In the last few years, my interest in football waned and ultimately went the way of the dodo. At first, I wasn’t really sure why this was, considering my love of baseball only increased at the same time. A recent epiphany, however, laid the reason bare.
In response to Verizon’s recent advertisements highlighting the deficiencies in AT&T’s 3G data network, AT&T this week sued its competitor. The carrier’s suit claims both that the map displayed in Verizon’s ad is misleading and that the commercials are causing the carrier to lose “incalculable market share…” and “invaluable goodwill….” AT&T argues that the substantial white areas shown on Verizon’s map are misleading because many of those areas are covered by its 2G EDGE network. Supporting AT&T’s claim is its online Coverage Viewer, but its suit entirely misses the point of Verizon’s advertisements.
If television networks want to drive more traffic to their websites, they should post more full-length episodes of their programming online, and do so sooner, rather than focusing on superfluous marketing gimmicks. In the DVR and TiVo age, when many viewers simply fast-forward through commercials, providing full-length programs on networks’ websites with limited commercial interruptions has a better chance of keeping viewers focused on the advertising. As someone who regularly finds himself catching up with certain programs on the network’s websites, I have noticed that because the commercial breaks are rather short (often between 15 and 45 seconds), I am exposed to more advertising. Also holding my attention on the commercials is the fact that I cannot channel surf during the breaks. Simply put, by delivering shows in an environment that eliminates most distractions from an advertiser’s message, networks can increase exposure to both their programs and their revenue sources.
Timely posting of shows to networks’ websites also helps, as I often need to catch up with a previous episode before a new one airs.
Recently-released updates to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” seek to deny bloggers’ free speech rights by restricting how writers may discuss products or services companies provide for their review. While I favor transparency and honest disclosure wherever conflicts of interest may exist, the FTC’s disparate treatment of old and new media inherently denies new media its First Amendment rights.
In the age of Facebook, where one is compelled to divulge personal information on a level that wholly eviscerates the concept of privacy, concerns being raised over behavioral advertising seem rather overblown. Using individuals’ browsing habitsâ€”both the sites we visit and the searches we performâ€”behavioral marketing aims to target online advertising to the individual. Advertisers hope that by delivering more-relevant content, users will be more likely to click on the ads. Privacy concerns arise over how the information used to provide behavioral marketing is gathered and how that data can be used, but the concerns seem overblown.