GenuineVC David Beisel's Perspective on Digital Change

September 13, 2006

The most frequent commentary on this blog has been in the online space, but I’ve also kept a theme of “new new media” – additional emerging sets of digital media outlets which will provide new ways for advertisers to reach consumers (like in-game video advertising, digital signage, etc.). There are a couple of interesting trade articles this week which demonstrate that two of these other new digital advertising forms are continuing to develop.

First, the emergence of out-of-home networks. This MediaDailyNews article summarizes recent developments,

“…digital out-of-home networks are popping up everywhere from high-rise elevators to gas station pumps to public rest rooms, creating new places and states of mind for marketers to reach their consumer and business prospects. The growth is being spurred by a combination of entrepreneurial zeal from venue operators looking to tap the fast-growing advertising sector, as well as from increasing demand form advertisers and agencies seeking alternatives to traditional media…”

Of course, there’s some marketing hype baked into the article (like when one commentator says that “this is a market that is poised to explode”), but it is positive datapoint on a curve nonetheless.

The second is mobile advertising. This Advertising Age article notes a shift in thinking from the carriers,

“The carriers, after years of resistance, are opening their mobile-phone services to advertising… Sprint Nextel this week is expected to announce that it will allow ads on its deck — the landing page for customers accessing the internet from cellphones on the Sprint network. In February, Verizon Wireless Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton said he’s testing a program to open up cell service to advertising using a two-tier model, offering customers one service without ads and a cheaper, ad-supported service. Cingular is considering on-deck advertising, and is likely to have some advertising on its deck as soon as the end of the year. The ads are hardly an example of the most innovative mobile marketing taking place right now, but they do signal a willingness on behalf of carriers to work with advertisers.”

While many industry articles have noted stated that “concerns over consumer resistance to mobile ads also appear to have abated,” I personally would take a less aggressive tone and consider the recent announcements (like above and others like Enpocket signaling they have a carrier soon-to-be on board) as part of an evolution in thinking which will continue, rather than an about-face. Regardless, I think in the next couple years we’ll continually see an increasing number of advertisements on our mobile phones (like we already are today with ESPN’s WAP site) beyond the text-message mobile marketing common today.

As traditional media continues to lose consumers’ mind- & time- share and corresponding marketing effectiveness, what other digital avenues will materialize for advertisers to reach them?

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