? Participant believes it's all about telling stories -- which TV does well.

The truth is somewhere in between. Research shows that television viewing continues to grow. But young viewers increasingly multitask, which many say hurts consumption of traditional TV entertainment and advertising content.

Lean back and watch TV? Young viewers still watch CW, MTV, Adult Swim, and early-evening syndicated off-network sitcoms. The answer seems to be that young viewers are still looking for real story-telling.

Much of the new channel's intent might be in the documentary area – perhaps akin to "An Inconvenient Truth," Participant’s socially conscious theatrical movie, perhaps taking on Current, the young-minded news channel. (Participant did buy assets of The Documentary Channel.)

And then there is this: "The goal of Participant is to tell stories that serve as catalysts for social change. With our television channel, we can bring those stories into the homes of our viewers every day," said Jeff Skoll, chairman and founder of Participant, in a press release.

Is this what young viewers want from traditional TV?  Surely, the new channel will have digital components like a website and social media area -- all the stuff a modern media/entertainment enterprise needs.

The sense is that while all future digital media is important, near-term the real business model will center around the place that still brings in the big national advertisers dollars, through a somewhat traditional-- make that cable -- TV network.

Please click here for the original article. 

Hispanic Networks Rebrand en Masse

All the cool demographics were doing it

By: Sam Thielman

AdWeek - For some reason, every Spanish-language network seems to want the same thing for Christmas: a rethink.

NBCUniversal's growing broadcast network Telemundo, Univision's smaller broadcast network Telefutura (now UniMas) and even CNN are undergoing major changes this winter—the first two have unveiled full-blown rebrands, while CNN is piloting a Spanish-language programming block in Los Angeles.

All three are working hard at making sure their programming targets U.S. Hispanics, especially the ever-growing contingent of bilingual Americans in the second and third generations who aren't necessarily looking for programming that reminds them of life outside the United States.

 

It's a trickier proposition than many neophyte marketers and distributors imagined. SNL Kagan estimated earlier this year that Spanish-language digital TV availability doubled between 2011 and 2012—there are now fully 216 Spanish multicast channels, so the competition is fierce. And of course, the political season proved definitively that it's not enough to just crank out Spanish-language versions of spots that target middle-aged Caucasians. If an advertiser can't demonstrate to the Hispanic audience a sufficient understanding of the culture, he ends up spending nearly $400 million to no effect whatsoever. (We're looking at you, Karl Rove.)

And yet, the growth of the demographic continues to astound. "We saw it in the census, and we've seen it in experience, and we've seen it in recent elections," said Jackie Hernández, COO of Telemundo. "We want to be the network that celebrates that."

The network's rebrand launches today, with its new logo slathered all over Telemundo content on every platform, and a new campaign featuring fully 90 of the network's performers shot over the course of just a few days. And, just as Tr3s, UniMas and Mun2 trade on puns, the new "T" (pronounced "te") logo will create its share of multiple double entendres ("te informa," "te inspira"—it's also the informal "you," so there's some presumed intimacy there, too).

"We did a lot of research on our viewers, and they said they wanted us to be more modern and bold," Hernández said. On Monday, Telemundo Media president Emilio Romano will ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq—NBCU's popular morning show Today will cover as well—and there will be a live performance in Times Square.

But it's not the only network that's changing gears. Telefutura has changed its name to UniMas and has a healthy slate of programming to back up its new brand. The network will air action novelas Made in Cartagena and Quien Eres Tu, and boxing drama Cloroforma. It's also doubling down on sports programming, with a slew of FIFA games and the 2014 World Cup (although NBCU has the all-important Spanish-language rights to the next championship game in 2018). The company's cable network, Galavision, also rebranded this year.

Cesar Conde, president of the Univision Networks, said that UniMas would be relying primarily on RTI and Caracol for its programming (both based elsewhere in the Americas), but that its U.S.-based studio would be producing "primarily reality" for the network in the near future. Competitors are quick to criticize Univision and Telefutura for relying heavily on foreign product when the demographic content of the U.S. is changing so rapidly, but thus far, you can't argue with results. Univision's market share is huge, and the company's increased investment in the newly rebranded UniMas would suggest that it's not exactly resting on its laurels. "We want to be the No. 2 Spanish-language network in the world," Conde said with a smile.

