Articles of Interest

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - How Old MediaCan SurviveIn a New World - How Old Media
Can Survive
In a New World

The digital revolution threatens to push the traditional newspaper, television, radio, music and advertising industries into the dustbin of history. Here's what they might do to avoid the fate.
May 23, 2005; Page R1
There's no question: Traditional media businesses are struggling.

Newspaper publishers, book publishers, movie studios, music companies, ad agencies, television networks -- they're all trying to figure out how they fit into a new-media world. Their old way of doing business isn't as profitable as it used to be, but they haven't found a new way that's as profitable, either.


• See the complete Technology report.

• New Media, Beware

• Plus, see a chart that shows the declining audience for traditional media outlets.

So we decided to ask a wide group of media experts for their suggestions. What do they think old-media companies should do to survive? The answers ranged from the general to the specific, from the mundane to the far-out. Here's a look at what's ailing various media industries -- and what our experts suggest to help cure their ills.


In April, CBS News correspondent John Roberts appeared on the Evening News without a tie for the first time -- a small cosmetic alteration meant to strike a casual tone and appeal to a younger audience. But in an era in which the nightly news is losing esteem and viewers, an open collar will only get the networks so far.

TV news broadcasts have been in a state of crisis ever since CNN emerged as a competitor in the 1980s. The nightly broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC have had a 28.4% decline in total viewers since 1991, according to Nielsen Media Research. With the rise of cable outlets like Fox News Channel and the advent of online news sources, blogs and email alerts, the crisis only grows more acute.

Allow the viewer behind the screen. Corey Bergman, a local-television news producer in Seattle who blogs about technology innovations in TV news at the site, maintains that networks need to engage viewers in a conversation. That means tearing down the facade of how news is made. He suggests posting full, unedited video of interviews online. Networks also might present behind-the-scenes clips showing the creation of a news program from inception to broadcast, and let viewers relay feedback to help further report the story. "The end result is more accountability and more credibility," he says, "something the networks could use."


Which form of "traditional" media is most likely to become obsolete over the next 25 years? Cast your vote.
Broadcast beyond the TV. Networks are just beginning to pay lip service to digital media as a way of getting ahead of the next curve. Last June, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News launched a Web broadcast called ABC News Now that delivers information 24 hours a day. Viacom Inc.'s CBS recently announced a similar initiative.

Bernard Gershon, senior vice president and general manager of ABC News' Digital Media Group -- who spearheaded ABC News Now -- says offering 24-hour news online is only the beginning. ABC News Now has begun delivering content for Sony Corp.'s PlayStation portable device and other mobile gadgets by partnering with companies like Idetic Inc., Berkeley, Calif., which delivers video content to cellphone and handheld-gadget users. Subscribers can select and download news clips edited for quick viewing, or stream ABC News Now in real time. "Now we're going to create it for any screen you're looking at the content on," Mr. Gershon says.

Form overseas alliances. Not everyone thinks technology alone can save network news. As viewership shrinks, so do operating budgets for news gathering, especially expensive overseas reporting. Larry Ellin, an associate professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, suggests that network news organizations create strategic alliances with outlets around the globe. Instead of sending NBC News anchor Brian Williams to cover a tsunami after the fact, networks could broadcast current reportage from Indonesian news agencies that know the territory.

Audiences might respond to the authenticity and novelty of the content. "People aren't going to the Internet because it looks like a newspaper," Mr. Ellin says. "It's because they're getting something exotic and fresh and new and unfiltered. It's like eating French cheese. It hasn't been pasteurized. And it's good."

--Joe Hagan


The six broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN and the WB -- are facing big threats. Aside from the ascent of cable channels and videogames, there's the evolution of the DVD and the birth of broadband and wireless technologies -- not to mention the creation of satellite radio, high-definition TV and digital video recorders like TiVo. In 1978, the three original broadcast networks captured about 90% of the prime-time audience. Today, it's less than 50%.

Cut prime time. The Big Three networks deliver 22 hours a week of prime-time programming; Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television, says networks could cut that back dramatically, to 15. Filling 22 hours with quality TV is impossible, Mr. Thompson argues, especially with the costs of making shows soaring. "Right now you've got to throw on a bunch of expensive stinkers just to keep the lights on," he says.

Instead of network shows, local affiliates could run cheaper, more profitable fare such as news, game shows or sitcoms in syndication. The networks would save money on prime-time programming, and the local stations they own would pump increased revenue.

