October 31, 2007


This is the first of three guest postings from Tom Eley of Eley Media Management and describes the types of Digital OOH

Minority Report here we come! Digital signage now encompasses:

  • Posters
  • Bulletins
  • Malls
  • Airports

And pretty much any other high traffic location that OOH companies can plug in with:

  • LED’s for the larger formats
  • Plasmas or LCD’s for the smaller and closer formats

There are also some exciting new technologies like digital ink on the horizon from companies such as Magink: www.magink.com.

Many of these new screens are hooked up to wired or wireless networks that facilitate copy changes in seconds not weeks.

Indoor Networks

On one end of the spectrum are indoor tightly-targeted networks offering video formats and featuring non-advertising as well as advertising content. Examples of this include:

  • The Hotel Network
  • In Stadium network
  • In airport Networks
  • A variety of networks in hospitals and doctors offices
  • All Over Media in gyms
  • Ad Space in movie theatres and shopping malls
  • Wal-mart’s In-store Network operated by PRN
  • Captivate in elevators owned by Gannett
  • Video at gas pumps backed by NBC
  • etc. etc....

Two OOH Associations Have Different Roles

‘Having non-ad content is the differentiator for why a company joins our Trade Association versus the OAAA’, says Kim Norris, former cable executive and since April President of the new Out of Home Video Advertising Bureau, ‘Although that point of difference between us and larger format outdoor digital networks won’t last long. They will want to try content too at some point,’ she says.

Mass Digital OOH: Subway Entrances, Bus Shelters

In the middle of the spectrum is CBS Outdoor’s high resolution LED network of Urban Panels above subway entrances in New York City. These screens show full motion video with no sound and only show advertising content. CEMUSA is experimenting with LCD screens implanted in bus shelters as is Decaux with airport dioramas.

Digital Bulletins

On the other end of the spectrum are small networks of large outdoor bulletins converted to an LED format that are only allowed to show static images, due to traffic safety concerns.

At this time, they only show advertising content, but many of the outdoor companies have agreed to make them available to broadcast emergency information such as Amber Alerts.

In Minneapolis this summer when the bridge collapsed, within 10 minutes ClearChannel’s digital network alerted drivers to avoid the area.

Demand for advertising on these new super-bulletins is high and locations seem to sell out as soon as they are built.

TV on the fly? Digital OOH is taking off.

Next post: Where to go for availabilities and other information.

The post is the work of Tom Eley, President of Eley Media Management and is edited by Gene DeWitt. For more information contact Tom at teley@mindspring.com.

Tags: Digital Outdoor, OOH, Advertising, Media

October 29, 2007


At this morning’s Newhouse Communications breakfast, Jeff Zucker said that “Friday Night is quality television and we’re going to stick with it” citing the time it took the current hit show “The Office” to achieve high ratings and the growth of viewing to “30Rock” in its sophomore year.

In response to a question from interviewer Ken Auletta, Zucker also said “I think the New York Post Business Section is fantastic.”

Zucker is enmeshed in a very interesting “frenemy” relationship with Rupert Murdoch and Fox because

  • NBC Universal and Fox have just launched an internet site to house key TV programs and other content from both networks and other sources; and
  • CNBC has a continuing multiyear contract with the Wall Street Journal, recently acquired by Murdoch, that requires the WSJ’s television reporting to be done exclusively on CNBC. The rub is that Fox has just launched the Fox Business Channel in direct competition with CNBC.

In response to a question about NBCU’s recent acquisitions of the iVillage web business and the Oxygen cable television network, Mr. Zucker described a plan for a multiplatform media entity that would span network broadcast, cable and online venues. This entity will include iVillage, Oxygen, Bravo and The Today Show and will provide advertisers with a one-stop shopping enterprise for targeting women.

Mr. Zucker also said that “We live in a blogosphere world” in which “everyone is a journalist.” Hard to disagree.

October 26, 2007

Newspapers Are Still A Dominant Medium Among Affluent Boomers

Predicting the future of newspapers is interesting but not particularly relevant to marketers today who are accountable for results tomorrow vs. some distant point in time. And, for now, newspapers are an extremely potent media vehicle for reaching intelligent, affluent adults---people who represent a prime and major market for many many products. We recently did a study of the media habits of upscale boomers defined as 'Adults 45-64 with $100,000 plus household incomes and found that these folks are very heavy newspaper readers and very light TV viewers. There are some very intelligent people buying newspaper companies today and my conviction is that they will adapt over the years to more fully exploit the strong connection newspapers have with their readers.


Consolidation of media buying at huge mega-media agencies has erased clout because no media seller can afford to offer one of these behemoths a lower rate. Discounting to a WPP agency, for example, means lowering rates for over 20% of all media billings; no media seller can afford to do that. Moreover, since media buyers change jobs very often, no discount could be kept from other media agencies. As for keeping creative and media together, the original rational for unbundling was to get media people out from the back of the full service agency 'bus'. The reason broad market creative and media won't be rebundled, however, is that all of these holding company siloes have new ways of charging advertisers additional and very profitable fees.

On the other hand, smaller media agencies can make confidential deals with the media that the sellers don't have to share with dozens of other advertisers and agencies. So, the fact is that if media negotiating clout can exist at all today, it's likely to be found in the smaller, more agile players.

