It’s the End of the Ad World as We know It…

…And I feel fine.

A press release from IBM Global Business Services about a new report states that the advertising industry will experience greater disruption “in the next five years than occurred in the previous 50.”.

I’ve downloaded the twenty-four page report and will read it when I have time (February?), but I’m not sure I buy the premise. We can look back at multiple five year periods over the last two decades and see an accelerating pace of change, but I’m doubtful that the next five will see more change than the last fifty, at least from a financial sense. Such a degree of change would likely mean the death of traditional media, and I don’t think television, magazines and newspapers will die in that time frame.

Although I suspect newspapers will continue their decline and are at real risk of collapse, magazines will likely find a new, albeit lower, baseline and limp along.

Television, I think, will change less than people think. We’ve been hearing about the advertising effects of interactive television for, what, a decade now? The problem now is the same as it was then: the last fifty feet. That bit of pipe is already stretched to the limit, and the demand for more and more high definition programming only exacerbates the problem. There’s currently no room to carry much interactivity, particularly interactivity with the personalization required to make it effective. That continual pushback of the move away from analog signals shows that this problem isn’t going to be solved soon.

Now, interrupt driven television advertising likely is going to go away (or be curtailed) as it’s efficacy is seriously in question (especially with the advance-thirty-seconds buttons on DVRs). I expect to see more integrated advertising and product placements, which will lead to interesting disclosure discussions.

In short, while I certainly expect there to be major changes in the next five years, “more than the last fifty years” is marketing hype, not a scientific statement.


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