The New York Times ran an article today titled. In the Age of TiVo and Web Video, What Is Prime Time?, by Brian Stelter. I'm sure it's a good read, and I will get to it, but it's the title of this article that really inspired this Blog posting. The mass media is challenged to find new audience or explain where their dwindling numbers are going. It's easy enough to postulate that they're going online or simply multi-platforming, but I'm not buying it. I'm beginning to wonder if they were ever really there to begin with?
I know, it's a provocative thought, but think about how Digital Marketing is maturing, and yet there's still not enough - in total percentage of ad spend - going to the online segment. My guess is that Marketers still don't feel like they're getting through to the major masses online. Well, let me ask you this: do you know anyone who does not go online?
So, this begs the question: if everyone we know is online, why don't Marketers feel like they are hitting everybody when they advertise online?
The other promise of online is metrics. We know (in a fairly exact way) how many people are coming through, where they are going, what they're clicking on, for how long, what they're searching for, and, sometimes, why they're doing it. That's some pretty robust analytics. How can traditional media (like TV) provide those metrics?
At best, they're guesstimating. Well, my guess is that, more often than not, it's easier to get high on the whiff of your own gas, than to look at the other channels and try to figure out where your Consumers really are (and what they're doing).
The disruptive nature of technology has also forced the thoughts that Stetler asks in his New York Times article. "The missing six million viewers who were watching prime television last May and have disappeared this year are still watching, but on their own terms."
It's getting harder and harder for media to hide behind numbers that are self-audited. It might be getting even harder to put value on the notion of prime time, as the world shifts beneath their feet. Prime Time is really all about the Consumer choosing when (and what) they watch. This could be at any given time of the day, or any given day of the week.
I think the Web lives an always Prime Time model. I think older channels, like television, still think they control what is Prime Time.