Goodbye Arbitron, Hello Consumer Connections

In MediaPost, Diane Mermigas outlines five factors that will determine future ad spends.

Among those five is this:

2. The absence of an individual consumer connection-specific value standard.  Television [and Radio] ratings and newspaper subscriptions will continue to decline while consumer use of digital media grows and becomes more fragmented….The measurement methods and dictated values must be consumer centric, which is why old-fashioned bulk television [and radio] ratings and newspaper-estimated readership have been rendered useless. Individual consumer connections are what content producers, distributors and advertisers seek to exploit. It will become the basic unit of value in the digital age. No one in media and industry support services, on Madison Avenue or in Hollywood or in Silicon Valley has figured this one out….

So a few consequential questions arise:

1.  Are we too obsessed with monetizing digital media and not obsessed enough with establishing a valuable and enticing digital media portfolio to our audiences?  Are you too busy trying to sell what you have rather than trying to build what consumers want to buy?

2.  In our zeal to "play the PPM game" are we ignoring the new advertising game taking shape right in front of our eyes?

3.  If "individual consumer connections" are what every player in the value chain wants to exploit, what's your plan to establish and nurture such connections?  And what's your plan to measure their nature, breadth, and depth?

What, in other words, is your plan for the post-Arbitron world rapidly approaching our doorstep?

Arbitron may be the currency of choice with old school buyers, but it is less than worthless to their digital peers, and neither the world nor the agencies which populate it are moving in the old school direction.

Get ready now. 

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