Weep while you work. Tom Wolzien, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., thinks networks should make it easier for workers to see programs at their desks. In a recent study, he found that the number of women aged 18 to 49 with broadband access at work roughly matches the number who are at home during the day. "Web delivery of soap operas could potentially double network profits," he says.

Many employers, obviously, would block the shows. But Mr. Wolzien figures that profits would soar if even 5% of women with broadband access at work tune in. He adds that this model might work for other types of daytime programming as well, such as sports.

Let the new blood in. Ron Simon, television curator at New York's Museum of Television and Radio, thinks the government should force TV networks to set aside time for independent or upstart production companies. The TV business used to have such a requirement -- the Prime Time Access Rule. Created in 1970, the rule required networks to reserve part of prime time for affiliates to program independently. The goal was to encourage program diversity and the growth of independent producers.

Mr. Simon advocates reinstating the rule, which was repealed in 1996 under heavy lobbying from Big Media. He acknowledges that the rule spawned lots of mundane but profitable TV -- but it also helped create some highly regarded hits, such as "The Muppet Show." Independent production companies, because they're more likely to take risks than the big studios, are more likely to come up fresh programming that pops, he says.

"Sometimes regulation is a good thing," Mr. Simon says.

--Brooks Barnes


The headlines for the newspaper industry have been somber for some time. The Internet and other electronic-media platforms are drawing ad dollars away, and daily U.S. newspaper circulation recently took its biggest tumble in nearly a decade, falling 1.9% in the six-month period ended March 31, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

With younger readers gleaning their news elsewhere -- whether "The Daily Show" or Google's news Web site -- newspapers have strong competition that can offer even fresher information in an easier-to-use format. Our experts advise newspapers to experiment with their Web sites and other high-tech ventures as a way to snag this new digital audience.

Thin more about news, less about paper. When Andrew Swinand, a senior vice president and group client director at Publicis Groupe SA's Starcom Worldwide, visits with newspaper executives, he says he hears too much focus on circulation, and not enough talk about creating more ideas and venues for news content.

For instance, Mr. Swinand says papers shouldn't just use their online sites to post the same stories readers can see in print. Some reporters should be allowed to craft blogs about their topic of expertise. Readers should be able to add comments and reaction to a story in an online community.

Let readers customize their own newspaper. "The newspaper of the future is going to be a coalition of niche products," says S.W. "Sammy" Papert III, chairman and CEO of Belden Associates, a Dallas newspaper-industry consultant. That means, for instance, that newspapers should offer online readers -- who are used to hunting for narrowly focused information that interests them -- an opportunity to create a specialized newspaper according to their areas of interest. So, for example, newspapers might allow their readers to click a few buttons and see all of a paper's coverage about local politics, excluding everything else. Or readers might opt for a page devoted to sports or cultural news.

Follow readers around. Ad executives think a crucial element of newspapers' future will be alerts: periodic news updates sent to Web-surfing cellphones and pocket-pinging BlackBerries. The ability to deliver information that's relevant to a consumer can help a publisher form an invaluable link with that person.

"I don't want my phone to buzz or ding or vibrate every 30 seconds with breaking news, but two or three times a day, I think I might be interested in catching up on sports events or some kind of breaking-news event that was of national stature," says Ty Montague, co-president and chief creative officer of WPP Group PLC's JWT New York. "I would definitely want to be alerted to that."

--Brian Steinberg


Never has the advertising industry -- whose best-known product remains the 30-second TV commercial -- faced such wide-ranging threats. Ad-skipping devices, including TiVo Inc.'s digital video recorder, continue to penetrate U.S. homes. The spread of portable electronic devices means the average couch potato can consume media on the go -- without ads. New programming venues such as broadband entertainment online and video on demand will only make it more difficult to catch consumers with traditional ads. Meanwhile, marketers have become more demanding, asking for better proof that the billions of dollars they sink into advertising actually pay off.

Tailor your garment. As media outlets proliferate, they're getting more focused. Advertisers need to narrow their efforts to their new narrower audiences, making ads relevant to those who are seeing them. This can mean creating TV ads that play off the programs they support, or individual magazine ads that are crafted for readers of one specific title.

"There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to media that works for every brand, every time," says Jim Stengel, global marketing officer at Procter & Gamble Co. This tailoring has been done before, but it is gaining increasing popularity among advertisers who want their messages to fit into consumers' lives. It's also easier than ever, given the rise of digital technology that makes manipulation of images much easier.