CNN's rebrand is a little softer, though it does mark the first major change overseen by new head Jeff Zucker, who will take over at the end of the year. The network is launching CNN Latino in the U.S., starting in Los Angeles next month. The network has a huge international component, of course, and it will repurpose much of that content for the large Hispanic population in L.A. alongside a locally produced debate show. It already has CNN en Espanol. But now, it's going to experiment with a broadcast block on local station KBEH, where it will show eight hours a day of content geared to appeal to U.S. Hispanics. "The U.S. market is so diverse and so large that there is room for two distinctive content options," said Cynthia Hudson-Fernández, svp, gm of CNN en Espanol.

L.A. also presents a unique opportunity. Besides a rare foray into domestic broadcast for the cable network, KBEH also covers 14 million viewers' worth of territory—CNN en Espanol has about 30 million viewers on cable, so a few choice broadcast locations could increase CNN's Hispanic presence by quite a bit.

Hudson-Fernández said she wanted the network to represent "the dual reality of U.S. Latinos today who are multigenerational and proud to be bilingual" in a statement, and in the end, that's what all these rebrands are about: finding commonalities among a demographic that is turning out to be as diverse as the U.S. itself.

Please click here for the original article. 

Data: The New Creative

By: Louis Winokur 

MediaPost - One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.

Data is the new creative!

For those who are squarely in the analytics camp, this new sentiment must feel like a vindication for long years slaving away, gleaning insights from facts and figures without much appreciation (well, maybe that's not entirely accurate, but sometimes it feels that way.) It's about time colleagues and clients realize they could have avoided numerous mistakes if they had only taken the time to look at the data first. The argument is that for too long, people have used "smoke and mirrors" to sell clients programs with flashy creative that was not built on a solid foundation based on data-driven insights.

Is data the new creative?

On the flip side, many talented creative people see clients doing the same boring old things they have always done based on some stodgy egghead's calculations. The inherent fear of trying any new ideas due to the threat of running afoul of FDA regulations or supposed lack of evidence for success makes creative marketers want to scream! It's bad enough that people hide behind an army of lawyers who are afraid of government censure -- now we have to come up with a master's thesis before we can proceed with any new ideas. Sometimes you have to have a little faith to be innovative.

Data + creative = success

Actually, the truth lies somewhere in between. Data, and analysis of existing programs, should be used to refine ideas or cut out tactics that have not performed as expected in the past. To evaluate success, initial targets should be created based on similar programs or events that have been implemented before. At the very least, regular reporting should be included in the evaluation process to monitor results as you move forward.

That doesn't mean that it's wrong to take a chance once in a while. Sometimes it's equally important to break out of old routines and come up with some new ideas. Better to try and fail than to never try at all. But even a brand-new idea should be based on some sort of logic. Believe it or not, analytics people are not afraid to be challenged. A rough ROI model can be hammered out if the creative and analytics people get together and have a conversation. The key is to establish initial objectives and figure out the answer to the age old question: What does success look like.

Sometimes data can fuel new creative ideas. A global health care company that manufactures a number of prescription medicines recently embraced the capabilities of an in-house survey tool that enhances the ability to receive feedback from patients involved in relationship marketing programs. A series of short surveys were conducted to learn from the people who have opted in to receive educational materials about a chronic condition. The results of the surveys were extremely valuable.

The responses revealed that over 50% of those receiving treatment were apprehensive about starting treatment because of concerns about side effects. We also learned that 75% of enrollees felt that the condition had a significant impact on their lives and their daily routines. When we polled patients about potential tools, we learned that a smartphone application received high marks, while text messaging was of little value.

The above data points have been shared with the creative team and have provided specific direction to focus their energies. This in turn will fuel a new program strategy and provide the foundation on which to build creative ideas for 2013. Program enhancements based on patient feedback will boost engagement metrics and will ensure that existing consumers stay on treatment and have positive medical results.

Please click here for the original article. 

The Key to Keeping Your Employees: Do It the Old-Fashioned Way

By: Bill McCabe

Forbes - Turnover in the managerial ranks has reached epidemic proportions. Downsizing, mergers, early retirement, career shifts, and midlife crises are among the many reasons. Most people see this as an inevitable and not particularly disturbing fact of our volatile age. I see it as a major obstacle to productivity and profit.

As the chief executive of an advertising agency, I work in an industry plagued by turnover. When an agency loses a big account, its reflex is to fire people. As you might imagine, that doesn’t foster employee loyalty; most workers have little compunction about switching agencies when they receive an offer. Sometimes they leave not for more money or better positions but because they expect the agency to lose an account or engage in unrelated “cost-cutting” measures.

