90% of the time when I’m online I’m multi-tasking.Â Sometimes I’m also watching TV.Â Sometimes I’m listening to music or a podcast.Â Sometimes I’ve got the radio on.Â For me,Â that’sÂ been typical for years. So I wasn’t the least bit surprised to read the following in Susan Whiting’s (President/CEO of Nielsen) keynote addressÂ at a recent client meetingÂ — 30% of all media time is spent with more than one media. And four out of five TV viewers are interacting with other forms of media while they watch TV.Â Â
But…the pace of media transformation is most certainly quickening.Â
Many people, including Whiting believe that 2006 could very well be the tipping point in the transformation of media –Â forcing a serious “rethink” of just about every aspect of the media and marketing business.
The fact is, the boundaries of both time and space are being systematically demolished, enabling consumers to increasingly access and share information whenever, wherever and, however they want.
“I want it WHEN I want it”
Time-shifting — the recording of a program for viewing at a different time isn’t new. Since the 1984 Sony Betamax decision by the Supreme Court we’ve been able to record a program to play it later.Â
Of course, TiVo, DirecTV and other US cable or satellite subscription services offer DVR set top boxes.Â Not only do 80% of households subscribe to multi-channel program sources like cable or satellite TV; but telecosÂ including Verizon and SBC are spending billions on fiber networks to deliver Video-on-Demand and high-definition programs.
What isÂ interesting is how quickly time-shifting is evolving as it moves beyond the TV. Consumer electronics companies like Sony, and computer giants like Microsoft and Apple, either already do or plan to provide hardware and software to let viewers access TV programs and other media through single, integrated systems.
Apple made a huge splash in 2005, when it cut deals with ABC and NBC to sell some of their shows through iTunes.Â Since their debuts on iTunes in October, ABCâ€™s “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” are up in ratings versus the same period last year.Â Executives credit iTunes with helping to drive up overall ratings. Further, the networks are evolving to provide content opportunities as well, as is evident at CBS, ABC and even NBC with the pilot episode of “Conviction,” which the network made available for free on iTunes before it even aired.Â
And because of the increasing penetration of broadband,Â internet pioneers are producing and distributing video/audio content more broadly.Â Case in point is the video stream of the March Madness I wrote about in this post.Â Â
As the price of the technology dropped and the ease of use increased, podcastingÂ gained momentum and isÂ growing rapidly as an advertising vehicle.Â Â Syndication (RSS/ATOM) consumption is doubling every month.
But even as companies try to adjust to the disruptions of time-shifting, theyâ€™re starting to do battle on a second front…well beyond the walls of our homes.
“I want it WHERE I want it”
A cadre of mobile devices allows users to take their media wherever they go — creating place-shifting.
TiVo recently announced plans to make content available via mobile phones. TiVo owners will also be able to use their PCs to drop recorded shows into iPods and Sony PlayStation Portables.
MVNOs are coming out of the woodwork to offer mobile services well beyond the basics.
And think about this…ten million families already have mobile video capabilities in their cars â€“ nearly double last year’s number — a number that’s expected to more than triple by 2010. The big three automakers already offer integrated media options. The 2006 Buick Terrazza comes with a 40-gig hard drive, capable of playing music, movies and videogames, simultaneously. GMC is marketing its Explorer conversion van as a â€œrolling living room,â€ complete with a 26-inch high-definition flat screen monitor.
Sling Media and Orb are duking it out in a market for a cutting-edge technology which lets users watch programming televised in one location from just about anywhere else. With Slingbox you just attach it to both a TV set-top box and a broadband network, and watch programs stored on your DVR from just about anywhere — another room or another country.
By time-shifting and place-shifting media usage it means the shifting (and potentially deletion) of the advertising that is attached to it. This has huge implications for marketers.Â But it also represents enormous opportunity if you can get out of the 30-second box.Â For example, broadcast networks such as ABC are selling some of their most popular shows on Apple’s iTunes for $1.99.Â But a recent Frank N. MagidÂ survey found that 72% of consumers would be willing to watch an ad if the sponsor picked up the cost of the show.Â The stream of the March Madness games not televised was made possible by advertising revenue.Â Yes I sat through an Old Spice commercial and a Dell commercial as I watched the stream.
As the audiences continue to splinter and power continues to shift to the viewer it will take the ultimate in creative, innovative thinking to find new effective ways to reach the anything/anytime/anywhere consumer.Â A task that is both daunting and exhilarating.