Larry Light, executive vice president and global chief marketing officer of McDonald's Corp., points to the company's "I'm Lovin' It" campaign, which uses the slogan as a unifying theme but does different things to appeal to different demographics. For example, the ad for a new fruit and walnut salad -- aimed at women -- features animated female characters. But a print ad aimed at a younger, male audience shows a young man with a strange hairdo above a picture of coffee and a McGriddles sandwich. The caption: "Bad Night? Good Morning."

Turn ads into programming. "We are thinking less about traditional paid-media advertising," says Chuck Porter, chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Miami ad shop. "To an awful lot of people, in general terms, advertising has taken on a much broader meaning: What can we do to make this brand famous?"

So, instead of producing straightforward commercial campaigns, ad agencies would create entertaining programming around brand names -- things that viewers want to tune in, download or read for their own sake. For instance, Crispin helped Burger King stage a fight between two actors dressed as chickens, meant to symbolize two TenderCrisp sandwiches the fast-food chain offered. The effort involved a Web site, ads showing things such as a weigh-in and, ultimately, an event on DirecTV.

Advertise where least expected. If consumers are growing inured to traditional advertising, marketers must find a different route. "The old-media world told us we should jam our commercials in between their programming," suggests James Vincent, a global managing director on Apple Computer Inc. business at Omnicom Group Inc.'s TBWA\Chiat\Day. "What if a brand could communicate in a longer format? You can do that on the Internet or in places that become destinations."

He points to Apple's retail stores as an example. Since the stores are operated by Apple, much of the in-store marketing is focused on the company's products, and Apple can shape sales and other promotions. The outlets also feature events and workshops that get all kinds of customers to spend more time learning about Apple products and ideas.

--Brian Steinberg


The biggest challenge facing book publishing today is winning over a younger generation that has made space on its shelves for Apple's iPod music player and Sony's PlayStation -- but not many books. A report last summer by the National Endowment for the Arts found that the steepest decline in literary reading between 1982 and 2002 took place among the youngest age groups surveyed.

Meet and greet. Ron Chernow, a leading biographer and author of such books as "Alexander Hamilton" and "Titan," says he worries that the screen is replacing the printed page. He suggests that publishers send authors into the public schools so that the process of writing is demystified.

"Publishers tend to be preoccupied with their immediate audience," says Mr. Chernow. "They can and should think in terms of programs where writers go into the schools. There might not be an immediate commercial benefit, but there could be a long-term advantage in terms of creating future readers."

Mr. Chernow says he has been involved with such programs in the past, and that they were effective. It helps significantly, he adds, when kids are given free books. "To actually have a chance to meet and discuss books with a living author stimulates reading," he says.

Don't get bound to paper. Richard Sarnoff, president of Bertelsmann AG's Random House Ventures, says publishers need to think beyond the printed page and find ways to reach younger readers with books that don't sit on shelves.

For instance, Random House is planning to deliver strategy tips to cellphones from videogame guides published by the company's Prima Games imprint. Random House also made an early, and significant, investment in Audible Inc., a publicly traded Internet venture that sells digital audio books that can be downloaded onto iPods and other MP3 players, as well as cellphones. "On a long-term basis, we have to create a thriving new base of readers," says Mr. Sarnoff.

Learn a new language. Lee Byrd, co-publisher of Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, Texas, says publishers need to do a better job reaching a growing group of future book buyers: Spanish-speaking children. Ms. Byrd, whose publishing house focuses on children's books that often feature Spanish and English on the same page, says, "Publishing 'Little Red Riding Hood' in Spanish isn't going to get the job done. Kids want to read about their culture in their books."

Ms. Byrd urges publishers to find stories that reflect Spanish-speaking traditions. She cites "La Llorona/The Weeping Woman" by Joe Hayes, which has 105,000 paperback and hardcover copies in print, as an example of a book rooted in the Spanish-speaking culture. Ms. Byrd says that the ghost story, which involves a spurned wife who kills her children and immediately regrets it, is widely known in various forms throughout Latin America.

--Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg


The movie business is getting it from all sides. DVD-producing pirates siphon off customers who might otherwise buy a multiplex ticket or legitimate disc. Customers who once might have relied on movies for entertainment can choose from an increasing variety of alternatives, from videogames to the Internet. And internally, the studios are struggling to deal with technological issues, like how to introduce the next generation of DVD.

