Thursday, April 15, 2010

57 channels? Oh you had no idea, boss...

Last year ad spend in Ireland, in broadcast and print, came to about €1.25 billion. Online estimates are between €80 and €100 million. (Still only estimates but, we're told, soon to be measurable when the Interactive Advertising Bureau hits Ireland with its analytical service.) Despite the fact that traditional ads dwarf online spend, what was spent on them contracted by 25% last year. I don't think anyone can tell you what the increase was online, but it was at least as dramatic and altogether more positive.

For the trad agency model, the elephant in the ointment of internet-based advertising has always been how to make it pay. When Bruce sang that he had 57 channels and nothing on, even though it all seemed out of control, that was only in a Brett Easton Ellis kinda way. Truth was, it was infinitely controllable, both in media and production terms. And there was a nice layer of fat in there too for operators in the space. But the radical difference between online and offline media has been the empowerment. A word beloved of new-age meeja gurus, but appropriate nonetheless. Control has simply been taken by the people via their handycams and their phones. No need for actual high walls and perimeter guards around tall masts at broadcasting stations any more. Result? An explosion of content, most of it utter tosh, but quantities far in excess of anything that traditional advertising production could hope to keep up with. Not that that'll stop em making a viral for you.

Meanwhile the steady erosion of market share for TV channels, the prevalence of the Sky record button and the decline of print has blah blah blah. McConnells Advertising, it was announced yesterday, has been bought and will in time be streamlined and possibly subsumed into its new owner DDFH&B. More of that can be expected and, dare I chance saying it, encouraged. Because the old model is broke, it does need fixing and there is a multiplicity of ways in which it can be done.

Oh yes, my financey senses are tingling like mad this last week with the huge developments that are finally beginning to happen. Twitter has figured out how to include advertising. Foursquare seems to be genuinely getting people to use it creatively for branding purposes. Massive news from Apple too with the OS4 launch of iAd that looks like it might worry the socks off the advertising guys at Google.

I'm off to the energy store but when I come back I'll be planning in-depth, thoughtful, erudite and analytical pieces on each of these, and other, forays into paid online advertising. Either that or I will steal, slash and reassemble useful content from smarter people into some Frankenstinian monster that I'll present as my own.

Much like this post.

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