A New Paradigm In Advertising

You know, most times you don’t normally see the beginning of a tidal wave forming. However, if one is tuned in properly and is listening to the right things, you could get lucky and start to connect the dots before you reach the tipping point on something big every once in a while.

I could be wrong, but I think I may have been privy to the beginning of a paradigm shift this week.  Now, I am not trying to hold myself out as a seer on this, just that I was lucky enough to be listening to the right people and was in the right place at the right time to see the very infancy of what I think will begin to be a movement in the future of media advertising that will be the norm in the not-too-distant future.

A high-school friend of mine wrote a blog today that coalesced something that I have been mulling around in my head for the past week.

Ralph Fontaine wrote on his web series’ blog about the future of advertising and the potential that traditional advertisers could find spending their ad dollars in online content creation to recapture some of the lost live television audience.

Ralph points out that networks are not properly measuring the viewers for their content who consume that programming in non-traditional ways. That inaccurate measurement is leading to reduced revenue and lost advertisers since the audience is no longer watching live tv and traditional commercials.  Ralph (correctly) opines that those advertising dollars could easily be leveraged to support a much broader range of on-line media content and therefore get the message out to potentially greater audience with a far smaller investment in advertising.

He is definitely on to something. Now of course, Ralph is in the middle of producing and directing his own web series, so he has some skin in the game, but that does not negate the truth in his assertion that web series and other online media is a much cheaper alternative than television advertising.

Now, like I said earlier, I had been thinking about some of these issues already this week.  Why? Because this past week filmmaker Kevin Smith took his media empire in a new direction online this week by launching an internet radio stream with four hours of live, daily programming supported by his vast stable of podcasts.

Smith has been on the leading edge of internet marketing and new media since he first launched the web site for his production company and started a bulletin board where his fans could interact directly with him all the way back in the early 90’s. Smith has stayed up on all of the new media trends and has embraced them. He launched a weekly podcast (called Smodcast) five years ago. He has well over a million twitter followers and he utilizes Facebook with twitter to market his content.  He is even trying to distribute his latest move, Red State, without a studio distribution deal and by only marketing the movie through social media.

So, with the launch of his Smodcast Internet Radio (S.I.R.), Smith is acknowledging that he believes the future in media is going to be web-based.  We won’t be watching TV in the traditional fashion–at a set time and date–and online streaming of videos/movies will soon overtake physical DVDs.  With the launch of S.I.R., Smith also set out to make advertising accessible for just about any company.  Smith is speaking to a sizeable, national audience, yet the cost of a two-minute live-read radio ad for the launch of S.I.R was just $200.  Incredible! So, if you are a mom and pop store–or even just a guy who wants more followers on his twitter stream, you can afford to get an ad on the hottest new internet media channel.

Now, I am sure that deal won’t last long–in his first week on the air, Smith’s two live radio shows were the #1 and #2 most downloaded programs on iTunes–so his new venture is catching on fast.

But, this may just be the beginning of a whole new marketing paradigm.  If internet radio and web series can keep getting their message out there and companies start to realize the audience that they are attracting–then the advertising dollars are sure to follow.

If you’re looking to be an early adopter–contact your favorite blogger, podcaster, web series or internet radio station and have a discussion about becoming a sponsor…that is the future and you can be on the crest of the wave.

So–who do you think are the people on the cutting edge that we should all be looking to as media content producers that are getting it? Who’s program would you want to advertise on? Let me know…

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