Expand the role of the multiplex. The filmgoing experience should "keep on evolving and changing," says Mark Cuban, who co-owns high-definition cable and satellite broadcaster HDNet along with the Landmark Theaters chain. Theaters can become "out-of-home entertainment hubs to watch not just movies, but live feeds of concerts, sporting events and probably even multiplayer gaming events."

To vie with the increasing sophistication of home-entertainment systems, theaters need to add some frills. More luxury reserved-seating theaters, chairs that can move in conjunction with onscreen action, and cocktail service in the theater would be a start.

Forget DVDs. It may come as bad news to studios, which are currently embroiled in complicated negotiations over the launch of the next generation of DVD, but they should start thinking beyond putting movies on a disc. "Physical media is going to be supplanted over time with material that sits in a hard drive," says Curt Marvis, chief executive of CinemaNow Inc., a Marina del Rey, Calif., movie-downloading service. That way, he argues, studios could take advantage of all the copy protection and bonus features of a next-generation DVD, and lose the expense and hassle of packaging and shipping the actual disc.

Movie owners would be able to use networking to zap movies to any television in their house, or any portable player they own, without having to search through bookcases and under sofa cushions for the right disc. "We'll enable consumers to watch content anywhere, anytime, on any device," says Mitch Singer, executive vice president of the digital-policy group at Sony Pictures.

Send movies home earlier. Right now, movies have a fixed dance card: first a few weeks in theaters, then a few weeks on pay-per-view television, then DVD. Maybe a year or more after its original release, the movie hits free television. But that system limits the revenue studios can get. Many moviegoers never get around to visiting the theater, and have lost interest in the title by the time it comes out on DVD.

Warren Lieberfarb, a Hollywood consultant and former Warner Bros. executive, says he has a better idea. He advocates making movies available at home at the same time they go into theaters, but on a limited basis -- for example, home watchers could have access to the movie for only 24 hours. They should also pay a stiff premium over the price of a movie ticket -- perhaps $40 per household, assuming several people will watch it.

"The economics of movie production are going to drive wider distribution," Mr. Lieberfarb says. "It will become irresistible for the studios."

--Sarah McBride


After five wrenching years of piracy and other troubles, the $33 billion global music industry has barely begun to show signs of a possible recovery. Lawsuits and other tactics may or may not have put any dent in piracy. The long slide in album sales hasn't stopped, while new delivery methods, such as online sales to computers and wireless sales to cellphones, currently make up only about 2% of sales. That share is likely to climb to only about 15% to 20% in coming years. And it remains to be seen whether consumers will deem DualDiscs, which add DVD content to the flip side of a CD, a more compelling proposition than plain CDs.

Embrace the enemy. Wayne Rosso, president of Mashboxx LLC, believes the music business needs to do the once unthinkable: Give an online file-sharing network -- namely, the one he runs -- license to distribute its releases legitimately.

File-sharing companies came under fire from the music industry for allowing users to swap songs illegally. Grokster, where Mr. Rosso used to work, is the target of an entertainment-industry lawsuit now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, he argues, Mashboxx is different. The site has built-in controls designed to make users pay for licensed content, while letting them freely trade only unregistered material. File-sharing services, he says, are more attractive than download sites like Apple's iTunes Music Store, because users will swap songs from their personal collections -- making available millions of obscure tracks that may not be sold anywhere.

Go mobile. Last year, Apple sold seven million iPods. But music executives have their eyes on a much bigger market: cellphones, which last year sold roughly 80 million in this country. For now at least, you can't buy tunes on your mobile service plan. Thirty-second ringtone snippets, sure. But not full-length, stereo songs. That's likely to change soon with a new generation of handsets and advanced wireless networks, and music executives are salivating at what they view as a massive opportunity.

Adam Klein, executive vice president of strategy and business development at EMI Group PLC, calls mobile phones "a very attractive environment" compared with the Internet. Whereas people are used to getting content free online, he says, they are accustomed to seeing items tacked onto their phone bill. And, Mr. Klein points out, the cellphone has become an indispensable accessory of modern life -- and one day it may become a tiny music store that goes everywhere with you.