October 19, 2007

Google’s Newspaper Ad Sales Venture

May be able to deliver a lot of potential eyeballs for very low costs.

Some pretty impressive newspapers are participating in this auction bid system for space including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

Procedure is to make an offer for desired space specifying size of ad, position desired, date of insertion, bid price, etc. If a paper accepts the offer the ad runs, if not not.


  • For many marketers the uncertainty of the ad running is a deal breaker.
  • However, for direct response purveyors this represents a heck of an opportunity to ‘game’ newspapers for very low insertion costs.

Recommendation: Regular newspaper advertisers who are permitted* to use the Google print system can easily test this program to determine the lowest possible rates for each newspaper on their schedule and then use this information to negotiate lower costs directly to ensure that ads run as desired.

*Note: It is my understanding that some very large traditional newspaper advertisers such as retail department stores are not permitted to use this system. One wonders how this works and who is on this list.

Google’s TV Ad Selling Venture

There’s may be less here than meets the eye.

Description of Offering

  • Remnant space on Echostar satellite’s 13 million homes.
  • No information available on locations of Echostar subscribers.
  • Ad units are inserted into positions reserved for local cable outlets so this is only cable.
  • An auction system in which buyers offer bids for time which runs only if the bids are accepted.
  • Audience data via satellite tuners is offered at no charge and is likely very accurate on a household viewing basis; i.e., no demographics.

Observation: Undifferentiated household viewing in a polyglot 13 million households (12% of all US TV HH) may be of value to some direct response advertisers who just want the lowest cost per unit of audience. Of limited perceived value to advertisers who want to know where and to whom their messages are delivered.

Recommendation: Pass on this until universe expands and there is more information on audiences.

October 17, 2007

Major Media Update: What's Up?

This is the first post in a planned series of commentary about the current state of the major advertising media. I welcome your comments and suggestions.


In an era when lower grade choice beef is often sold as prime, are we paying premium prices for a lower grade of television advertising time?

Primetime has often been regarded as a gold standard for media effectiveness because it combined the phenomenal selling power of the television medium with high ratings and viewer involvement providing advertisers with an opportunity to reach very large audiences quickly.

A 2.0 rating is primetime?

However, average primetime adult ratings have fallen to their lowest levels in history. For example, according to Nielsen, regular primetime programming during the week of September 17-23, 2007 delivered less than a 2.0 average adult 25-49 rating:

Demo Ratings
Women 25-54 2.10
Men 25-54 1.70
Adults 25-54 1.90
Source: Nielsen Television Index September 17-23, 2007

Since a rating point represents one per cent of the audience, this means that more than 98% of viewers DID NOT see the average program. That’s prime?

Top dollar for lower ratings

In spite of these very low audiences, primetime network television still commands the highest advertising prices. The following table shows what one rating point (representing one per cent of Adults 25-49) is reputed to have cost advertisers this fall in a variety of TV dayparts:

Dayparts Cost/Rating Point
Early Morning $25,502
Evening News $22,379
Prime $36,612
Late Night $32,644
Source: SQAD 4Q07 Scatter Adults 25-54

Based on the above CPP and ratings figures, one 1.9 rated primetime :30 should cost in the neighborhood of $70,000.

On the other hand, reinvesting that $70,000 into early evening news programming would generate 3.1 ratings, a 63% increase in audience.

Sure, the early evening news programming will skew older but that’s a bonus since we’re only counting Adults 25-54 in the above example.

So, where’s primetime and why are advertisers paying a premium for a lower grade of beef?

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at who’s in control of network advertising, the sellers, buyers or advertisers and the implications of these observations for advertisers.

October 11, 2007

Media Merge

The Combination of Newspapers, Magazines, Internet and Streaming Video is Creating a Powerful “New” Medium

One of the great aspects of print is that it puts something in people hands, something they’ve expressed great interest in by paying for it. As a result, each magazine and newspaper’s audience represents a community of shared interests. Therefore, by definition, the print audience is engaged with its media.

However, a possible weakness of print communications relative to broadcast has been the relatively long intervals between reader exposures to the medium. Rather than permitting a constant stream of messages as do radio and television, the magazine exposure interval in particular can be weeks or months even allowing for repeated readings.

The internet now empowers magazines and newspapers to communicate with audiences in real time, continuously and with constant interactivity and feedback. I just logged into Time.com, noted an article about breast cancer and emailed it to my wife. Before I could log out, Time’s website lured me to another health-related article. This is engagement and added value of the highest order.

October 2, 2007

A Most Formidable New Medium: Magazines & Newspapers

What I like about print media is that they put something in their audience’s hands, they touch their consumers.

I also like the fact that for the most part print audiences pay for their media, which is as clear a demonstration of true interest that one can have.

Increasingly I am also admiring the way some publications are integrating the internet into their content delivery mode, creating a hybrid, morphed medium composed of print readers accessing web content and new users via the web.

So, are magazines and newspapers old, ‘dying’ media as some pundits would have us believe? Or are they in the vanguard of the ultimate expression of current media trends, building on their strong print audience relationships to extend their communications platforms into new touch points with a wider audience?

I think the latter and as publishers figure out that they need to promote viewing of their increasing video content via some form of tune-in advertising, they will constitute a formidable new media force.