The problem grows from there. Clients are upset when an esteemed account, media, or creative person suddenly isn’t there anymore. Perhaps even worse, rapid turnover disrupts the work. Not only are there delays in projects when people leave and new ones must be brought up to speed, but knowledge falls through the cracks.  The five- or ten-year veteran invariably takes a certain amount of savvy with her that is difficult to replace. Agencies dilute or even lose their identities when they can’t keep most of their people in place for sustained periods. In Chicago, if you look at the top ad agencies from 30 years ago and you look at the leading agencies today, you’ll see that many of the former aren’t on the current list, and that a sizable percentage of them no longer exist. And obviously this problem isn’t limited to advertising.

However, senior leaders can limit turnover. I know they can, because 50% of our own staff has been with us for 10 years or longer. That’s not because we pay better than other agencies or because we provide great perks and luxurious offices. It’s because we value continuity and have enacted policies to promote it.

Any organization can do what we’ve done, but it takes a leap of faith. If you’re cynical about employees, if you believe that loyalty is an outmoded concept, then you won’t take continuity-enhancing steps. If you’re convinced that greed trumps all else, that you can’t keep your best people for long because there is always someone out there willing to make them a better offer, then you should stop reading now. But if you believe that the majority of people want to grow with a growing enterprise, and want to develop and sustain relationships over the long term, then consider implementing the following policies:

1. Avoid downsizing and other mass terminations at all costs. Or, more to the point, cut other costs before you give people the ax. Forgo the Christmas party, limit expense accounts, reduce or eliminate bonuses. These are tough pills to swallow, but when your people understand you’re administering them to avoid mass layoffs, they’ll be more willing to swallow them.

2. Create a familial culture. That doesn’t mean talking about how we’re one big family and then taking actions that contradict the assertion. It means institutionalizing small and big policies that demonstrate that the company cares. Providing generous support for those who have to go on disability leave can be one. Being transparent—communicating important decisions quickly, soliciting feedback regularly—is a second. A third is holding events that bring people together, such as dinners and outings.

3. Define your values and hire accordingly. Do you believe that work comes before family, or that one must strike a balance? Do you feel that just about any tactic is valid if it lands a client, or are there higher standards you adhere to? We hire for knowledge and skill, but we try to determine if a job applicant is a good match in less tangible ways. What books is he reading? What is she passionate about outside of work?

These tactics don’t work 100% of the time. You’re always going to lose some good people. But they do significantly increase the odds that you’ll limit your losses and establish the continuity required to build a sustainable enterprise.

Bill McCabe is the President/CEO at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Please click here for the original article. 

Call Me Maybe? The Key To Effective Advertising

By: Jim Madsen

MediaPost - 

Hey, I just met you,

And this is crazy,

But here’s my number,

So call me, maybe?

Call Me Maybe was the song of Summer 2012. But Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy little earworm contained a truth that everyone should heed. If you want someone to call you, they’ll need your number.

Duh.

So how does a no-brainer like this get lost in the world of advertising?

Because agencies and advertisers don’t realize their brand-building commercials have morphed into direct-response ones.  Somehow, a Web site address or 800 number snuck in, and this changes everything. Oh, they still retain all the branding elements -- the ads position products and services strategically and with impact. They possess great production values and don’t look like traditional two-minute direct-response spots.

But these commercials have become all flirtation, with no follow-through. They want viewers to respond, but they don’t provide sufficient motivation or information for them to do so.

No matter how sexy a spot looks, how cleverly it’s written, how accurately it’s targeted, or even how much social media it uses, it won’t make the register ring repeatedly without doing what Carly does: making it easy to call or click. These days, advertisers want their ads to be accountable -- even their brand-building commercials -- and so customers need a phone number, a link, a point of sale. But once a commercial tries to evoke a response with an 800 number or URL or even a retailer location, it has crossed the line from general to direct-response advertising.

Direct-response leverages brand, strategy, creative and media. But it doesn’t leave its audience hanging. It takes their hand and invites them to the next step forward, toward making an actual purchase.

Branding is great -- and if branding is the sole purpose of the ad, then forget about Carly’s message. But if any type of response is requested, then think about that message long and hard.

The next time you see a commercial, ask yourself two questions:

Do I know exactly where or how I can buy this product? Do I care enough to call or click?

Don’t get me wrong. Having a great product with smart advertising will definitely get you noticed. But until you’re as well-known as Apple, Pepsi, or Carly Rae Jepsen, the register won’t ring as much as it should until you follow through with those magic words: …here’s my number, so call me, maybe?

Jim Madsen is a copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies. 

Please click here for the original article. 