Don't sell music -- sell musicians. Record companies are in a paradoxical bind. Sales of recorded music have been falling for five years running. But musicians are more in demand than ever among a host of media and advertising outlets, from film studios to fashion labels to liquor companies. So Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Vivendi Universal SA's Interscope Geffen A&M Records, reasons it's high time people like him look for more outside deals to take advantage of their artists' visibility.

Mr. Iovine's company has struck a movie-development deal with Viacom's MTV Films and explored launching a music-video cable channel. Sony and Bertelsmann's Sony BMG Music Entertainment has said it is exploring a film-development arrangement of its own, although details are scarce.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


A Guide to Fees and Sellers at 23 Prime Locations
May 10, 2005
By Abbey Klaassen and Photos by Darryl Estrine
Also see main story: The Cost of Times Square Advertising
Click for big photo Marketer
Location Price

HBO's Deadwood
On Broadway between 46th and 47th streets
$150,000/month (Clear Channel Spectacolor)

ABC Family On 47th at Broadway
(Clear Channel Spectacolor)

CNN Headline News
On 47th at Broadway
(Clear Channel Spectacolor)

LG Electronics
NE corner of 45th and Broadway
Approximately $165,000/month
(LG has long-term lease for space; Viacom Outdoor negotiated)

Mountain Dew
NE corner of 45th and Broadway
Approximately $175,000/month
(PepsiCo has long-term lease with building owner)

South side of Two Times Square, 47th between 7th Avenue and Broadway
Between $200,000 and $350,000/month
(Sherwood Outdoor)

South side of Two Times Square, 47th between 7th and Broadway
Between $200,000 and $350,000/month
(Sherwood Outdoor)

South side of Two Times Square, 47th between 7th and Broadway
between $200,000 and $350,000/month
(Sherwood Outdoor)

South side of Two Times Square, 47th between 7th and Broadway (has been in Times Square since 1935)
between $200,000 and $350,000/month
(Sherwood Outdoor)

Nasdaq screen
SE corner of 43rd and Broadway
$60,750 for four weeks of 6,680 30-second spots; comes out to $8.86 a spot
(sold by Viacom Outdoor)

Reuters screen
SW corner of 43rd and 7th
$30,000 and up depending on spot load, frequency and customization. Because of the irregular screens, most messages have to be produced, which is extra.
(Sold by Instanet)

NW corner of 45th and Broadway
$85,000/month, moving parts extra
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

Best Buy
NW corner of 45th and Broadway
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

Washington Mutual
SW corner of 42nd and 7th
$165,000/month, production into the millions
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

On Broadway at 46th
$175,000/month, screen production in the millions
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

On Broadway at 46th
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

Sean Jean
SW corner of 47th at Broadway
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

SW corner of 47th at Broadway
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

Thai Airways
SW corner of 47th at Broadway
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
Broadway between 43rd and 44th (video screen changes messages by daypart: markets young-skewing brands during MTV's 'Total Request Live' and older-skewing brands at night for theater-goers)
(Sold by Clear Channel Spectacolor)

42nd St between 7th and Broadway (nine boards for a total of 23,000 square feet)
(Sold by Van Wagner)

U.S. Army
Broadway and 43rd Free (a perk of owning Times Square real estate)

Toys 'R Us
Broadway, between 44th and 45th (windows face south and west). Messages scroll continuously - each ad is exposed for 7 minutes an hour, 20 hours a day.
$80,000 for a 6-week cycle. Production costs extra.


Behind the Scenes of America's Most Famous Billboards
May 09, 2005
By Abbey Klaassen
NEW YORK ( -- It is a signature of America's marketing and financial prowess, a world-famous tourist attraction and one of the country’s most coveted marketing communications venues: Times Square. Awesomely bright and shamelessly gaudy, its billboards towering above the Broadway and

