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What Does David Westin’s ABC Departure indicate for TV’s Future

September 8, 2010 Comments off

In light of my recent repost on Google TV vs. Apple TV vs Microsoft…we now have an upset in the ranks of TV execs.  All of this activity makes one wonder just what the heck is going on behind the “Wizard’s Curtain?”  And, what is this about “term limits,” that sounds sooo, well a little too governmentalish or political in tone some how?  Again no answers here nor resources like I normally post. As, I am just amazed at the changes taking place and wondering how we as PR professionals can find anything solid to crasp a hold of to hand on while this all takes place.

What David Westin’s ABC Departure says about the Future of TV News

By Gail Shister on Sep 07, 2010 10:45 PM

Heyward.jpgIn the wake of David Westin‘s announcement this week that he’s stepping down after 13 years as president of ABC News, networks should initiate informal five-year term limits on news division chiefs.

So says Andrew Heyward, (right) president of CBS News from 1996 to 2005.

“If the media continues to evolve and change at anything like the pace it has, you need a regular infusion of new ideas and new leadership,” says Heyward, a media consultant whose clients have included NBC News.

“These are very demanding jobs,” he says. “They’ve become incredibly complex in the last 10 years. The pressures have been building since the ’80s. They aren’t the statesmanlike positions they were when network news was invented.”

In Heyward’s view, the perfect candidate for ABC “would balance reverence for what is … valuable about network news with a willingness to consider pretty radical change. That’s more likely to happen with somebody who hasn’t been there for a decade or so.”

By Heyward’s yardstick, NBC’s Steve Capus and CBS’s Sean McManus would both be lame ducks. And the late, great Roone Arledge, who ruled ABC from 1977 to ’98, would have exploded the metric.

Lone exception to Heyward’s rule: Fox News top gun Roger Ailes, whom he says will remain in office “for at least 100 years.” (FYI: Heyward says he has never consulted for Fox.)

While some experts say Westin’s departure signals Disney intention to get out of the network-TV business, others insist it’s too early to tell.

“It’s not necessarily a sea change, but the world of mass-media journalism is changing so rapidly, people [including the media] are desperate to explain what the changes mean,” says network-news analyst Andrew Tyndall.

Thus far, according to Tyndall, “This is a trend piece masquerading as a news story.”


While Heyward says he takes Westin at his word that the decision was his own, Tyndall speculates he was asked to resign. “If he wanted to leave as a point of principle, he would have done it before he cut 25 percent of the staff [in February], not after,” says Tyndall.

Marc Berman, senior analyst for Mediaweek, sees no mystery in the tea leaves. Westin’s move “doesn’t signal anything except it was time for a change. Disney has so much at stake in the TV business, I don’t think they want to just pick up and walk away.”

For ABC News to survive, it has two options, Tyndall says — Make even further cuts or, as rumored, merge with Bloomberg in order to gain a desperately-needed cable presence.

AndyLack.jpgTyndall would like to see the two join forces, with Andy Lack, (left) CEO of Bloomberg’s Multimedia Group and former NBC News boss, running the new enterprise.

Heyward disagrees on both counts. ABC-Bloomberg “doesn’t seem as logical as other alliances that have been speculated. Bloomberg seems to have a strong financial focus.” As for Lack, “I’d be surprised if he were terribly intrigued by this.”

Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television, says “media marriages” — whether ABC-Bloomberg or CBS-CNN — are inevitable because of economic pressures. News divisions no longer have the luxury of being loss leaders.

Meanwhile, the concept of “radical change” is intriguing to Heyward, and could manifest itself in numerous ways.

One possible scenario: A network could drop its evening newscast, abdicating day-to-day news coverage to the digital world. With a smaller — and less well-paid — staff, the news division would focus on producing specialized, magazine-style, original content, to be syndicated across a broad range of platforms.

What about stars? “TV without personalities doesn’t make a ton of sense,” Heyward acknowledges. “Then it’s just video.”

“The few unique characters that really give you a distinctive brand will still command a premium, but you’re not going to have newscast producers” making huge salaries anymore.

Competition: GoogleTV? vs. Apple TV? vs. Microsoft?

September 8, 2010 2 comments

Google to start TV service in U.S. this autumn? What are your thoughts? Please read the follwong this article out of Germany. I would be interested in what your thoughts are in the PR/social industry? This is not the Amazon.com of the Internet is it? Kmart, move on over? Where Google trys to be all thing to all people and offer everything but the kitchen sink. 
So in summary Google is competing for market share against Apple and Micro-soft simultaniously?  All these players want a piece of what??? Ultimately?
And, how do we the people can keep up? How do I do my media planning now with the blurring of all these channels and markets.  How do we track PR campaign results from this?
Again, I would love to hear some feedback, as I have not clue on these upcoming media and Internet related changes.

BERLIN (Reuters) – Google Inc will launch its service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room.

CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of program makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers.

“We will work with content providers, but it is very unlikely that we will get into actual content production,” Schmidt told journalists after a keynote speech to the IFA consumer electronics trade fair in Berlin.

Sony said last week it had agreed to have Google TV on its television sets, and Samsung has said it was looking into using the service.