To Click or Call: The DRTV Question

By: Mike Powell

Direct Marketing News - This is a question that has created a great deal of discussion—as well as a lot of confusion—among direct response agencies and advertisers. Some believe that the URL offers tremendous advantages over 800 numbers—lower cost, website resources, flexibility—not to mention that it represents the converging technology future. Some argue that 800 numbers are far superior because more people are comfortable responding through phone calls than via websites and that conversion rates are higher using phone than URLs. 

 

In fact, both sides have valid positions, but this isn't an either/or question. DRTV advertisers should capitalize on both phone and web as response tools, but they should do so knowing the best ways to use both in a given spot and for a given offer. To that end, here are five principles that we've found beneficial when considering the 800 number/URL issue:

1. Prioritize your response tool. In every spot, one tool should be the primary focus while the other is the secondary focus. Giving the 800 number and the URL equal time tends to dampen the response, perhaps because it creates confusion in the minds of viewers—they're not sure if they should call or click, and that internal conflict delays their response and ultimately stops them from taking action.

2. Create a unique landing page for your URL. Don't just direct viewers to a general website; it will lack the “dedicated” features that convert clicks to sales. Instead, design a landing page that mirrors the look and feel of the commercial.

3. Feature the phone number and URL individually. Do so in the bottom bar of the spot. Rotate them rather than trying to fit both in the same space. Again, you don't want to create a conflict between the two response options.

4. Recognize that the old phone technology is superior to the new URL tool in certain circumstances. Phone calls will likely convert at a higher rate than the (user-controlled) web channel, and in situations that are complex, demand longer decision time, and provide greater upsell opportunity phone is generally a better option.

5. Include search as a metric when using a URL. You're likely to find an increase in searches generated by views of the commercial (product or company name, for instance) from people who may not have written down the URL but are interested in the offer.

Finally, keep in mind that new technologies will keep producing new response options. In a few cases, we've included text response tools as an option in spots. Admittedly, this is still a small slice of the pie, but invariably, it will be a growing slice. The key is to keep an open mind about all new response options and recognize the continued viability of the traditional one.

Mike Powell is the SVP/Executive Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Please click here for the original article. 

The Eicoff Media Department: A Post-Thanksgiving Reflection on DRTV

Boy, am I stuffed.

Just finished a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. And as I enjoy the warm, loving atmosphere of family and friends, I lean back and reflect on the Eicoff Media Department and DRTV.

Okay, so I think about our Media Department a lot.

But this is the beginning of the holiday season; a time to reflect on the year past and give thanks.

And the Eicoff Media Department has a lot to be thankful for. 

1. Low cost per calls, low cost per sales. These are like the first slices of white meat off the turkey -- the best. Lower cost per call means more efficient delivery of the advertising. And we always want that.

2. Low media rates. Eicoff has a great relationship with stations. We negotiate the best DRTV rates for our clients.

3. Last minute “Firesales” from stations. Love those phone calls from the stations. We always take advantage of these opportunities for our clients.

4. No charge spots. We always ask for favors. It helps bring in a lower cost per call for that station.

5. ADUs (Audience Deficiency Units) from networks. A station promises to deliver X number of eyeballs for a certain demographic segment with our media buy. If it doesn’t, the station makes good by running the spot until the goals are met. Thank you thank you.

6. Creative that significantly lifts response. Ah, creative that works, now that’s refreshing. And worth acknowledging.

7. The Presidential Election being over. You can’t say something nasty about your political opponent only once, right? Political ads hogged the airwaves. Media time was precious and very expensive in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Thanks for 2013 being a year with no Olympics or major elections.

8. Account executives that don’t bother us much. Pretty self-explanatory.

9. But most of all, we’re truly thankful for our clients’ great sales results from our media buys.

I’m looking forward to the first quarter of 2013. Future DRTV successes. And another slice of pumpkin pie, of course.

Ken Houdek is the SVP/Associate Media Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

3 Building Blocks for a Long-Lasting Client Relationship

Here are three guiding principles that are essential in sustaining long-term relationships:

By: Bill McCabe

1to1 Media- We live in a time when business relationships and valued partnerships are fleeting— where it's assumed that the volatility of the business environment makes long-term client relationships a thing of the past. We've found, however, to maintain your brand and successfully grow your organization, solid business relationships should not be built to go fast, they should be built to go far.

What are the essential building blocks for long-lasting collaboration and partnership? First and most obviously, excellent work is paramount. This means everything from meeting deadlines to executing strategies effectively. But in a fast-changing world, excellence is not always enough to sustain a relationship beyond a certain point.

Today, companies evolve their market models and strategies to adapt to market transitions and industry trends. At those evolutionary points, which occur more frequently now than in the past, companies often review their existing business relationships and make changes.

