November 27, 2007

My first virus. Yechh!

So I was running through my email the other day and up popped what looked exactly like a Microsoft update screen including a EULA checkbox which I automatically checked and moved on.

A few seconds later I realized that Microsoft does not generally update in this manner and in any case no follow up screens resulted from my checking the box.

Uh oh. At that moment I began received a series of message: “Sonic Activation Module”, software I’ve never used. These messages refused to go away no matter how many times I tried to close them.

Then I noticed the PC slowing down and checked CPU usage; it was nearly 100% with no apparent programs running. I shut it down and looked in my Windows XP for dummies book which recommended a procedure to rectify this mess, as follows:

· Erase all restore points

1. Restart

2. Click Start, right-click on My Computer, and choose properties;

3. Click the System Restore tab and select the Turn Off System Restore check box;

4. Click Apply and the click OK

5. Restart

6. Update antivirus program with the latest definitions, scan and disinfect your entire computer

7. When the computer is disinfected, repeat Steps 1 through 4, except that in Step 2, uncheck Turn Off System Restore.

· Then create a new restore point for future use.

It worked! Wow, I may have a whole new career in IT. Not.

November 15, 2007

Web Sites Cast a Net Over Striking Writers -

Sara McBride, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal (“Web Sites Cast a Net Over Striking Writers” quotes CEO Rob Barnett: “When there is nothing but repeats (on television), people will go searching for alternatives.”

With broadcast ratings down 10-12% in the first few weeks of the new TV season, with all new programs, the networks need to rethink their situation concerning the writers or risk serious long term damage to the medium.

Cable networks and Fox built audience in the summers when the old broadcast networks were in reruns.

It's clear that today's younger viewers are fickle, fast and agile in their media habits. If the writers' strike causes more people to sample alternative fare such as online "webisodes", this can only serve to weaken an already increasingly ignored medium.

Will there be new TV networks via the web? You betcha. And I think there will be plenty of advertisers ready to support them, also encouraged by the obduracy of the networks.

November 12, 2007

The TV Writer's Strike

We're nearing a perfect media storm for advertisers as viewers melt away from television, an ongoing process accelerated by the strike of television writers. What this means for companies that need TV ad time to market their products: higher ad prices, fewer ad positions available and greater difficulty in reaching a broad spectrum of customers with TV sales messages.

For holiday marketers who have not yet completed their ad buys, this media maelstrom could be particularly crippling during a season that some companies count on for a majority of their annual sales.

What are these advertisers to do? Move quickly and decisively into other proven media such as radio and newspapers that offer low production costs and short lead times for ad scheduling. The radio and newspaper media are in an advertising recession right now and can offer advertisers attractive ad rates and a platform from which to move seasonal merchandise quickly.

Is the internet also an option for these TV-deficient advertisers? Of course, but high reach on the internet is very expensive now and often hard to come by. Radio and newspapers, on the other hand, offer an opportunity to reach half or more of America in a morning.

November 2, 2007

TV Ad Time “Selling Out” at High Scatter Pricing: What to do?

The costs of TV media buys is soaring. How can advertisers adjust their media strategies to maintain effectiveness and ROI?

In these occasional moments of high network ad demand and media pricing, we often see trade articles quoting advertisers and media buyers threatening to move some of their media dollars to other media.

In my experience, however, these words are rarely followed by action to make major shifts in media strategies.

This time may be different, however, because I don’t think this situation is likely to change in the near future and I doubt whether some advertisers will be able, even if willing, to maintain satisfactory ad schedules in TV.

So what is an advertiser who needs to buy TV ad time in the near future to do? I suggest

  1. Analyze the geographic distribution of your sales patterns.
    1. Local Spot TV in key markets, while more expensive on a CPM basis, may afford you heavier media levels than you can buy in network.
    2. Local Spot Radio can offer similar leverage with very low production costs if you use ‘live read’ announcer copy. This can often be a good deal more credible than slickly produced ads. And radio has just as large an audience in the early morning hours as TV has in the evening.
  2. If your product or service is of relatively high interest to your customers and prospects---I’m thinking of such business categories as automobiles, entertainment, travel, etc.---then you can use print media effectively because your readers will want to see what you have to offer.
  3. Want the quick high reach that TV used to offer but can only deliver today with multizillion dollar budgets? Consider
    1. Outdoor especially the new digital OOH venues that deliver a TV-like message to a specific location and audience
    2. Sunday supplements like Parade, what they used to call ‘prime time print’ because they can reach a third of the country in a day.
  4. Multiplatforming newspaper and/or magazines with their respective internet sites and brand-specific microsites along with sponsorship of relevant streaming video.

Digital Out-of-Home Media: Where to go to find availabilities?

This is the second guest post from Tom Eley of Eley Media Management, our favorite expert on out-of-home and place-based media. This post points the way to find out what's available in outdoor advertising today.

There are several organizations that can help you keep abreast of new players and developments:

  • SRDS,, has a subscription-only buyer’s guide to Out of Home, and has many new companies listed;
  • The Outdoor Advertising Association of America,, also lists many new companies on their membership roster and has other information on outdoor digital networks as well;
  • Traffic Audit Bureau, TAB is the audience measurement arm of the outdoor industry; and
  • The Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau,, was recently launched by ten of the major players in the digital OOH network business
You can reach Tom directly at