Out Back for the Up Front
turbotodd 100000388Y Visits (1967)
No sooner did I chat with Mesh co-organizer Stuart MacDonald about the blogging insurgency's breaching of big media's walls, and hear "GigaOm's" Om Malik tell us in the first session this AM that "the forces of Darwinism will apply in media, just as they have in technology," than I discovered that Johnson and Johnson announced today it was going to sit out the American media "upfronts."
According to an article in this morning's Wall Street Journal Interactive (subscription required), J&J decided to skip this year's annual advertising lovefest, where big advertisers come together with their agency partners and the networks to review the fall TV lineup and start the bidding for advertising time for the season's shows. J&J indicated that "it wants to bring the media-buying process in line with the business-planning process."
No, this doesn't mean you won't see ads for Tylenol and Procrit on your telly in the fall, but it's clearly a siren call that big advertisers have options...plenty of them. On the other hand, it didn't escape my notice that the very same day, MySpace struck a deal with Fox to begin selling episode's of "24" for $1.99 a pop, as well as offer some free episodes of Jack, Kim and the gang, brought to you courtesy of Burger King.
Finding a big audience in the Web Two Point Oh world is no doubt going to be an increasing challenge...but for my money, the real to key is going to be finding the right audience. Though real dollars are beginning to shift from the traditional ("Old") media to the digital space ("New"), I suspect a balance needs to be struck between eliciting attention and intention. Despite all the budgets shifting around, the winners in this Darwinian land rush will be those who can both shout from the cave entrance to the gathering hoardes, while also effectively tuning into that lone voice off in the distance.
I think somewhere between these two ends lies the sweet spot...and next year's ad budget.