I had dinner last night with a good friend, Bill Caspare. After we ordered some pasta, we got to talking about one of our favorite topics ? the fifth network, you know CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and the Internet. Every site on the Internet is an affiliate of this fifth network. Guys like Todd Herman at MSN, George Stewart at Yahoo!, and Tom Bosco at AOL are quickly positioning their organizations to offer up the potential of the fifth network along with a slew of other affiliates like ESPN and iFilm to name a few.
Online video advertising is the hottest product on the market today. More importantly, the media is reaching the point where it is scalable. However, online video advertising has limitations and downsides we do not yet comprehend; like in a gold rush, reality is blinded by great potential.
Shortly after my last column on rich media search, two separate studies of online music and video usage were published, oddly enough on the same day. Taken together the two reports paint a disturbing picture for mass media advertisers, especially those trying to reach anyone male, young, or affluent.
Since the dawn of mass media there has been an implied, if not tacit, agreement between programmers/editors and consumers that advertising would help subsidize the cost to develop and deliver content. In the case of terrestrial broadcasters, advertising would cover not only costs, but provide the profits necessary to improve programming and distribution, all to the consumer's benefit. Without advertising, magazine and newspaper subscriptions would cost thousands of dollars a year like the scientific journals that are not advertising supported such as NATURE and The New England Journal of Medicine.