Category Archives: Internet

24 – The Unaired 1994 Pilot

My, how times have changed.

15 years ago, there were an estimated 38 million Internet users worldwide, mostly in the U.S. (IDC).

As of June 2009, approximately 1.67 billion people worldwide use the Internet, according to studies by Miniwatts Marketing Group.

Humor often can be insightful. “Insightful” isn’t a typical description for the humor found on CollegeHumor.com; however, the site’s content is often damn funny.

My media friend Dan Forth of ClassicRockForever.com discovered something both “funny” and “insightful” from CollegeHumor: the “unaired pilot” of ’24’.

Ever wonder how Jack Bauer could save the world and stop the bomb from exploding back in the day when we relied on payphones, slow modem dial-up, and AOL/Prodigy chatroom for online conversations?

Well, now you can see…and marvel at how fast our world operates online now. Times have changed.

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Web Analytics: The Actives and Less Actives

Digital life makes everything easier. Right?

Sure, for many…but not all. First of all, the technology needs to work. When it works, being digital can mean greater productivity…or it can be overwhelming just trying to keep up with the upgrades. Or frustrating to fix when there’s a glitch or interface problem, even among those who know what they are doing. And shopping!

Just consider all the different number of gadgets and digital options. To many, it remains very intimidating.

If you consider yourself a “wired” person, it is easy to forget the rest of the population. Not everyone is as happy with this digital life as you might be.

According to the latest update in the PEW Internet & American Life Project, 59% of us are less than thrilled with new digital connections and options, as illustrated in the graphic table above (“The Digital Less-Actives”).

Based on their on-going national panel study:

– 10% of us are “connected but hassled

– 8% are “inexperienced experimenters

– 15% are “light but satisfed” digital users

– 11% are digital “indifferents

Meanwhile, 15% are completely “off the network”. They have neither a cell phone nor internet connectivity.

Add all those user segment groups together, that’s 59% of the total population describing themselves as either non- or light-users. 59% that currently are not active digital users.

Meanwhile, only 41% of us are “The Digital Actives” (left graphic). 41% is not the majority…yet, based on media coverage, and Time Magazine’s appointment of “You” as the 2006’s Person of the Year, it might be easy to get confused.

Does that surprise you in 2007? Being a digital person (after all, you are reading this Jointblog post), wouldn’t you expect to see more people being digital?

What it means is we still haven’t reached the peak for a full digital life in society. There continues to be opportunity to reach new consumers.

The key?

Make it simple.

Make it easy.

Take away fear and frustration.

How well are you connecting with your potential digital audience? Are you making it too hard for them to use your site? Too difficult to be interactive with your digital audience? Are you giving your audience too much choice, too many options?

What can you do to make their digital life more simple?

Radio Finally Realizes It Can Do Social Networking, Too

The success of MySpace has spun off an emerging trend of new social networking startup site based on specific themes and custom labels. And now radio is joining the online marketing action.

Billboard.biz reports today that America’s largest radio company Clear Channel is starting up its own radio-branded social networking websites, with plans to get them up and running throughout this summer.

The concept? “Mini-MySpace” sites associated with a major market’s radio brand logo targeting that stations’ local community audience, allowing users to create and customize their profiles, upload their user-generated content and viral video, form friendship links, post comments and generally connect with other like-minded people.

At the same time, the radio stations with have a new opportunity to promote its activities and contests as well as community events, gossip, new music releases and even on-air podcasts.

Finally.

It’s only a decade late.

But at least it finally getting done.

How about the other radio groups?

Some Clear Channel example sites launched today: The Wild Space for Rhythmic CHR Wild FM in San Francisco; The Mob for Top 40 Kiss FM in Chicago; The Z-Zone for New York’s Top 40 Z100; Kiss Nation for Top 40 Kiss FM in Dallas; and many more to come from stations across the country based on new music formats.

Will they just be LateSpace?

