Barmy Ballmer ?? Part 2

Following on from my anti Steve Ballmer rant a couple of days ago (see previous post), I got to thinking more about just what will be some of the changes in media delivery in 10 years.

Lets assume for a minute that several things have happened to facilitate IP delivery. Firstly penetration of broadband is now standard for everyone and “super broadband” (with spends suitable for interactive TV viewing) are also spreading fast across the more affluent population centres.

TV’s are now linked directly to our IP system which also includes on demand films from NetFlix and a huge DVR hard drive capable of recording multiple channels simultaneously. All TV is fully interactive but most users receive limited advertising because the latest Tivo devices actually record and scrub the ads out. meshing the content into one continuous stream. In an attempt to bypass this consumer exclusion of ads, product placements have become so standard that many programs are simply sponsored by big brands to the exclusion of any major segment competitor.

What TV advertising does exist, tends to target lower and working class consumer demographics, since these are the only audiences who’s technology lag means they still have to sit through the standard advertising packages. The TV ad industry is decimated however millions flow in those sponsorship and content deals since without this support great TV content simply does not get produced.

Since most consumer groups, especially middle and higher income consumers now get all digital content via their IP device (here I am on board with Steve), the balance of power has shifted completely towards the audience. The new Google powered computers come with personalized advertising interfaces which allow the consumer to chose which types of advertising they will accept. Thankfully for products like toilet paper, fast food companies and insurance services, every consumer must accept 25% random advertising in order to continue to access free content (would anyone willingly chose to get ads from these companies??).

A new industry has also opened up…the “entertaimercial”. This hybrid of ad and content allows those lesser brands to still deliver a message, whilst having to be much more focused on providing a positive consumer experience – generally using either humor or interactive gaming component to draw in the audience.

However the biggest issue of all is gaining user attention. Split screen viewing is now common with most users both communicating online and watching content at the same time. Since the introduction of speech recognition software further revolutionized email/IM and texting into one homogeneous platform, everyone watches and talks at the same time. Blogs get posted in the time it takes for someone to loose their temper but there are so many of them almost no one comments anymore except a few friends and loyal followers. Our social networks pulsate with new contacts who drift in and out of our virtual lives since, in most cases, we never met them and never will.

So in many ways I agree with Steve. There is a revolution coming in media and most importantly in the way it’s consumed. And in ten years time the industry debate is not about delivery platform anymore, it’s about how we even get noticed.

Dick Reed
Just Media, Inc.

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