19 December 2011

TV Keeps Rising from the Dead

Today's business news brings the latest examples of why the death of TV is greatly exaggerated.

Apple, to no one's surprise, has been briefing media companies on the next evolution of its Internet-based TV services. Among the innovations: Wireless streaming of video content from TVs to mobile devices, and using devices like the iPhone as a remote control. Among the questions: Will Apple evolve its current set-top box, or actually manufacture what we now call TV sets? You can read the original reporting in today's Wall Street Journal.

Hulu, meanwhile, saw an audience increase of +23% in November vs. the same month last year. Adweek points out that the data, via comScore, comes on the heels of Hulu's fresh supply of content from The CW, Sony Pictures Television, and Univision. Greg Jarboe lists some other reasons in a good post today over on Search Engine Watch.

Social Television

In a post last week on the HBR Blog, one of David Armano's social media trends to watch in 2012 was Social Television. As predictions go, this one doesn't go very far out on a limb. We've already observed the intense cross-over between Social Media and TV in consumer media multitasking. Armano does point out new services such as Get Glue, which allows audiences to check in to TV shows much like Foursquare lets you check in to actual locations. (Or not.)

No More Zombies Wandering in the Vast Wasteland

Digital delivery of TV by the likes of Apple and Hulu makes TV Social -- and Social Television may make TV more of a connected experience. TV in its infancy was a family activity: one TV set per household meant everyone gathered for Ed Sullivan or Bonanza. Later, TV became more of an individual activity: multiple TV sets per household allowed each person to watch programs tailored to their own tastes. Could it be that Social Television brings back TV as a way to connect?

Not only does TV keep rising from the dead, it may wind up curing some zombies.

15 December 2011

Marketing and Public Relations Continue to Converge

Marketing and Public Relations continue to converge.

This week Johnson & Johnson promoted Michael Sneed to VP—Global Corporate Affairs. What’s significant about this news is that Sneed will oversee both Marketing and Public Relations, which in many companies are totally separate or even siloed from one another. J&J needs to coordinate them, however, given the backlash from recent recalls of Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and some other products. In those crises J&J learned an object lesson on how Social Media is a big force driving the convergence of Marketing and Public Relations.

Don’t Wait for a Crisis

It shouldn’t take a crisis to make companies consider this approach. The very existence of Social Media can accelerate word-of-mouth conversation, whether it’s bad or good for a company, brand or product. Keeping Public Relations close to Marketing can help raise marketers’ sensitivity to what’s being said. Recently I met with one of our U.S. clients, a VP—Marketing, who has the corporate communications people in his department and right down the hall. (He may be an integration all-star because he also shares his own office with the VP—Sales.)

A Seat at the Table

In one of the articles about J&J’s Michael Sneed, there is a negative note. Although Sneed will report to J&J’s CEO, he will not be a member of the executive committee. I’m not going to rant about how Marketing needs to be in the center of things – although it crossed my mind. The bigger question is why a company that had to shut down the Tylenol factory, pay over a hundred million dollars in settlements and defend against numerous lawsuits didn’t learn enough from the experience to keep external communications front and center.