So, how can professional service agencies and other firms prevent that seemingly inevitable switch after a short period of time? Here are three guiding principles that we've found to be essential in sustaining long-term relationships: 

1. Consistent staffing
In professional service firms, especially in the advertising business, organizations routinely move people onto and off of accounts. This is done for many reasons. For example, to bring fresh thinking to the account, to ensure professional staffers don't get bored, or to shift a talented employee to a bigger or more difficult client. Many times, however, these movements can do more harm than good. It takes time for people to trust each other and learn the best ways to communicate. If changes are constantly made to an account and the personnel don't remain for longer periods of time, bonds between client and agency don't form or have the opportunity to deepen. For instance, we have one account that has been with us for more than 40 years. While we certainly have had some turnover on the account because of retirement or other reasons, a number of our key people have worked on the account for more than 20 years. 

Understandably, some personnel changes are out of your control. Individuals leave the company or are let go. The client may also experience some personnel turnover. While these changes can't be planned for, professional service firms and other vendors can control their overall approach to staffing accounts and ensure the priority is always on the continuity of personnel.

2. Business-driven results
In the world of advertising, many agencies measure the success of their ads in terms of industry awards or research (i.e. viewer awareness scores). Agencies often believe they've done a great job when there's a flattering article about their work in a trade publication or when everyone compliments them on how "creative" or "cutting edge" an ad was. Law firms take pride in the quality of their briefs and judgments rendered in court; financial service firms measure themselves by how well they performed against standard measures. 

We're not discounting these measures—they're important. But if you expect a client or customer to become a long-term one, then you had better deliver business-driven results. In our business, we work with clients to measure how a television ad campaign impacts sales in different regions of the country; how it affects distribution of products in stores; how it drives viewers of commercials to websites.
Developing criteria and the means for measuring tangible success metrics can be a challenge. And, there is typically little to no wiggle room if you fall short of your mutually agreed upon goals. Still, it is better to drive toward a realistic goal and be judged on something tangible. This is what cements relationships.

3. Common values
Making your values and philosophies clear from the start is a good way to come to a mutual understanding of the way you and your clients operate, and what is expected from both parties. If there is an obvious disconnect between your respective views of the relationship and its goals, you might think twice about engaging in that relationship altogether. For instance, we look for clients that value transparency and frequent and straightforward communication. We aren't interested in clients who enjoy game-playing, who sugar-coat their comments or who fail to return calls. No doubt, these types of clients aren't interested in us because of our values. When you can find a value match, however, you create bonds with clients that are difficult to break.

Adhering to these three building blocks doesn't guarantee you will hold on to your clients indefinitely. But, it does increase the odds that you will extend the length of your partnerships, in a volatile business environment where relationships seem to last about as long as a Kim Kardashian marriage.

Please click here for the original article. 

The Long-Term Benefits of DRTV

DRTV is a valuable channel for bringing new products to market. And it has been widely embraced by retailers as an effective driver of sales. Just look at the success of category leaders like Oreck Vacuums or Bose Home Audio, and the prevalence of “As seen on TV” shelf displays at your local Target or Walgreens. 

But be careful! Retail distribution and early sales growth can lead to a false sense of your product’s place in the consumer’s mind.

It’s tempting for marketing managers to shift their advertising focus to elevating their brand image once they start to gain sales momentum. But this is a delicate time in the life of your product or service, and turning away from DRTV too soon may undo a lot of what you worked so hard to accomplish. 

So, how do you know what to do when you reach that fork in the road? Here are some guidelines to help determine whether to stay the course and keep DRTV in your marketing mix:

  • How new is the category? If you are the leader in a relatively new product category, there is a lot of potential ahead of you. But in order to reach that potential, there is still a lot of educating to do. You need to keep DRTV as part of your mix.
  • What is the consumer life cycle for the product? Is your product something that a wide demographic (Adults 18+) may use for years to come, or is it only relevant for a limited time, like an educational service or life-stage product? If it’s the latter, there is likely to be high churn in your prospect universe, with new consumers entering and existing consumers leaving. A DRTV strategy is the best to use because these new consumers need to be educated and motivated to try your product. After all, that’s why you used it in the first place.
  • Do you have a unique solution that separates you from the competition? Even in a mature category, unique product benefits may warrant a break from general awareness form. True, share of voice is important. But keep DRTV elements in your messaging, and incorporate a call-to-action for extended engagement to make sure your voice is heard.
  • Has technology changed the way people use, and may benefit from your product/service? New technology can be a game changer for mature categories like automotive, where breakthroughs in infotainment, fuel efficiency,or safety warrant longer commercial units and messaging that will drive consumers to the wealth of support material (in most cases digital content) that has already been created for marketing. Think DRTV.
  • What role does lead generation play in your marketing mix? If you still need to aggressively grow your CRM database, the last thing you want to do is walk away from DRTV.

