A Scenic Tour of the Online World

The Changing Landscape of Advertising and Content Creation

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Here’s a really interesting piece on the state of advertising from Seth Godin. Definitely worth a read as we consider the way that online content has (and continues to) impact traditional media – print, television, and radio.

The ad-supported models have gotten knocked around pretty good over the past decade. But it seems clear, at least to me, that great content can’t continue to be produced for free.

There are exceptions, or possible exceptions. For example, popular music. Perhaps record companies cease to exist because musicians come to view recorded music as marketing rather than money making. They now record music to get you interested enough to come to their live performances.

That model doesn’t hold up for things like news gathering, but there are glimmers of change there, too. The Wall Street Journal has long been able to charge for access to their articles online. And The New York Times’ paywall seems to be a solid success. For both, you can access some content without paying – the teaser – but you have to pay if you want to see it all, or see it all on your terms and your timetable.

That’s not advertising, obviously, but it points to a decrease in the devaluation that online content has been subject to since its birth. As the public becomes more willing to pay for valuable content, thereby “proving” its value, advertising will pay to reach those audience members.

I haven’t been able to find any conclusive data comparing ad consumption online vs. offline for publications available in both formats. I don’t know that I ignore the online ads at nytimes.com any more or less than I ignore the ads in the print version. It all depends on the ad, how relevant it is to me, how eye-catching it is.

I’m still amazed, though, the extent to which online consumption is consigned to 2nd class status. How can the networks NOT include online viewing stats in the ratings numbers for their prime-time shows?

Anyway, here’s the link. I’d love to hear what you think.


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