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November 24, 2014

NYTVF: Digital Frontiers in the Advertising Markeplace

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Sep 11th 2007 8:38AM
NYTVF Advertising Panel DiscussionI entered the NYTVF panel discussion about advertising with some trepidation. After all, I love TV, but I hate commercials. In fact, I'm in love with my DVR because it allows me to fast forward through all that garbage. And I really love watching my shows on DVD because I don't have to worry about about commercials at all.

However, I also realize that much of my beloved television programming (and now) internet content wouldn't be possible without the support of its sponsors. Advertising is an unfortunate necessary evil. For bloggers it means the difference between getting paid (like here at TV Squad) or diligently toiling away without any compensation with the unselfish commitment of a Harry Potter house elf.

Still, no matter how much I wish we lived in a world free of annoying pop-up ads (especially those pesky pharmaceutical ones) or that the networks would provide commercial-free programming (without trying to trick us with embedded advertising) -- I know that's not how it works. Someone has to pay the tab.

And as I learned Thursday, September 6, advertising may be evolving in our ever-changing digital age, but unfortunately (for me) it isn't going away anytime soon.

The "Digital Frontiers in the Advertising Marketplace" panel was moderated by Rob Norman from Group M. The panelists were Dina Kaplan (Blip.tv), Joe Michaels (MSN), Caleb Weinstein (New Line Cinema), and Virginia Heffernan (The New York Times).

The panel talked a lot about the value of user-generated content and social network groups to advertisers. Basically, advertisers are paying close attention to who is generating content (and their scope of influence) on the web and trying to get their brands insinuated into the conversations.

Joe Michaels admitted that MSN tries to find ways to encourage viral marketing in everything they do. Caleb Weinsein of New Line Cinema explained how bloggers and social network groups, such as facebook and MySpace, are seen as potent forces that can help mobilize passion around a movie - via old-fashioned word-of-mouth campaigns.

Dina Kaplan of Blip.tv called word-of-mouth campaigns the best forms of advertising because they're free for advertisers and feel more "authentic" to consumers. She said, "It's like a friend making a recommendation."

Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times agreed -- to a certain extent. She felt recommendations from friends are the best recommendations until that friend (or blogger in this case) begins working for corporate. The minute a reader feels a blogger has "sold-out" by including advertising -- their trust may waver.

After a bunch of other side discussions, moderator Rob Norman asked the question that most interested me: Is the 30 second television commercial dead?

The panel sort of avoided a direct answer for a bit. But eventually Dina concluded that the future of advertising on television and web-based programming will most likely look very similar to the model established in the early days of TV when Geritol sponsored Twenty One.

Despite my distaste for advertising, the panel was informative. However, I have to say that Virginia Heffernan, while personable, seemed to be out of her element on the panel. I'm a fan of the TV show Mad Men too (ironic since I don't like advertising) but Heffernan is obsessive. Almost every time she made a point during the panel she referenced Mad Men as her source. I began to wonder if she realizes it's just a TV show and that Don Draper is a fictional character played by an actor named Jon Hamm.

Then again, if watching Mad Men makes you an automatic expert on the topic of advertising -- I'd like to be considered for the next industry panel discussion.

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