Some random thoughts tonight about the future of marketing in the post-modern media environment and at least one example of an organization that flat out doesn’t get it. Call this a dispatch from the Convergence 2.0 front.
I’m sitting here “watching” the Mets-Dodgers game via Major League Baseball’s Gameday feature, which provides a pitch-by-pitch playcast of the game via a Flash application. They show ads between half-innings, most for the their upgraded service. For instance, you can also purchase a full season’s audio feeds for fifteen bucks, which is pretty reasonable by my standards. They also offer video packages for either a monthly or full-season charge. Pretty cool, no? Well, maybe. Take a deeper look and some real challenges begin to emerge.
Clearly, rich media content is where it’s at, or at least where it’s heading. In a new report, eMarketer discusses the growth of online video. So, score that one for MLB. Well, except that they screw it up. First, they black out certain games “to protect the rights of broadcasters.” What? Consumers can choose to pay for content, (maybe because they live out of the area or travel frequently), and still can’t watch all the games of their choice? How about protecting their consumers from really poor business strategy? I think most consumers would live with ads within the media, even using the paid service (there’s a fair bit of downtime between innings of a baseball game). Let the local broadcasters handle some percentage of the ad sales to offset any channel shift and let customers view any game, any time. Rubel and Jeremiah both pointed to articles about the OPA report discussing consumers’ media consumption habits. Organizations gain particularly when media channels reinforce the messages available. Why couldn’t the broadcasters and MLB partner to use these gamecasts as one component of a broader media platform? God knows the game could benefit from the exposure and advertisers stand to benefit from expanded reach.
Adding insult to injury, to say nothing of MLB’s questionable marketing strategies, they’re also arguing against the SlingBox, for many of the same reasons. I don’t own a SlingBox, but keep in mind that it’s designed to placeshift content from its owners television to a computer. So, the league is disallowing consumers from watching content even when it’s paid for (whether via commercial or subscription television). Classic. This doesn’t strike me as the right way to appeal to your customers or remotely sound strategy.
As we move towards greater convergence of online and broadcast, whether via traditional streaming audio and video or new, more dynamic and interactive media, our organizations need to recognize what consumers will expect regarding content consumption and how to monetize that without alienating the customers. It’s early in the game, but just like baseball, organizations will only get so many chances before striking out.