Each and every day we are hounded with messages from companies trying to sell us their products. Ads are impossible to escape. Even the bottoms of the security bins at the airport are covered with media these days. But, the Internet and new technologies like DVRs (which let us fast forward through those often pesky ads) have changed the advertising landscape, making advertisers, and the media companies who host their ads, scramble to find new ways to get their messages out to key audiences.
According to a recent article by the Associated Press, many traditional media companies, with CBS in the lead, are taking risks with what’s being called the “Big Bang Theory” – offering incentives on the Web to get people to watch programming and tune into ads elsewhere, like on their TVs at home.
The goal is to increase online viewership without jeopardizing traditional TV ratings and DVD sales, while making more money off of Web programming. Though such a structure, companies can acquire new revenue streams online, and can ask for more money from advertisers, as the Web provides a better mechanism for demographic targeting and tracking viewer numbers, and provides the ultimate added benefit of letting viewers immediately act on ads by clicking through to make purchases.
Other forms of online media, such as live video broadcasting (courtesy of sites like Ustream.TV), also provide advertisers with compelling new ways to reach viewers. Much like TV, live video shows on the Web – e.g. a snowboarding tournament or a live concert - many times offer natural breaks in programming that allow for mid-roll ads. This gives marketers the opportunity to appeal to viewers while they wait for their show to come back online. And, unlike TV these ads can’t be avoided by pressing fast-forward on the DVR.
Of course the Internet is still somewhat unchartered territory for advertisers. But, as they determine how to navigate the landscape, and get better at targeting us with the messages that matter - both online and off - hopefully we'll reap the benefits.
Either way, brace yourself. Because love them or loathe them, advertisements, much like the Big Bang theory, won't be going away any time soon.