TV Viewing Down? Related to quality of shows…

There has been a lot of talk about TV viewership declining in the last few years to people who come home and go on the internet all evening rather than watch the big 3 networks or cable on their couch. This isn’t a big deal for us consumers because we are just doing what we want, and chatting online with friends or blogging is better time spent than being a zombie in front of the TV. The thing is, the networks are really worried that they might loose those advertisers who pay up to 350K (on big events like the Oscars) per 30 second spot for TV commercials if they can’t prove that as many people are watching. They might have to sell an oscar commerical spot for a discounted 300K instead, and that is revenue loss.

Revenue Loss Bad! Revenue Gain Good! Grumbles the cave man CEO.

They are trying to prove that people watch their shows online and go to their web sites and all kinds of stuff, but the truth is that we are in an age where consumers determine what we want to do for entertainment, the networks do not. And even more than that, the advertisers do not. We will ignore millions of dollars of ad placement for a Friday night new movie in theaters, in favor of going online for a WoW match which did $0 in advertising. This pisses big companies off. They no longer have a reliable model for getting people to see, recognize, remember, buy and prefer their product anymore. Any shakeup in their billion dollar system that may make their quarterly return to shareholders less than anticipated will get people fired, will get people promoted and get more money spent. So, as someone who realizes that media planning is more fragmented than ever before and that demographics of each of your emerging properties changes monthly, I realize that there is a huge opportunity here to reformulate things more efficiently and make advertising a lot more relevant. But that probably won’t happen. We will probably still see ads plastered on non-relevant things, at un-relevant times and continue to forget them immediatley. 

New Product Buzz and Marketing

I always love new stuff. (I can’t always afford to be buying new stuff, but that is beside the point.) And I can’t decide if it’s the discovery type kid in me or the marketer in me that goes “oooohhhh neat!” when I discover new cool stuff that I like. (and there is plenty that is new that I don’t like too.) Springwise is a newsletter that gives me updates to everything their spring spotters network finds. Some weeks its a hit and others its a miss with the newsletter but this week there were a few hits:

New women’s targeted drink from Heineken: Charli. It is a cider, which I liked a lot before I could stand beer, and its in a lot more girly of a bottle. (or unisex) 

And a new company called Halfshare that offers fractional ownership of second homes to share the investment risk and the reward.

Blogs gaining more popularity – power to the people

I was reading an article today that cites that 80% of people know what a blog is and of that 80%, 50% (40% of the total) of them read them regularly. This was a survey of 1,000 people by Marketing Daily. It suprises me because a lot of what the web has produced as “the next big thing” over the past 5 years hasn’t lasted long. Remember Plaxo? Podcasting? RSS? Bloglines? PubSub? Furl? All these things had big buzz and we were sure that they would change our lives like Flickr did. They all still exist today in some form, some are very utilitarian like RSS which is still very important, but it didn’t change things like we thought. Blogging has changed what we read on the internet. It has allowed ordinary people to publish their views and information and compete in a relativley flat world with huge media companies. Never has this happened before. I think that newspapers and traditional media outlets are still utimatley more valuable as news sources though, because they have the staff to research, travel and report firsthand on news. All of us bloggers have an even playing field in the publishing side, but not the reporting yet. That is still something best done by the original reporters who become the source for news.

Writing Tools – Writer’s Circle

writers circleA friend of mine is changing careers and is interested in fufilling her dreams of being a writer. She has been attending a writers circle group every week that gives her feedback on her work and she really likes it. I am not as talented as she is, but even someone like me has interest in improving my writing and getting new ideas and feedback. These groups are great for networking as well. There are online versions of these round table writing groups too. The writer’s circle at http://www.mywriterscircle.com/ has been going since 2005 and has thousands of members online. I am going to take a look and see if there is anything on the bulletin board that is a help to me too.

Who is among us? New Site Tracker Widget

I was on LOL Cats, I can has cheezburger today. (chekin out my katz) And saw a little shiny widget showing how many people were on the site at that moment. It was like 1,700. Crazy, no wonder the download time is so slow! Well it is from a site new site that has a fun interactive tracker that shows this information for free. How companies can get the server space and bandwith to offer these little analytics packages is unknown to me. (why do analytics companies charge so much? soon we will all be analytics experts) So if you go to http://whos.amung.us and add your site, choose your colors and paste into the sidebar of your site or blog you can see how many people are there at any one moment. Kool huh? Next they will be offering website builds and hosting for free too. (sarcasm) 

Back to School Shopping

The center for media research never dissapoints. They send over yummy morsels of data daily and the delectable tidbit yesterday was about back to college school shopping. Apparently “students and their parents will spend a combined average of $956.93 on back-to-college merchandise, up from last year’s $880.52, for a total of $47.3 billion gearing up for college“. 

