Okay, I'm centered and ready to blog. Can you say "I Been Monopolized?"
Speaking of commercial breaks, on the very same day that increased rumor and innuendo swirls around about the longer-term fate of AOL, and as CNN announces a revamped video portal that encourages contributions from citizen-journalists entitled "CNN Exchange," a completely and seemingly unrelated report suggests that houses with digital video recorders (DVRs) watch less TV than adults in the general population who don't have DVRs.
Excuse me? Can you hit the rewind button for just a sec?
They clearly did not survey yours truly's household.
Anecdotal though it may be, let me just set the record straight: I lived and worked in NYC for several years, where there are plenty of amusements and diversions of all varieties. Watching TV was not high on my cultural agenda.
But in 2000, when I had occasion to use my first DVR, I went from watching virtually no TV (the evening news, the occasional sports broadcast, etc.) to becoming a full-fledged TV junkie. Why?
Though some might have attributed this partly to my not having a life -- which would be at least true in part -- the more likely culprit was the shifting of control that the DVR presented.
For far too many decades, the commercial TV networks have been the traffic cops of our collective blissful idiot box entertainment schedule. From where I sit (which in recent times is way too much on my sofa in front of the TV), the digital video recorder changed all that forever. It unenslaved me from the confines of that evil broadcast programming schedule.
In just a few short years, I've gone from a world where the broadcast schedule dominated (at least from the perspective of the networks) to becoming largely irrelevant (My TV schedule is now called the "Time Warner Interactive Programming Guide").
Second, yes, I do fast forward during the ads (Oops, did I say that out loud?) Yes, I did. Again, I do fast forward during the ads. You want me to rewind and say it again?
But guess what else? Sometimes I also stop and watch the ads, especially if they're entertaining! Can you imagine??? Hitting the rewind button to go back and watch an ad that I missed?
Geico? I am all about that Gecko. I could envision getting together with that really cool little lizard and talking a little auto collision probability sometime over a Vodka Gimlet.
Or those new Apple commercials contrasting Windows and Macs? You know, the ones where the Windows guy freezes in his startlingly realistic recreation of the "Blue Screen of Death?" I wish I had a button on the remote to download those ads...talk about knowing your audience.
Yes, in Marketing 1.0, good and entertaining advertisements were optional. In Marketing 2.0, gaining -- and more importantly, keeping -- peoples' attention is going to be all about getting them to hit the stop, rewind, and play buttons. In that order.
Madison Avenue ad agencies' new mantra for training their TV commercial producing folks should go something like this:
"Stop, rewind, play. Stop, rewind, play. Stop, rewind, play." My thumb hurts! "Stop, rewind, play." This is worse than the Crackberry! "Stop, rewind, play." Cut!
No, I'm more inclined to believe the CBS proprietary research and my own experience which suggests that whatever their level of TV viewing, the audience tends to watch more telly after getting their DVRs than before.
The boob has been unleashed on the tube, and their vote is now the remote.