The Media Delusion

by Brian Haven
@ 9:28 AM

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» Marketing



I wasn't really paying attention to all this Jay Leno prime-time stuff until I stumbled across a blog post by Brian Stelter on the website (a version of his post was published in the New York print edition of the Times). Brian's article essentially walks through NBC's reasoning for moving Leno into the 10pm time-slot.

The article outlines how the 10pm time-slot is dead because viewers are recording programs on their DVRs at 8pm and 9pm, then watching them at 10pm. Shows like "Fringe," "Heroes," and "Lost" are the programs referenced in the article that draw potential 10pm viewers to their TiVo (or equivalent). mama and pop play dvr catch-up
[DVR Time from O Pish Posh on flickr]
Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Entertainment is claiming that Leno at 10 is "totally DVR-proof" (according to Stelter's article). This article, and the claims of the NBC executives, really got me thinking about some issues that need to be addressed.

First, I don't have the data, but is the audience drawn to Jay Leno the same people watching "Fringe," "Heroes," and "Lost?" I'm thinking the viewers of these sci-fi dramas are more of the Letterman/O'Brien types. Additionally, is the audience that Leno draws in line with DVR usage? Granted, I'm not a TV expert, but the issues of audience alignment weren't addressed in the article. BusinessWeek did address it in this article.

Second, these dramas ("Fringe," "Heroes," and "Lost") are intense programs with intriguing and complex story lines. Naturally, this exaggerates the viewers disdain for disruptive advertisements, which is probably why everyone records the program to watch later (that's what I do).

This just feels like a helpless attempt at attacking a problem (DVR usage) with the wrong solution (prime-time Leno). I wish Leno success, this isn't an attack on him at all. This is, however, an attack on business as usual for marketing and advertising. Many people from these disciplines attend conferences and read articles about how traditional advertising doesn't work. Everyone nods their heads in agreement. But when it's time to go back to the office, all of the old behaviors kick in. Value is still determined by impressions (eyeballs); tactics and strategy still focus on disruption (TV ads, banner ads), and; education programs still teach these methods. The entire marketing and advertising ecosystem depends on antiquated and failing approaches to gaining and retaining customers.

Something seriously needs to change, but don't pile that on Leno's back.


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