Photo: Darryl Estrine
The 11 ad spaces on One and Two Times Square cost up to $350,000 a month.
42nd Street neighborhood are also among the country's most effective -- and most expensive -- advertisements.
But how much do they cost and are they worth it?
Consider this: While 30-second Super Bowl commercials cost $2.6 million each and reach 80 million people, the One Times Square tower draws 211 million pairs of eyeballs when the New Year’s Eve ball drops, according to the president of Sherwood Outdoor, Brian Turner. “We like to think of [the Super Bowl] as just a tailgating party,” he said.
$325,000 a month
Like many involved in the buying and selling of Times Square ad space, Mr. Turner is circumspect about the daily financial details. He wouldn’t comment on advertising prices at One and Two Times Square but industry estimates peg the monthly rates for the 11 spaces on the two landmarks at $200,000 to $350,000 each.
According to media sellers, the rental prices for ad real estate varies widely depending, in part, on size and -- like everything else in Manhattan -- location. Electronics giant LG is said to be paying $165,000 per month for its corner-wrapping placement space above Planet Hollywood at 45th street and Broadway. The Mountain Dew sign just below it goes for $175,000 a month. Washington Mutual's six-story-high three-dimensional display of a giant beanstalk section topped by a castle costs $165,000 a month.
Of course, those prices cover only the rental space and not the price of the physical sign or its supporting technology -- costs that regularly rise into the millions for the customized, weatherproof, high-definition LED sign displays that have become so popular. At 135 feet long and 26 feet wide, the J.P. Morgan Chase sign at the base of the Reuters building at 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, for example, was a $10.3 million investment. It boasts 10 times the resolution of the average TV set.
Since 1935
Most ad buys in Times Square are long-term, multiyear deals, although some movie studio and TV network ads appear for just a month or two, according to sellers. At the famous One Times Square, for example, marketers sign on for 10-year

Photo: Darryl Estrine
The cost of the space rental is separate from that of the actual physical display devices -- some cost upward of $5 million.
stints -- although the Coca-Cola Co.'s sign on Two Times Square has been there since 1935. Several other marketers, including Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s Wrigley brand, Planters nuts and Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser have had longstanding presences in the area, but have moved around to different spots.
Incumbency in the area is a powerful advantage. Target Corp. recently bought all nine billboards for a total of 23,000 square feet on a newly constructed 42nd Street building called Times Square Tower. The impact of the unprecedented deal has been lauded by many in the industry as one of the best outdoor buys in recent time and it’s highly unlikely the retailer will give up its incumbency any time soon -- thanks to the low odds of again being able to acquire so many concentrated spots.
The long-term deals also help justify the multimillion-dollar production costs for the high-tech automated and electronic boards.
Impact of technology
“As the tech grows so does the space,” said Jessica Coates, spectacular specialist for Viacom Outdoor. “If it’s a single ad unit -- LG, Pepsi, AT&T, Con Ed -- those are a long-term leases anywhere from 10 years on. But they’re constantly changing out the creative and technology to keep up with the times.”
Times Square draws 40 million annual individual visitors -- roughly equivalent to 14% of the U.S. population. Kodak estimates the area’s in more than 100 million snapshots a year. If the Times Square were an Arbitron metro media market, it would rank No. 152, right there between Rockford, Ill., and Flagstaff, Ariz.
The prime billboard neighborhood stretches north-south from 53rd to 41st streets and east-west from 6th to 8th avenues. Aside from building-sized advertisements, it also boasts a work force of 274,000 and includes entertainment, finance and media companies, counting ABC studios,

Photo: Darryl Estrine
Often used as a backdrop for TV shows and movies, the reach of Times Square ads is global and long term.
Ernst & Young and Conde Nast Publications among its residents.
Microcosm of global business
“It’s a microcosm of global business,” said Michael Steinberg, vice president of sales and marketing for Clear Channel’s Spectacolor division. And that influx of business has made Times Square a place for targeted ad buys as well as ego buys. “You can put a sign in front of Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley for less than what you’d probably pay to run in a monthly trade that covers the financial industry,” Mr. Steinberg said.
The overall annual Time Square advertising business is estimated to be worth $69 million, in a market dominated by outdoor players such as Viacom, Clear Channel, Sherwood, Van Wagner and Vista Media. Cost-per-thousand-viewers impressions for the area range from $2 to $5, compared to around $20 for a prime-time network TV buy. Individual monthly rates vary as well, depending on a variety of factors: Is the sign directly across from a busy subway stop? Can it be seen from MTV’s Total Request Live studio? Does the sign make it on the annual New Year’s Eve broadcast?
Immeasurable bonus impressions
Then there’s the immeasurable bonus impressions through residual media -- on TV shows like CSI: New York, in movies, magazines, newspapers, postcards and coffee table books. “You watch the 6 p.m. news and you have two major TV networks broadcasting from Times Square -- ABC and MTV,” said Tommy Turner, senior vice president and partner of Van Wagner Outdoor, which has had a longtime presence in the area. “That’s legitimate, even if it’s incalculable. It’s people from Peking to Minneapolis.”

