Top 5 Media Trends of 2008

Courtesy of McVay Media

This year will be one of pivotal change for the media industry. As the lives of consumers accelerate, marketers and programmers are being forced to find new ways of reaching consumers and researching/collecting information about their desires. Here are five trends that will emerge throughout 2008:


Many advertisers are now convinced that an audio ad is no longer enough to reach their customers. New Media has opened up new options to reach consumers—outside of television and radio, and local direct advertisers are buying campaigns that are “diversified” in nature. Radio/advertising companies that offer a multi-dimensional solution to advertisers (including audio, online showcasing, online lead generation, etc.) are more likely to win the lion-share of the business. Many of the radio companies we consult on building their digital marketing/sales strategies have reported that the street-level enthusiasm for radio buys with an interactive bend is at an all-time high.

Broadcasters now stand at a cross-roads on whether to further include interactive media into their advertising-product-portfolio or not. The operators that effectively include interactive media in their strategies for audience and revenue growth will see returns this year. The operators without a vision for including interactive in their plans will leave money on the table—and sacrifice dollars to local internet portals.

Radio has long offered advertisers the value preposition of “immediacy” and “access to instant purchasers.” The convergence of digital media with radio is essential to radio’s future credibility when it comes to “immediacy” and “access to buyers right before the point-of-purchase.” In that regard, more broadcasters will invest in developing interactive media this year.

Another aspect of three-dimensional-marketing is mobile marketing / cell phone applications. Progressive companies are now using cell phones to reach their customers. Case-in-point: Starbucks. Use your phone to text a zip code to “MYSBUX” (697289) on your cell phone. Then, Starbucks will instantaneously respond with the location of up to three stores in your immediate area.


Transparency is a buzz word in programming and sales this year. As it pertains to listeners, there is unprecedented resonance with programming that is “authentic.” On-air imaging that sells a station’s actual music and features goes miles further than grandiose claims of “best music and biggest variety.”

For an example of this trend in action, visit YouTube and view the commercials for the iPhone. Their ads were plain and lucent, demonstrating the iPhone’s appearance and features. Apple didn’t hire attractive “hip” young people to act cool and trendy while using the phone on television. They simply showcased the phone.

Also, local-direct advertisers are demanding more transparency in their campaigns. When an advertiser runs a campaign online, they can track the exact number of impressions, exact number of click-throughs, and exact number of completed sales. Radio stations that offer integrated marketing campaigns (on air and online together) will be able to offer some of these statistics, which can increase the confidence and credibility in their product.


Snack-o-tainment is a word that was first used by Wired Magazine to describe how poeple now consume entertainment in bite-sized pieces. Whether it’s television, movies, games, or your radio station, the attention span of an average listener is diminishing. Especially if you are targeting the 18-34 year old demographic, this is no time for promos that take 15-30 seconds to wind up and get to the point. Between cell phones, television, the internet, movies, games, fashion, e-mail, and podcasts, listeners can meander effortlessly from media to media without personal regard to your agenda. Get-yer-point-across-when-ya-got-em.


On this season’s “Cyber Monday,” online spending hit $733 million. According to ComScore, 2007’s “Cyber Monday” saw an increase of 21% in spending from 2006, and it represented an 84% jump from the average daily online spending totals during the preceding four weeks. Now, people are buying online—and they are researching products online. Forrester research recently published a report that estimates that almost $400 billion of in-store sales (16% of total retail sales) are directly affected by research that consumers have done on the web prior to their in-store purchase. This year, media outlets are likely to offer more simple solutions for local-direct advertisers to market their products online.


Behavioral research is now becoming integrated into the “marketing feedback loop” at many prominent companies—and it is resulting in much more complex targeting. This is an extension of the “age of transparency” we appear to be entering as a society. Now, technology is making it possible for us to track the actions of consumers with more precision than ever before. Companies like Amazon, AOL, and Disney have all announced plans related to better tracking of their consumers’ buying decisions, resulting in better targeted (and more efficient) marketing.

Arbitron’s “People Meter” has the potential to do this for the radio industry. With PPM, it is possible to see patterns of a stations’ audience tune-in and tune-out with unprecedented clarity. Will 2008 be the year for more advancement in PPM and its interpretation? This year will hold the answer!


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