Marketing to teens will undergo a massive shift in the next four years. Online users are expected to grow from 13 million households in 2005 to 131 million by 2010. Websites like AOL, Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Apple are the major players in the online video game but who knows who will crash the scene by 2010?
Advertisers are becoming smarter about what people are looking at. In fact, teenagers are watching less and less television and more and more internet. You know, teens, deep pockets mean huge profits! Take note, parents – your children and teens are now the biggest buying block of our entire population – not only that, but they are born and bred to buy, consume, get into debt, seek an unattainable happiness through things they buy – end result: life will seem decidedly empty in the final analysis. Fight the power!
But back to the subject at hand. As the future of television makes its trek towards the online world, advertisers are having to find new ways to shove their crap down our throats. The answer? These nifty play-as-you-play television shows. No more sitting your butt in the front of the TV – you can watch Lost right on your computer – that way, you’re just a clickety click away from buying something.
Not only that, but advertisers will request that you first watch their annoying but conveniently interactive ad spot before watching the FREE episode. Gas, grass or ass – nobody rides for free. (Am I the only one who remembers that bumper sticker?) ABC tried this out in May and June with episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Commander in Chief and Alias. Turned out, people actually watched them.
From the horse’s mouth; Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group said of the endeavor, “The launch of ABC.com’s broadband player was a huge step for us as we strategically reposition our websites from marketing tools to rich entertainment platforms. With the data we’ve collected, we are better equipped to move forward with our advertisers and affiliates to create new multiplatform opportunities for our consumers.”
So the guinea pigs performed accordingly. It worked! The evil empire flourishes. 5.7 million episode requests from visitors to the site. 16 million video streams later and 10 national advertisers – like AT&T, Cingular, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever’s Suave, Universal Pictures and of course Disney – and a new vein was discovered to feed the people with more stuff they don’t need.
Best of all, though, an interactive Q&A produced a startling success rate. An average of 87 percent of users were able to recall the advertiser who sponsored the episode they viewed. Bingo! What more do they need? On top of that, viewers can get all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that these great people let them see a show for free. Does this mean the end of cable TV?
A whopping 84 percent of the viewers got a positive reaction, believing that it was a great deal to be able to watch the episode for free in exchange for watching the ads. A great deal? Maybe. Until it becomes annoying.
But hey, the young people are all online so the money has to also go online. TV is so over.
Those who gravitated to ABC’s broadband player tended to be young (naturally), highly educated, with an average age 29 and more than half were college grads, with equal numbers of male and female visitors.
What seems appealing about this new strategy is that you can sit down and watch anything you want any time you want, without having to depend on your TIVO or your memory or your time. You have the time; the show (and the ads) gets watched.
ABC will be airing their shows this way in the fall, so much of a success was their trial run. You can bet two things of this news. The first, everyone will want to watch online. The second, sooner or later hackers will find a way to get rid of the ads. Pop up blocker anyone?