Dogs at Montecito © Gary Hayes 2005A Great Article by Steve Smith from last month which highlights (using podcast ad personalizing as an example) the tension between participatory culture and the old model advertising industry. The intrusive effect of dropping ad messages into user-controlled media, whether sponsored or ad distributor controlled – we will be hearing more and more on this in the coming years, especially as some Vlogs are starting to appear on broadband TV services, Akimbo to name but one. I have recently been receiving lots of mails from ad companies offering the 0.25c per click from a banner on various pages on sites I run – at the end of the day it is about trust, personal integrity and playing or not playing the game. Selected excerpts below…

The Participatory Consumer

User-controlled media isn’t just a set of new technologies, but an emerging consumer mind-set that media and advertisers must inevitably embrace if they want entry into these personalized worlds. “You have to understand the kinds of principles people are engaged in, how people are incorporating these new media into their daily lives,” says Joe Pilotta, vice president, BIGresearch and professor of communications at Ohio State University. “Media structure a new social relationship that is between producer and consumer. That in-between place is where I would say all the new trends are happening. …It is more like a play structure,” Pilotta adds.

The early evidence suggests that people use personal media devices, and probably personalized media like blogs and RSS feeds for that matter, to establish a different relationship to media and a different social identity. For instance, according to Bridge Ratings research, most new owners of MP3 devices initially abandon radio in favor of their personalized music player experience. But within six months, most MP3 owners are listening to as much radio as they did before in order to identify new tracks and artists for downloading.

We’re All Content Providers Now

Intrusiveness may not be an option in personalized media. In podcasting, for instance, “the real trick is going to be how to place advertising so as not to offend people,” Van Dyke says. Some of his podcasting clients are trying 30-second radio spots, but they’re not going over well so far. But most experts OMMA consulted felt that sort of subterfuge risks exposure and listener resentment. While there is no doubt that consumers already do and probably will tolerate some familiar ad messaging in personalized platforms like blogs, podcasts, and RSS, experts exploring these media argue that advertisers looking to make an impact will have to be much more ambitious. “We have left the shores of advertising and arrived at the promised land of content,” Jaffe asserts.

“Where we see it going is that advertisers also become publishers,” says Pheedo’s Flitter about the most promising and effective uses for RSS placements. “You have to provide an environment and creative that matches the content from publishers. Give me more content. It’s tell versus sell.”

But the real upside of participatory consumption and user-controlled media is that they provide a healthy challenge for the media and ad industries. Now these industries must fully engage with trends that have been haltingly executed in the past decade, including micro-targeting and integrated media. “There will be severe disruptions of the [publishing and media] institutions,” Pilotta predicts.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005