What took radio so long
to wake up to the social networking phenomenon of the last decade? The Internet started as a community connector to share information (digitally) back when it was bulletin board Dos-based postings accessed via slow-baud dial-ups — long before AOL IMs, or even chat rooms in CompuServe or Prodigy.

Radio could have — and should have — established online social networkings long before MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Bebo, Zanga, Eons, UrbanBaby or any of the others popular places online today. Radio already had (and still has) established built-in interactive communities, including local fans as well as listeners who’ve relocated to other cities who remain fans.

Clear Channel’s plans will “monetize the sites with targeted online spots from local advertisers” while helping people connect with others locally. Meanwhile, users will be able to click on the user profiles in the chat area to enter and explore the social network.

According to the news release:

Each social network will have a user experience similar to that offered by MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and others. Users can create and customize profiles; upload photos, music and video; blog; and add friends. Users will also be able to enhance their profile pages with videos from Clear Channel’s catalog of over 6,000 music videos licensed from major and independent labels.

Yes, social websites are one of Top 10 things teens love to do. The timing is good for radio to step in and offer something fresh, especially since MySpace is turning more and more into a junkyard mess.

But it’s not just teens that want to socially network online.

It’s grownups, too — GenXers and Boomers alike. Adult Contemporary, Classic Rock, Oldies and other adult music formats should also be included.

There’s lots of competition among the most active social networking websites. Breaking through will be tough. Corporate Radio is slow joining the bandwagon when it comes to online social networking…perhaps its expertise in formating and its built-in on-air audience can help radio stations get the word out while creating a unique online community destination.

Just help users cut through the clutter!

It does lead to an interesting modern-day question
: How many online profiles can a person possibly have and keep up-to-date while still keeping up real-life responsibilities? Three? Five? A dozen? More? How many multiple personalities are we all living every day?

And another question: what will radio do about mobile social networking (like Twitter, etc.)?

Media Trend Watching: Radio Right Now

Joint Communications marks 30 years this month advising the radio industry through format programming, consulting, market research, marketing development and media strategy services.

The month of April also means it’s time for John Parikhal’s annual spring check-up as this week’s featured FMQB cover story to discuss radio and the evolving mediaspace challenges radio faces in the immediate future.

Among the discussed topics:

> The proposed XM/Sirius merger — including the financial and competitive implications as well as Mel Karmazin’s catalyst role (puzzling; Stern probably helped save Sirius; Mel sees opportunities)

> The trend led by Clear Channel and other big groups toward privatization (more squeeze and bleed? And Clear Channel gets rewarded?)

> HD Radio (just another local spectrum)

> PPM ratings measurements (consistency of measurement will help)

> The cellphone (risky for electronic ratings measurement)

> Blink spots and other “Less is More” initiatives (applaud the experimentation; spare listener energy; don’t invade the consumer)

> Radio’s needed presence on the Internet and its mishandling of opportunities that went to MySpace instead (getting better…but still behind due to insufficient support staffing and streaming fee penalties)

> Google’s new deal selling radio ads (“It’s nonsense”)

> The lucrative potential of selling and targeting the 30-59 year old demographic (so much money radio could grab)

> An updated look at radio’s emerging trends (demographics!)

FMQB’s chief editor Fred Deane gets it all started by saying:

As the radio industry evolves at a rapid pace, critical decisions about the medium’s future become increasingly more urgent. Technology issues have enveloped the industry to such a challenging extent, that the call for radio leaders to be actionable has never resonated so loudly. John Parikhal has never met a challenge he didn’t like, he relishes the very concept. While Parikhal’s client list continues to remain firmly entrenched in radio, the macro version finds him involved with a variety of media and marketing companies. His latest foray with strategic Internet initiatives with some large clients has him thinking about the future 24/7. It’s spring and time for our annual check-up with one of our industry’s deep thinkers.

Thanks, Fred. All that and more…just click here for some great reading. Then come back and add your thoughts here on the Jointblog.

