Five things to keep you awake in 2011

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Source: MediaWeek

1) What do I need to do about the iPad?

Despite the short time that the i-pad has been on the market, advertisers have rushed to take a piece of the action. However, working out how to exploit the new technology will be a key challenge for 2011.

Michael West of FOUR’s opinion

Personally, I am absolutely amazed regarding the consumer and media owner reaction to the iPad. Here is a concept which wasn’t “new” (several manufacturers had tried tablets but failed previously) and, when announced, it was initially met with some scepticism. Is it necessary? Too expensive? Who will use it? Why will they use it? Etc, But because it’s Apple and, as with anything Apple, they take an existing idea, design it better and make it cool (remember, Apple has never really invented anything, they just perfect).

When it launched, by golly did it take the market by storm (in Q4 alone, over 7 million were sold). Consequently, most major media owners have launched an iPad app (amazing really considering the time frame we are talking about). By autumn, big powerhouses like the FT and The Economist were even holding breakfast seminars discussing the effect of the iPad and how the media landscape will change as a result. Pretty impressive reception if you ask me.

The media landscape has been subject to some major changes due to technology previously- think radio, TV, internet and smart-phones. But I don’t think media owners have ever reacted quite this quickly to the introduction of a new technological addition. And it’s no wonder advertisers are trying milk the cow. Accurate measurement of usage is now the next challenge.

2) What’s next for social media?

Social media, principally Facebook, is a growing force to be reckoned with for advertisers. It has been suggested that people check Facebook as regularly as they check their emails.

There is money in Facebook (and Twitter and YouTube etc) but for the brands that are dedicating spend to social media strategies. The sites themselves might not see much of this money yet but sponsored conversations where “friends” and “followers” are passing on a branding message or blog links/videos is now worth $57 million globally. The figures aren’t frightening on a global scale but there aren’t many advertising segments set to grow by 26% in the coming year.  It’s a time for innovation and the likes of P&G have already run successful campaigns on Twitter with product promotion tweeted by a top celebrity (Kim Kardashian)

3) How important is privacy?

Targeted advertising is increasingly sophisticated and can help consumers find what they want, but it can make for the creation of an online ‘big brother’ experience, when your tastes are being second-guessed by the advertiser’s hidden hand. The question is will it curb peoples online habits? If you know that if you visit a lingerie site on your work computer and within minutes you are served lingerie ads on work or non related sites – will the potential embarrassment limit your surfing?

4) Will social media and TV become one?

It is continually commented on how TV and social media go hand in hand; people updating status’ and engaging in online conversation whilst a TV show is running. The question will be when and how the two will merge into one viewing platform, perhaps through the introduction of internet enabled televisions (expected sales of 350 million worldwide by 2015). Four think in 2020 we will laugh at this question being asked as internet TV’s become the norm.

The introduction of Google TV in the first half of this year will make this a more recognised platform than it is currently. The software also allows for non-Internet TV’s to access the web through a set-top-box, making this option even easier for users to access. It has already opened new opportunities for advertisers within downloadable TV applications much like on smartphones and tablets. However, this could have an effect on TV advertising, as it only adds another distraction for users who might be inclined to turn away whilst viewing an ad break. Four believe ads on online are likely to become synchronised with TV activity – a real challenge for media owners and buyers!

5) Are paywalls working?

It’s still too early to say if online charging will work for mainstream publications such as The Times, given how much free competition is out there. Forecasters are predicting that “Low nutrition content will continue to explode across the web but quality journalism, business insight, financial advice and niche publications will be gradually disappear behind walled corners of the web”. But publishers need patience and deep pockets for this to become the norm

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