Monday, May 09, 2005

Yahoo!: Display Ads Trigger Online Search

MediaPost Publications Home of MediaDailyNews, MEDIA and OMMA Magazines
Yahoo!: Display Ads Trigger Online Search
by Gavin O'Malley, Monday, May 9, 2005 8:00 AM EST
ONLINE DISPLAY ADVERTISING APPEARS TO have a significant impact on consumer search behavior, according to a study Yahoo! plans to release today. For the report, Yahoo! conducted a three-week study of the search behavior of about two million consumers, half of whom were served Harrisdirect's display ads (standard rectangles and skyscrapers), and half of whom were not. Dynamic Logic collected the responses to display advertising, while the Yahoo! internal research team examined the search behavior.

The consumers who were served display ads conducted 61 percent more searches on keywords related to Harrisdirect--that is, those keywords purchased by Harrisdirect for search marketing purposes. Also, the group that was served the display ads clicked through on Harrisdirect-related terms at a rate 249 percent higher than consumers who were not exposed to the ads, and clicked on links leading to the Harrisdirect site at a rate 139 percent higher than those not served display ads.

Richard Kosinski, category development officer for financial services sales at Yahoo!, said the company plans to further study the relationship between search and display advertising. "Because the marketers we work with have so much riding on the investments they make, this study was the first of many we plan to conduct across different verticals to examine exactly what impact display and search advertising have on each other," said Kosinski.

A Yahoo! spokesman also said the company wasn't yet ready to draw any general conclusions about the relationship between consumer search behavior and display ads.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Listeners Agree Less Is More, Would Use More Radio With Fewer Ads

MediaPost Publications Home of MediaDailyNews, MEDIA and OMMA Magazines
CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, THE NATION'S largest operator of radio stations, gambled big earlier this year when it initiated a program to air fewer commercials, and more radio programming. The strategy appears to be paying off with advertisers and consumers alike. Recently, Clear Channel announced that it is getting more ad dollars for the fewer ad units it is broadcasting, and on Wednesday a top radio researcher revealed findings of a study indicating that ad clutter is an important issue for radio listeners, though not as much of a problem as for TV viewers. At least that was the perception of a majority of more than 1,000 radio listeners surveyed in March by Arbitron and Edison Media Research. While 37 percent of listeners perceived there are more commercials on radio than a year ago, a significant majority (71 percent) believe there are more commercials on TV, and (67 percent) that TV commercials are far more intrusive than radio's.
Commercial Perceptions: TV Vs. Radio

TV Radio
Has More Commercials: 71% 22%
Commercials Are More Intrusive: 67% 27%

Source: Arbitron, Edison Media Research.

The findings also appear to affirm Clear Channel's strategy. Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents said they would listen to a radio station "a lot more" if that station had noticeably fewer commercial breaks, while 44 percent said they would listen "a lot more" if that station had shorter commercial breaks. "There is considerable evidence in this study that reductions in radio spots loads should lead to greater time spent listening to radio - as long as these spot load reductions are noticeable and stations inform their listeners of the changes," said Joe Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Media Research.

The study also found that consumers are more likely to change channels during commercial breaks while watching TV than listening to radio. While watching television at home, only 6% of viewers say they "never" change channels when television commercials come on, with a total of 19 percent saying they "rarely" or "never" do.

Nearly half of radio listeners at home (49 percent) say they "never" change stations when radio commercials come on, with a total of 73 percent saying they "rarely" or "never" do. Nearly half (48 percent) of television viewers "always" or "usually" change channels when a television commercial comes on. Just 11 percent of radio listeners at home "always" or "usually" change stations when radio commercials come on.

And while it was unclear how it might impact their actual media usage behavior, the researchers said the vast majority of listeners believe commercials are a "fair price to pay for free programming on radio" and that the percentage has actually grown since 1999, the last time that question was asked.

Listening to commercials a fair price to pay for free programming on the radio:

1999 82%
2005 84%

Source: Arbitron, Edison Media Research.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

British Airways - contextually relevant OOH messaging

MultiVu - Don't Be "Naff" -- Learn To Use "Chuffed," "Laughing Gear" "Half Four" and Dozens of Other British Slang Words Before Your London Holiday
Don't Be "Naff" -- Learn To Use "Chuffed," "Laughing Gear" "Half Four" and Dozens of Other British Slang Words Before Your London Holiday
New British Airways' "English to English" Online Dictionary Helps Travellers Conquer the English's English
New York, May 4, 2005 - For the millions of Americans who will visit London for the first time this summer, British Airways has created the world's first online "English to English" dictionary to ensure travellers can confidently ask for the location of the "loo" (restroom), the "lift" (elevator), the "blower" (telephone) or the "bin" (trash can). With this bit of local knowledge, Americans will be truly "sorted" and can look forward to quite smashing holidays in the UK.