The road to sustainable product growth is filled with detours. When faced with the decision to adjust your strategy, it is important to recognize what led to your initial success, and understand the challenges and opportunities presented by your category and the consumer marketplace. There is a good chance you’ll find that DRTV can keep you in the express lane to success.

Rob Schmidt is an Account Supervisor at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

A Cleanser Manufacturer Cleans up with a Mobile Marketing App

Jelmar used the Checkpoints app to encourage store shoppers to view video ads.

By: Amy Dusto, Associate Editor

Internet Retailer - Cleaning products manufacturer Jelmar had stuck to TV and radio ads to promote its CLR and CLR Bath & Kitchen products for decades, says Matt Cote, director of emerging media at Eicoff, Jelmar’s advertising agency. But in September the manufacturer tested a national campaign that encouraged in-store shoppers to scan CLR products with their smartphones and the CheckPoints mobile app to view Jelmar video ads.

 

The ads garnered 50,000 views in about two weeks—faster than expected—and a before/after survey revealed that more consumers recognized the CLR brand and expressed intent to purchase CLR products by the campaign’s end, though Jelmar did not disclose exact numbers, Cote says. Jelmar is working with stores now on turning the in-store app activity into sales, he says. He adds that more consumers used CheckPoints to engage with CLR at large retail chains like Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp. than at smaller stores. The CheckPoints app is available for Apple Inc. or Android devices, according to the company that developed it, inMarket Media LLC, which reaches 20 million U.S. consumers in its network.

The app offer consumers points for completing activities after scanning products in stores. For example, they may be prompted to watch a video, take a survey, play a game, search the web or complete brand offers. They can then redeem those points for prizes ranging from a $1 gift card to a Nintendo Wii gaming system or an Apple TV. The app uses geolocation to tell consumers which stores are nearby and what products are available in those stores to scan for points. 

“It’s an ideal situation for a marketer to be able to hit someone in the store while they’re holding the product and scanning it,” Cote says. His agency is looking into future campaigns that could use games to engage customers in stores, he says.

On average among CheckPoints clients, consumers spend 90 seconds interacting with a brand’s campaign on the app after they scan a product—three times longer than the average TV ad, an inMarket spokesman says. Additionally, consumers who pick up and scan products on average report in surveys a 30% higher intent to purchase, he says.

The CLR campaign carried almost no risk for Jelmar to try, Cote says—inMarket’s clients pay a fee only when consumers engage with their brands on the app, which in Jelmar’s case was when they watched the video after scanning a CLR product. In that campaign, the fees were less than a dollar per view, Cote says, though inMarket says the rates vary between clients and campaigns.

CheckPoints is one of three mobile apps inMarket offers designed to engage in-store shoppers. The others are Extra! Extra!, a coupons and deals app that displays offers based on votes from users, and List Bliss, a collaborative shopping list app that allows, for example, everyone in a household to see which kitchen supplies have run out and either add items to a collaborative list in the app or mark them off when they’re bought.

Please click here for the original article. 

TV Will Be Apple's Undoing

The following piece from the Wall Street Journal is an interesting take on content vs. technology. While the evolution continues, the winners so far seem to be both the consumer and the marketer. Our take is that this will only help DRTV

Bill McCabe is the President and CEO at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

TV Will Be Apple's Undoing

By: Holman W. Jenkins, JR.

Apple had snafus under Steve Jobs—antenna-gate, MobileMe, the frequently obtuse Siri. Its latest snafu, a faulty maps application installed on the new version of the iPhone, isn't a testament to the inferiority of Apple's current management. The snafu will be easily rectified by, if nothing else, Google releasing and Apple approving a version of the Google Maps app for the iPhone 5.

For entirely different reasons, though, the map mess demonstrates why circumstances are turning against Apple's current business model. Simply, content is king again. However much it might benefit Apple's business model to force users to patronize its own maps app, the company won't get far in trying to deny them Google's far superior app. Apple for a while managed to tame the power of content and make it subservient, but that day is coming to an end.

Forget the maps farrago. Look at Apple's agony over the TV puzzle. Apple is frustrated because there is no solution to TV that will let Apple keep doing what it has been doing.

Like schnauzers overreacting to the postman's arrival, the tech press was in a tizzy a month ago on reports that Apple was talking to the cable industry about bringing cable's linear channel lineups to a future Apple device. But the technical feat is no technical feat. Time Warner and Cablevision managed to roll out iPad apps within days of the device's debut 2½ years ago.