Additional reading: Thinking Through The Decision Making Process

Connecting Radio To Digital Music Fans

Music fans are passionate. They talk music. Download, upload, swap, and playlist music. Participate on and start their own fan sites, go to shows, create/buy custom cellphone ringtones and fan wallpaper, serve as street marketers building up the buzz, blog it, and more.

These are great days for interactive music fans …radio, are you listening?

They live the music of their favorite bands everyday.

Remember those days, Gen Xer? Sound familiar, Boomers?

Despite all the doom and gloom of industry indicators (album sales, retail sales, ticket sales…all down 15-20% from a year ago; weak debuts on the charts that don’t stick; weaker TV ratings for music programming; etc.), there never has been a better time to be a Music Fan.

Radio is still figuring out how to connect with them. Some in radio are getting it, many others aren’t.

What do teens want?

Radio has to program better to young music fans.

Radio has to understand their language, their various cultures. Value them. Be a place to connect with other like-minded people.

Radio can still do it.

Radio has always been an important social gathering filter. The “secret language” of rock n’ roll delivered through transistor radios creating generation gaps between teens and parents back in the ’50s and ’60s is exactly the same kind of social networking we see today. Only now, it’s through digital communication using multiple gadgets and devices in more interactive ways.

How will radio deliver more interactive opportunities for its listeners to form fresh social networking communities?

I stumbled upon this digital artwork (above) from a music fan in Germany. It’s a great way to express creativity and be a fan, sharing it with the world.

Music Radio Website Idea
: Create a custom digital webart community for Music Fans to express their creativity…it’s a great way to participate in youth culture, acknowledge their contributions and connect with their music passion…the very essence of your music format. Then, convert the listener graphic art into a station/artist music gateway, where users/listeners simply click on the artist name — leading music fans deeper into the site, allowing the radio station to showcase the music.

And be a music fan, too.

Media Trend Watching: Annoying Banner Ads

More ad dollars keep going to the Internet.

Last month, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that Internet advertising revenues for 2006 were estimated to be $16.8 billion, a 34% increase over the previous revenue record of $12.5 billion in 2005.

Globally, 2006’s Q4 totaled just under $4.8 billion — the highest quarter ever reported.

Nine short years ago, total spent Internet advertising in the 4th quarter (1997) was just $424 million…more than an eleven-fold increase.

These ad dollars are being spent on search marketing, paid search links, streaming video ads, contextual GoogleAds, email campaigns and many other forms. Among all choices, the most popular — and often most annoying — are banner ads. Sure, they deliver “eyeballs”…but many of them are just plain bad. That can’t be great for ROI and certainly not for brand building strategies.

American may love streaming video…but the only people who like the banners ads next to the video probably are advertisers.

I found an article for “The Top 5 Most Annoying Banner Ads on the Internet“. No doubt you’ve seen these banner ads while visiting your favorite sites. They’re everywhere. While it may be difficult to ever narrow it down to only a Top 5 Most Annoying (given there are so many available), the logic is sound (although there’s no scientific basis for their list).

Here’s the selections from Cracked.com (thanks, Cracked!):


5) TBS Very Funny Ads. This is everything that’s wrong with the modern media in one convenient image, for the busy modern person who needs to lose faith in humanity ‘on the go’. A website dedicated to the commercials which prevent you from watching the programs on television….Worse, they’re targeting the most annoying demographic on the planet: the “I only watch it for the ads” vacuum-headed smirkers.


4) Win a Free Thing. Banner ads used to promise instant free prizes, but even the dumbest internet surfer eventually realized that just maybe there weren’t magical love-powered companies dedicated to giving free electronics to everyone on the planet…One thing all these ads have in common is legalese fine print which, like mobile-phone cancer and minesweepers wrist, is a disease of modern society.