The dictionary - available at -- will feature over 80 British words and translations and will be as much fun for the homesick ex-pat and the avid Anglophile as it will be for the first time London-bound traveller who needs to learn the idioms and favored slang of the Londoner's language.

"Nearly 1.5 billion people on the planet speak some version of English - but the version of English used in the UK does take a bit of getting used to," said Robin Hayes, executive vice president, British Airways, The Americas.

"Someone planning a London holiday could rent films like "The Full Monty," or "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" to try and get a handle on the nuances of British slang", he noted. "However, our online website is a 'cheeky' bit of fun that may be the easiest and best way to learn some of the uniquely British words and phrases people often bring home from a London vacation. Our intention is that each visitor to the web site can also share the fun with his or her friends and family."

Each morning, throughout the month of May, British Airways will serve up a new British word of the day at Viewers will learn what the word means, how to properly use it and will be able to continue to 'spread the word' via a text message to friends' cell phones or email. Examples of these words include:

Cheers- is a way of saying 'thanks' and 'goodbye'. If someone buys you a pint in a London pub, you'd respond with "Cheers!"
Chuffed- in London, means to be delighted. Used like, "I was chuffed to hear from you… it's been ages!"
Half-four- in London, means four-thirty. As in, "Let's meet back at the Tate Gallery at half-four."
Kip- in London, is a nap. As in, "Let's get a quick kip in before we go to dinner."
Laughing gear- in London, means mouth. When you hand someone a drink, you'd say "Wrap your laughing gear around this, mate!"
Loo- is the restroom. As in "Where's the loo, please?"
Peckish- in London, means hungry. As in, "When you get a bit peckish, give me a bell and we'll meet for lunch!"
Readies- available cash. As in 'Get your readies together, and let's go shopping."
Shout- in London, is to offer to buy someone a drink. In a pub, you might say "OK lads, whose shout?"
The "Real London" Uncovered With Tips/Hints
Once a traveller knows how to sound just like a British "bloke" or "bird," he or she needs the 'gen' (knowledge) on where to go and what to do while in London. British Airways' updated website offers customized and easy to download "insider" tips on the best, undiscovered London experiences… recommendations that allow travellers to experience London from a local's perspective, provided by those who really know London.

For example:

Pub Fare- for some traditional pub fare, try The Ship for a wonderful range of ales and beers and a restaurant that uses fresh, often organic products from farms also run by the owners. In the summer you'll find locals gathered on the edge of the Thames enjoying the Ship's famous outdoor barbecue - be warned it gets very busy on sunny days!
Puppetry- traveling with the kids? Puppets appeal to all ages and The Little Angel Theatre in Islington has been entertaining audiences since 1961. It puts on its own productions and welcomes a wide variety of visiting puppet companies to its stage - one not to miss!
Summer Concerts- on a summer evening, take in a live performance in one of London's many parks. Pack a picnic and glass of wine and head to Kew Gardens, Kenwood House, Regent's Park, Marble Hill or Audley End for a Shakespearian play or live music from many genres - from jazz to classical, Abba to the swinging Sixties.
British Airways - which flies from 22 gateways in North America and every year brings millions of visitors to the UK- recommends travellers save money by purchasing hotel accommodations and sightseeing tickets in North America before arriving in Europe. offers one-stop shopping with a variety of special packages geared to just about every budget and taste. The package deals permit visitors to choose their own options, whether hotels, car rentals or a range of sightseeing excursions. A big benefit is that consumers are protected by currency fluctuation, as British Airways is able to lock in the price by bulk purchasing several months in advance.

In combination with the new site, designed by New York's, there will be a full outdoor advertising experience in New York City for the month of May. M&C Saatchi New York collaborated with Optimedia New York to create the outdoor campaign that positions the British words near a place associated with the word. For example, Shout - is to offer to buy someone a drink, will be placed on coasters in bars.

Photographs or video of the outdoor and out-of-home "in situ," placement ads or screen shots are available at