Woah! $956.93??? Who spends almost a thousand dollars on back to college or school? (unless you are buying a computer, of which you needed before school so it isn’t really a back to school item) This is in addition to tuition, room, books and board? Apparently I can never afford to have kids.

Back to College Products Purchase Plans
% of Respondents Expected Expenditure 2007
Textbooks

83.6%

$15 billion

School supplies (notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks)

83.4%

                      $3.14 billion

Clothing and accessories (except shoes)

69.2%

$7.41 billion

Shoes

62.0%

$2.96 billion

Electronics and computer related

50.3%

$12.8 billion

Dorm or apartment furnishings

36.5%

$5.43 billion

Source: NRF, August 2007

They list ipods, digital cameras and cell phones as tops on the list, but most of those things you should already have and aren’t really a back to school item. Boy am I glad I went to college in an era when no one had their own computer and you had to go to the lab to type your papers. Life was cheaper then. The most I got when I went off to college was some extra long college dorm bedding, a shower caddy, a few towels and a desk chair. If you wanted to use the phone each dorm had a land line you had to share with your roomate. I didn’t even have a TV, luckilly my roomates always did. I was impressed by cable. Today kids aren’t impressed unless you have 500 friends in your network. Boy how times have changed since 1995. Is it any wonder that I work in an industry and in a job that didn’t exist then?

How do you get over a cold quickly? cure?

I have a cold already! It isn’t even fall yet and I had the headache, sore throat, post nasal drip snot thing going on all week last week and this week I am coughing up a lung. I knew I was low on sleep and not really eating the best foods latley because I was low on cash, and sure enough there was a cold virus out there waiting for me on the train. Well maybe not the train. It is more likley the office. I have heard 5 other people coughing and clearing their throats this morning here, so its likley that I am not the only one with this latest greatest cold virus.

This particular strain started with 2 days of headaches which I didn’t think were illness at all. I thought they were from my dust allergy. Then it subsided a bit for a few days and then the throat started getting sore. Ewww. Next my coughing started because I had all this post nasal drip snot going on. I take allergy medications so my nose hasn’t been runny, but no one else here is blowing their nose either, so maybe this germ doesn’t have that symptom.  I hope after my 7-10 days fighting this virus I have a better immunity this winter. I had 6 colds last year and it sucked hard. I was sick the majority of the time from October to March. I would have 2 weeks sick and then one week well and then 2 weeks sick again. It was an awful 2006-2007. 

I am looking to be better prepared this year and avoid the colds more than catch them in 2007-2008. As far as curing the cold, no one has anything that really helps. Despite all the claims in the world, Claritin-D stops your nose from running, but the virus still needs it’s 7-10 days to be fought. Here are some ways I found in my searhc that should help prevent colds though. That seems to be the best thing I can find, or just never leave your house so you don’t get exposed to anything. It is said that these tips can reduce your colds from 8 a year to 3 per year. I certainly hope they help!

Here are five proven ways to reduce exposure to germs (cold viruses):

  • Switch day care: Using a day care where there are six or fewer children dramatically reduces germ contact.
  • Wash hands: Children and adults should wash hands at key moments — after nose-wiping, after diapering or toileting, before eating, and before preparing food.
  • Use instant hand sanitizers: A little dab will kill 99.99% of germs without any water or towels. The products use alcohol to destroy germs. They are an antiseptic, not an antibiotic, so resistance can’t develop.
  • Disinfect: Clean commonly touched surfaces (sink handles, sleeping mats) with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
  • Use paper towels instead of shared cloth towels.

Here are seven ways to support the immune system:

  • Avoid unnecessary antibiotics: The more people use antibiotics, the more likely they are to get sick with longer, more stubborn infections caused by more resistant organisms in the future.
  • Breastfeed: Breast milk is known to protect against respiratory tract infections, even years after breastfeeding is done. Kids who don’t breastfeed average five times more ear infections.
  • Avoid second-hand smoke: Keep as far away from it as possible! It is responsible for many health problems, including millions of colds.
  • Get enough sleep: Late bedtimes and poor sleep leave people vulnerable.
  • Drink water: Your body needs fluids for the immune system to function properly.
  • Eat yogurt: The beneficial bacteria in some active yogurt cultures help prevent colds.
  • Take zinc: Children and adults who are zinc-deficient get more infections and stay sick longer.