aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Imagining some 21st century ad innovations
If Madison Avenue is sooo 20th century, what might the 21st look like?
Vinton G. Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, gave a very interesting and wide-ranging talk last September at Dickinson College. His take on the future of television and advertising is particularly interesting.
He suggests that the broadcast and cable guys are so stuck in their business models that they don’t get it. And the IPTV future propounded by the telcos, “frankly, tries to turn the internet into a cable television system.” He imagines a day when you download a full movie in 30 seconds:
[rough transcription begins @49:20] If your downloading streams of packets, they don’t have to be confined to audio and video in this television environment. In fact, let me suggest to you that the term “television” should be reserved for today’s industry, with its business models and everything else. And the term “video” should be reserved for the medium, video, because video on the Internet is not the same as television because the business models don’t have to be the same. I can download packets with audio and video but they could also have text, they could have books, they could have other digitized information, programs, it could be anything.
So imagine you are downloading a movie. Not only are you getting the audio and the video, but you’re getting information about when it was made and who made it and what was the book it was based on and something about the author. Sucking packets off the disk, you have a programable device which is interpreting the packets - it’s not a dumb raster scan thing, it’s actually looking at the data and deciding what to do with it - if some of that information is advertising information you don’t have to confine yourself to the old television advertising model which is: interrupt the program just at the most crucial part and make sure they hang around watching the commercial before you get back to the who shot John? Instead, you can use the model that Google has so successfully monetized, allowing the customer to be in total control of what advertisements they watch or if they watch them at all.
Imagine downloaded information about some of the things that you see in the movie. You’ve heard of the term product placement where people pay money to put the Macintosh with the logo prominently in the middle of the screen or the car comes up so you can see the grill of the Cadillac. Those are all attempts to monetize product placement. But now imagine that you have a movie playing. It’s being played through your laptop or you have a computer controlled device and you can mouse around on the screen and click on things in the field of view. If the information that was downloaded about that product has activated that objectâ€¦ a window can pop up and tell you something about that product. And if you happen to be online at the timeâ€¦ you can pull back fresh information about the product, who buys it, where is it available and so on.
Suddenly the consumer is in charge of the advertising experience, not the advertiser and not the party delivering the content. This is such a diversion away from the classical business model that it’s very, very hard for some companies to completely understand that they could exercise very, very different mechanisms to monetize the entertainment.
He qualifies that this is no Google plan. He’s just imaging how an alternative way of treating video could be quite different from a user point of view. But it’s an imagined future I could like much better than my cable bill that comes with commercial interruption and irrelevant clutter.