Q+A Julie Roehm

What changes are coming?
With the further development of video on demand, IPTV, mobile, and many other emerging media opportunities, we have seen several "bad" user experiences. All too often, the focus is on "if we build it they will come" or "technology for the sake of technology." Finally, we are seeing more and more content distribution companies match the channel and devices to the message or content; thus, creating a positive user experience.

However, we need to keep in mind that sometimes everyone just wants to sloth on the sofa and not have to "work" to consume media and content.

In a few years' time what will the biggest differences be?
Mobile will have exploded. Today already I can do almost anything on my iPhone, and it will be a nearly perfect companion in 5-10 years. This is where I expect the majority of my information and communication to be delivered to and from, and from where I start to make the greatest amount of purchases.

We have already seen the development of telematic systems in today's autos. I expect many more advances in technology where cars have total integration with your home and mobile devices.

Digital OOH will also be much more prevalent. I think it will become a natural way for us to navigate and to consume local information when we are out of our homes. Mobile response codes within these digital OOH units will provide for further measurement of brand and sales impact.

What has been the biggest disruptive force in media in the past?
A little bit longer than 30 years ago, in 1978, there was one single network that started delivering all of its programming via satellite: PBS. This model was quickly realized by many in the cable industry today. For the major broadcast networks, this proved to be pretty disruptive. The advent of the broadcast cable industry truly changed the television viewing habits of most households in the United States. This story is well documented in Ken Auletta's book, Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way. It is funny how history seems to repeat itself in the media industry. Could we replace the word "TV" in the title and replace it with "Internet?"

When I was growing up (a little over 20 some years ago), I looked forward to watching The Wizard of Oz with Dorothy and her ruby slippers every year. I was only able to see the movie once a year. However, by 1985 the vhs format had become commonplace in American television households. The importance is not on Dorothy and her ruby slippers or the vhs machine. Rather, content became available at any time. While I use the movies as an example, live sports was probably the most disruptive. For years, radio and television shared sport franchise games, especially in baseball. A change happened where you could now watch all the games on television rather than just being able to listen to the games on the radio. This concept took another step this winter when I was able to watch the NCAA tournament on my iPhone via an application.

Where will the next disruption come from?
Congress, I fear. Recently, senator John D. Rockefeller, iv, opened hearings on "Rethinking the Children's Television Act for a Digital Media Age." Being a mother of two wonderful children, I fully support limiting the content they consume on the computer or any other device including television or my iPhone. However, I want to be the one to discuss the content, the pros and cons of the Web, the dangers, and the great opportunities. And call me crazy, but I am not interested in Congress or any other branch of my government making those decisions on my behalf, not only because it seems to be against the very idea of freedom that this country was founded on, but also because there is very little about the Web, e-commerce, and media that is understood by the decision-makers in our government. Ignorance is not the platform for decision-making.

While the Internet has its share of problems, for the most part, the Wild West of digital has been tamed. We no longer are seeing CEOs like Kevin O'Connor from DoubleClick on 60 Minutes answering questions about consumer privacy. Most of the policing in the digital space has been from the industry and its various groups and committees (including parents), not Congress.

Julie Roehm is currently a marketing consultant, founder of Backslash Meta, LLC, and a contributor to Fox Business News. Her musings can be found at

1 comment about "Q+A Julie Roehm".
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  1. Kevin Barry, October 16, 2009 at 11:18 a.m.

    Great interview and insights. However, WTCG (later WTBS) was distributed via satellite starting in December, 1976. PBS was technically the first network to distribute all its programming via satellite (in 1978), but Ted Turner was sending all his programming to the entire US footprint via satellite before sending all one's programming to the entire US footprint via satellite was cool.

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