These TV apps proved unsatisfactory not because of any lack of Apple magic, but because only certain channels were available, and because consumers were allowed only to watch in the home (the whole point of an iPad is its portability). Even so, the Hollywood studios that actually own the shows sued saying the apps violated their contract rights.

Apple's fans imagine the company can do for TV what it did for music: breaking up the existing distribution model. Forget about it. Television is about to demonstrate the inadequacy of Apple's own business model.

Video-content owners, including everyone from the TV networks and Hollywood and the NFL and Major League Baseball, aren't the music industry or even the book industry. Video-content owners aren't looking for a savior and ultimately won't be satisfied with anything less than an open ecosystem accessible by any device.

They'll have no choice: Content owners already see their business being upended by Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, with an approach adapted to digital ubiquity from the get-go. They also know, if they sit still, their current partners, the cable industry and its analogues, will simply take advantage, as satellite operator DISH is doing with its ad-skipping function that so infuriates the TV networks.

In such a world, Apple will have to change too. To maintain its position, the company will have to focus more on giving its devices superb access to content it doesn't control and hasn't approved.

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TV Remains Decision Driver For Purchases

By: David Goetzl

MediaPost - A study commissioned by the TVB shows that local television is the dominant influencer of decisions throughout the purchase funnel from awareness at the top through purchase at the bottom. Research shows that 64% of respondents say TV is the “primary action driver” of awareness and 39% of purchase.
 
Newspapers came in second with awareness at 10%, suggesting that coupons still have an appeal. The Internet (online behavior save email) was second at 10% for purchase, as TV watchers may have gone online to seek more information about advertised products.
 
In the auto category, TV led at 70% with awareness and 43% for purchase, while the Internet was at 9% and 12%, respectively. The Internet did particularly well in the consideration phase of the purchase funnel at 17%.
 
With the supermarket/grocery category, there is evidence that newspaper coupons still play an important role, but 28% said TV influences purchase decisions in-store -- well above the level for all 10 categories combined.
 
The entertainment category (movies/shows/concerts) is one area where TV leads, but there is considerable fragmentation. In awareness, TV is at 21%, but newspaper, social and Internet display are all at 10% or higher. In purchase, TV is at 22%, with social and Internet display at 10% and newspapers down at 7%.

The results come from a survey conducted by Yankelovich (now the Futures Co.) of about 2,500 consumers who have seen a TV ad in the last two months. The interviews took place in March.

Please click here for the original article. 

Nontent. Where DRTV Thrives

What is nontent? Nontent is what you watch on television when you're not really watching anything. Your fifth consecutive House Hunters International or another History Channel retrospective on an obscure general. Or a mindless game show. Or a Leave It To Beaver marathon. This is nontent. The DRTV advertiser's dream.

Everybody does it (or they're lying). As much as people love their favorite shows, their appointment television, their must see TV, many, MANY viewers use TV just to unwind, relax, zone out, like a salve after a hectic day or an escape from responsibilities and obligations. If content is what people are yearning to watch, nontent is what people are using to check out. And that's where you'll find your greatest opportunity to sell.

The propensity for a viewer to become a buyer goes up to the degree that their involvement in what they're watching goes down. There's an inverse relationship between program involvement and response. In other words, if you're bored, you're more likely to buy. This is tried and true. It's been working for DRTV advertisers for years. In fact it was one of the principals that Alvin Eicoff used to build his DRTV agency.

The big question is this: as the tablet and mobile phenomenon continues to expand, as the device of choice evolves, what's the level of involvement for these tech savvy content consumers? How does "involved viewing" breakout across the multiple screens that are an ever-increasing part of the media landscape? How much nontent is making its way to those screens?

Jury's out. But you can count on the fact that DRTV agencies are already testing these propositions. And you can also count on the fact that whether it's a mobile device, a tablet, a computer, or some new version of the good old TV set, there are bound to be plenty of nontent viewers.

Mike Powell is the SVP/Executive Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

DRTV and the Demise of Google TV

It was with some sadness the other day that I read the article below regarding the demise of Google TV. Sad because there are some really great people there at Google that tried to make this work. Intentions were good and the energy was never lacking (Full disclosure: Eicoff was one of Google's primary agency consultants when developing Google TV. We helped them build it). 

I have to say that while I was sad, I was not surprised.

The demise of Google TV is one more example of whoever controls the content is king. Google TV eventually evolved to become a re-seller of media time for Dish Network, NBC and other niche cables. The perceived value of Google TV's auction/analytic model wasn't nearly high enough for agencies and clients to justify paying a higher rate than they could obtain directly from the station itself.