3) Surveys. It’s looking for people to complete marketing surveys, but only gets the kind who click on banner ads. The sort who can be distracted from what they’re doing by the chance to fill out a form! People who need time and a roughwork sheet to answer the question “Is this object shiny?”


2) Emoticons. In the beginning, there were text smileys. And it was good. People who could spell transmitted thoughts around the globe, finding uses for neglected keys to generally acting like smart people. But with the advance of technology the ability to “use a computer” or “think with mouth closed” are no longer required to get online and banner ads are ever ready to harvest the new subliterate hordes.

And topping the list (drum roll, please…)

1) Juggling Animation (scaled down in size to minimize the annoyance). The makers of these eye-wrenching monstrosities have fixated on “Get their attention,” forgetting that it’s part of the larger sentence, “Get their attention so they want to buy our product/service, and ideally aren’t motivated to track us down, cement our legs into the pavement, and slowly tear our heads off with a length of chain and a monster truck.”

The Jointblog avoids banner ads (except to get snarky with them). Which banner ads annoy you? And which ones do you think work?

Update at 6pm: The Fark forum board is posting many comments about more bad banner ads, such as this comment:

There are worse banner adds (sic) than those. The mortgage dancing people, animals, anything with that freaking mortgage company. Anything that flashes so that I have a seizure while I am trying to do something. Then there is this annoying windows one I ran into yesterday. I thought it was because of windows but it only happened on this one website..and it was about weight loss…IT DROVE ME NUTS. So yeah anything that resembles any kind of error window.

Tell us more…what other bad banners do you despise?

New Study: Americans Love Streaming Video

Thanks to the surge of broadband internet access and other new wireless high-speed options, Americans love their streaming video, making the web their own personal time-shifted TiVo.

YouTube was last year’s major success story, leading to mainstream media content owners, Network TV broadcasters and even video rental agents like Blockbluster and Netflix to make more of their content available online.

The public is quickly embracing streaming video…and wants more of it. Online video now blurs the mainstream/new media divide. Americans love their TV and online video is quickly becoming a mainstream way to consume it, even if Google says the Internet isn’t TV.

According to the latest reported update in a biannual digital video study from Ipsos Insight:

“At the end of 2006, nearly six of ten Americans (58 percent) age 12 or older with internet access had streamed some form of video content online, according to findings released by Ipsos Insight from MOTION – its biannual digital video study.

In other words, 44 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older – some 100 million people – have streamed digital video online.

Moreover, over one in four Americans (28 percent) age 12+ have downloaded a digital video file, with a significant amount of overlap between the two types of digital video.

Among those that stream video online, teens and young adults are the most likely to do so: three in four of all teens age 12-17 and young adults age 18-24 in the U.S. have streamed digital video content online. Moreover, they are more likely to have higher incomes and be highly educated, even more so than others with internet access.

This highly coveted demographic appears to be watching digital video more and more on PCs or portable devices. Teens and young adults, on average, have stored 20 percent of their entire video library either digitally (on a hard drive) and/or have burned it onto DVDs.”

What kind of online video is most-preferred? No surprise here. Among the various types of video streams offered online, shorter video clips, such as those on video-sharing sites like YouTube, are by far the most preferred.

Three-quarters of all digital video streamers have streamed short news or sports clips; two-thirds have streamed amateur or homemade video clips. Roughly 40 percent of those who have streamed or downloaded video content have accessed YouTube.

What does this mean? As written on the Jointblog last month, content may be king…but it’s distribution that really matters.

Make it easy, make it simple, make it fast. Video usage may soon be broken into two categories: short-form video for online streaming (music videos, perhaps commercials?); and long-form video for broadcast and/or DVD viewing (movies, TV shows, etc.).

This Ipsos Insight study pairs up nicely with a new video brand building study from Millward Brown which says video ads are great for brand recall.

The evolution of video continues to be a major media trend to watch, which puts the whole Google/YouTube/Viacom distribution battle center-stage.

To read more, click here