Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cross-Platform Synergy Isn't Just an Advertising Strategy

A day doesn't go by without some media executive talking about "promoting a brand across all of our platforms." In normal person speak, this means, "I think we're finally figuring out how to make the Internet work for us."

Initially, I think traditional entertainment companies viewed the Internet as a threat (of course) and then as another place to advertise their films and programs. Now they are recognizing that digital media is not only a powerful tool to educate and attract an audience, but it has the potential to drive new revenue, as well.

The key is interactivity. This has always been the magic of the Internet. It is the only medium that allows instant, individualized feedback and action. You see something you like and - click - you're on it. This dynamic interactivity has given a tremendous boost to research departments. The instant feedback allows creative and media approaches to be adjusted almost on the fly in order to maximize impact and efficiency.

But even more important, digital media brings the impulse buy into the living room. Take a couple beats to think about that. When the programming on your TV screen is being served from the Internet, you have the capacity to see it and buy it, without leaving your chair. That is a development with enormous impact.

That was the holy grail that was envisioned a decade or more ago when the first "BUY" button was put on a remote control. As it turned out, those buttons never did anything. But now that vision is finally becoming reality. We have the infrastructure and the technology that has turned TV advertising into point-of-sale advertising. That's huge and it will be the norm, probably within a couple years.

Whether it's Tivo or the new Netgear box or the Netflix Roku box or one of the Vudu joint ventures with TV makers, or any other similar device. As long as it has an input from the Internet and an HD output to your TV, it is part of the revolution.

So, while the media producers are crossing their platforms, the guys upstairs are getting ready to sell stuff. When you can point your remote at the sweater on a Desperate Housewife, and it shows up at your door the next day, the decreased value of content won't sting the entertainment companies nearly as much.

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