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MEDIA PERSPECTIVES - September 12, 2018

Editor's Note:

I just wanted to let my readers know that I've created a blog where I will be posting essays and articles I've written on digital and online marketing. It's an extension of Media Perspectives. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Here's the link: Jaffer Ali's Blog - Perspectives from a Media Contrarian

Thanks for Reading!

Will Content Replace Advertising To Deliver Audiences?
by: Jaffer Ali
(Originally Published: July 30, 2010)

It used to be the Web's only real killer app was communications - email. But these days people use the Internet for content consumption more than anything else.
--Business Insider

Some people whisper under their breath. Others like Bob Garfield of Ad Age scream from the top of their lungs. But most choose to stick their head in the sand when the topic arises. What is the topic that dares not speak its name?

The advertising model is broken across all media.

Is this really a controversial declaration? From where we sit, the answer is clearly obvious. Newspapers are in a free fall. So much so that bills will soon before Congress to bail out newspapers. No doubt so they can continue to promote government agendas.

TV Guide, once with a circulation at 9 million strong had its latest reduction to its rate card register an audience of 2 million. In Hawaii, two network affiliates merged because they could not sell enough advertising to go it alone. Radio stations are convulsing under the current model.

The online advertising marketplace has beaten an inexorable path from 5% click thru rates in 1997 to near zero. According to comSCORE, click thru rates have declined to .1%. Results are so miserable that the metric cognoscenti have developed new ways to measure engagement to divert and obfuscate.

Audiences are avoiding advertising with increasing frequency. The remote control, DVR and mouse are technological tools that make avoiding advertising easier. Add the fact that what passes for advertising today has become more an exercise in stalking customers rather than romancing audiences, and you have a model that begs for an overhaul.

We all recognize that we live in an "on demand" world. The painful verdict is obvious; audiences are not demanding more advertising. Present advertising methods are no longer effective in delivering messages. Advertising once effectively stood between audiences and brands. Ads were the intermediary...carrier wave if you will.

But if you glimpse at the horizon, we see a new dawn.

In the distance one can see the beginnings of content replacing advertising to deliver audiences. What do I mean? Consider the fact that people do not avoid content like they avoid advertising. Audiences search for it. Audiences demand it. Audiences want content!

If you were building a mouse trap, would you want to use cheese as the bait or a faded facsimile that passes as bait? Content is much better bait than advertising.

We have now reached the point where content can build and deliver huge online audiences.

Deliver audiences where?

Advertisers need to consider satisfying content demand on their site. People do not care where they consume media. Presently, audiences primarily consume content on publishers' sites and then with declining frequency leave those sites to visit the advertiser.

This has led to an unhealthy, inefficient ecosystem. Drudge gets about 7-9 billion visits a year yet few stories are viewed on his site. The audience doesn't mind that. They want the content and they will click to Newsmax, Breitbart, NY Times, or USA Today.

But imagine if audiences saw a link on Drudge and instead of reading a Tiger Woods article on, they read it on view a video of Walter Payton's career on Just For Men's website. Advertisers will pay more for the content and visitor bundled together.

Content creators could get a small royalty for each time their content is consumed on an advertisers' site...regardless of who sent the visitor to the advertiser. Content networks would replace ad networks.

On publisher's own sites, if visitors and content were bundled and sent to the advertiser, the ecosystem gets healthy in a hurry. Under this scenario, publishers and advertisers would need to think of their sites differently. Publishers need to see the wisdom of giving up the traffic and advertisers have to spend effort actually engaging the audience beyond the content that drove them to their site.

Advertisers need to become destination sites. This is the place to romance and engage audiences. They become media curators if you will. Publishers need to create great content but give up the traffic so audiences can consume that media on advertisers' site. By bundling the content and visitor and sending audiences to the advertiser, everybody can make money.

Advertisers will pay more for content when it is bundled with a real life person who wants to read the article or view the video. Once the visitor is done with the content, the environment surrounding it must then do its magic to further engage the visitor.

The Internet is nonlinear and the time has come for content creators, advertisers and those who aggregate content (publisher sites) to send the traffic where it is most likely to bring value to the ecosystem. Once one understands that the audience does not mind where they consume media, then the dawn of content networks appear over the horizon.

And content can replace advertising as the intermediary in delivering audiences.


Original Article: Will Content Replace Advertising To Deliver Audiences?

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