It became apparent early on that unless Google got into the content business (which they did, to a degree, purchasing You Tube about the same time), they were going to have to rely on others to provide the content. I would suggest that at this point the model was doomed.

I have many friends in the media sales side of the business. And while many of them have had a few tough years, I constantly remind them that while ratings may be lower, they still control a vast number of eyeballs that can't be reached in any other fashion.

Google TV -- a reminder that the integration of technology and television will be an evolution, not a revolution.

Google TV article: "Google Folding Its Google TV Ads Effort."

Bill McCabe is the President/CEO at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Web Connected TV Users Prefer Ads Over Fees For Video And Streamed TV

MediaPost - According to YuMe and research firm Frank N. Magid Associates, 30% of all Internet homes have TVs connected to the Internet, and users of those sets are generally receptive to advertisements and ad-supported business models.

Almost 90% of connected TV users reported that they noticed ads on the platform, with 60% noticing pre-rolls. The majority of those users also interacted with ads and 19% of users subsequently purchased a product as a result of an ad they've seen on connected TV.

Travis Hockersmith, senior director of client strategy at YuMe, points out that “... like any nascent medium, it is difficult to find baseline information that would help advertisers make informed decisions... much (like) the early days of the internet... users weren't yet bombarded with ads... engagement and ad recall were much higher... “

59% of viewers of short-form video on connected TVs and 44% of those streaming TV shows preferred viewing 15- or 30-second ads over monthly subscription or the pay-per-view model. For movies, however, more than six in 10 users preferred either subscription or PPV models over ad-supported viewing.

Hockersmith continued, “... users of connected TVs seemed willing to watch ads in exchange for getting free content... for TV length content, they would rather see ads than pay for the content... movie viewers were much more willing to accept subscription or PPV models.

The report note that game consoles were the most popular with Internet connected TVs, with 77% of connected TVs connected to a game console, 34% connected to a Blu-ray player, 28% being a smart TV with an internal internet connection and 25% hooking up a streaming device or set-top-box.

Other significant findings from the study include:

1.) The living room was the most popular room to have a connected TV, with 52% reporting they had a TV hooked up to the internet in the living room, followed by the bedroom (47%) and the family room (29%)

2.) The most popular connected TV apps were Netflix (with 52% saying they used the service), followed by YouTube (47%), Hulu (28%) and Amazon (19%)

3.) Overall the connected TV users were young and skewed male

4.) About 24% of users viewed TV shows on networks several times a week, while 29% watched TV shows streamed from the internet multiple times per week

Please click here for the original article.

TV Ads: Out With The Old, In With HD

MediaPost - Old-fashioned, standard-definition TV ads are outnumbered. National advertisers who haven’t yet moved to high definition (HD) are, for the first time, the minority on network broadcast and are becoming the minority on network cable too. Among financial services, political, entertainment, retail and automotive, political advertisers -- at 51% -- had the greatest percentage of ads delivered in HD, while financial services, at 76%, aired the greatest percentage of HD ads.

 

The insights are from Needham, Mass.-based ad distribution and rights management company Extreme Reach, Inc., whose second-quarter 2012 HD Advertising Trends Report details how the industry is moving to HD. The study, based on the analysis of 1,900 active television advertisers across 28 verticals, 615 active video production studios and content providers, and most North American broadcast outlets shows a 150% increase in HD ad distribution since the same quarter two years ago. 

The firm says that two years ago, HD ads made up about 10% of all TV ads distributed by advertisers to broadcast and cable media outlets. Today, that number has grown by 150%. The firm says that in the second quarter this year, 25% of ads delivered to TV media outlets were in high definition. 

According to Extreme Reach, 44% of financial services advertising is now in HD versus 29% in 2010. For automotive ads, that differential is 26% versus 16%. The biggest jumps are in entertainment advertising, where HD format has risen from 17% of the mix in 2010 to 50%, and political ads, where HD has increased from 8% to 51% in two years. The study finds similar -- although in some cases (political and entertainment) not as dramatic -- increases in the number of advertisers using HD.  

The Extreme Reach study has also found acceptance of high-definition advertising around sports venues, in places like lounges, concession areas, and JumboTrons. The firm says that compared to local TV broadcasters, sports venues have higher HD adoption and distribution rates. Extreme Reach data says 63% of sports TV destinations -- defined as venues where sports teams are playing -- accept HD advertising. And those sports destinations are receiving a significant portion of their advertising in HD, too.

Please click here for the original article.