For Set-Top-Box Sailors, It's 1492
Early findings from STB vendors have underwhelmed some critics in the media business. Some have even suggested that spending any more time on finding a route through this New World of data was a waste of time.
Industry leaders probably feel a little bit like Isabel and Ferdinand when Columbus came home without a shortcut to the East Indies. After all, they were looking for spices and a quick ROI, not stories and continued investment without a clear payoff.
Eventually, Columbus' explorations paid off. Although he didn't meet the initial goal of replacing the dominant methodology of the time for reaching Asia, he piqued the interest of others whose findings changed the course of history. Eventually, Columbus even changed the conventional wisdom of his time, too.
An impatient media industry wants it to be 2009, but STB vendors and researchers know it's more like 1492. The early findings of set-top-box research suppliers only begins to suggest some of the valuable insights that lie ahead. Set top box may never become an alternative currency. But patience and investment will lead to new commercial creative and programming/promotion insights -- and many other uses we have yet to discover.
Columbus may not have been much or a navigator, but history indicates he was a pretty good marketer. His stories of exploration changed the focus from the Far East to the New World, convincing traders that there was as much ROI to the West as there was to the East. Only time will tell if today's early STB efforts will have the same impact.