The announcement comes less than a week after rival Apple unveiled its latest Apple TV product and will intensify a battle for consumers’ attention and potentially for the $180 billion (117 billion pounds) global TV advertising market.

Schmidt also said Google would announce partnerships later this year with makers of tablet computers that would use Google’s Chrome operating system, due to be launched soon, rather than its Android phone software, which has been used for mobile devices until now.

The Mountain View, California-based company plans to make Chrome, which competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, the centre of an operating system that would offer an alternative to Microsoft Windows.

The world’s No.1 search engine is hunting for new revenue opportunities as growth in its core Internet business slows and as new technologies such as smartphones and social networking services transform the way consumers access the Web.

Schmidt declined to comment on Google’s plans for a social network of its own, and while he said there were plans to expand in music, he would not elaborate.

Reuters reported last week that Google was in talks with music labels for a music download store and a digital song locker.

Asked about criticism over Google’s Street View in Germany, Schmidt said he had anticipated it and that he had talks with some members of the German government during his stay in Berlin.

“What’s unusual is that we’ve given you (the Germans) the possibility to opt out before (the launch); we have never done that anywhere else.”

Google’s Street View cars are well known for crisscrossing the globe and taking panoramic pictures of the city streets, which the company displays in its online Maps product.

Critics say the tool invites abuse. They argue thieves can search for targets, security firms could use the data for sales pitches, job seekers might find their homes scrutinised by employers, and banks could inspect the homes of loan applicants.

Google ran into trouble in Germany in May after authorities found out that Street View vehicles were collecting private data sent over unencrypted WiFi networks.

“I was very angry about that,” Schmidt said, adding that once it was discovered, Google put an end to it.

26% of those 65 & older now use social networking sites

September 6, 2010 Comments off

Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled — from 22% to 42% over the past year.

 While social media use has grown dramatically across all age groups, older users have been especially enthusiastic over the past year about embracing new networking tools. Although email continues to be the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, many users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications — sharing links, photos, videos, news and status updates with a growing network of contacts.

Half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one-in-four (26%) users ages 65 and older now use social networking sites.

 Half of online adults ages 50-64 and one-in-four wired seniors now count themselves among the Facebooking and LinkedIn masses. That’s up from just 25% of online adults ages 50-64 and 13% of those ages 65 and older who reported social networking use one year ago in a survey conducted in April 2009.

 Young adult internet users ages 18-29 continue to be the heaviest users of social networking sies like Facebook and LinkedIn, with 86% saying they use the sites. However, over the past year, their growth paled in comparison with the gains made by older users. Between April 2009 and May 2010, internet users ages 50-64 who said they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn grew 88% and those ages 65 and older grew 100% in their adoption of the sites, compared with a growth rate of 13% for those ages 18-29.

 One-in-ten (11%) online adults ages 50-64 and one-in-twenty (5%) online adults ages 65 and older now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.

 The use of Twitter and other services to share status updates has also grown among older users — most notably among those ages 50-64. While just 5% of users ages 50-64 had used Twitter or another status-update service in 2009, 11% now say they use these tools. On a typical day, 6% of online adults ages 50-64 make Twitter a part of their routine, up from the 1% who did so in 2009.

 By comparison, social networking sites have gained a much larger foothold in the lives of older Americans over time. One-in-five (20%) online adults ages 50-64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10% one year ago. Likewise, 13% of online adults ages 65 and older log on to social networking sites, compared with just 4% who did so in 2009.

 Email and online news are still more appealing to older users, but social media sites attract many repeat visitors.

 While email may be falling out of favor with today’s teenagers, older adults still rely on it heavily as an essential tool for their daily communications. Overall, 92% of those ages 50-64 and 89% of those ages 65 and older send or read email and more than half of each group exchanges email messages on a typical day. Online news gathering also ranks highly in the daily media habits of older adults; 76% of internet users ages 50-64 get news online, and 42% do so on a typical day. Among internet users ages 65 and older, 62% look for news online and 34% do so on a typical day.

 Social media properties — including networking and status-update sites — are newer additions to the daily digital diet of older adults. Yet, the “stickiness” of the sites is notable. To look at the data another way, among the pool of adults ages 50 and older who use social networking sites, 44% used them on the day prior to their being contacted for our survey.

 The pool of Twitter and status update users ages 50 and older is too small to segment, but the behavior of this limited early adopter group does suggest a similar tendency towards regular use of the sites.

 By comparison, less than half of online banking users ages 50 and older visited the sites on a typical day and less than one-in-five older users of online classified sites reported use of the sites “yesterday.”

 Source: Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist, Pew Internet & American Life Project
August 27, 2010

Continue reading the full report at pewinternet.org.

72% of Adults are Texting

September 6, 2010 Comments off

Texting by adults has increased over the past nine months from 65% of adults sending and receiving texts in September 2009 to 72% texting in May 2010. 

With numbers like these, is texting part of your marketing and communications outreach plans? Why? Why not?

Still, adults do not send nearly the same number of texts per day as teens ages 12-17, who send and receive, on average, five times more texts per day than adult texters.

  • Adults who text typically send and receive a median of 10 texts a day; teens who text send and receive a median of 50 texts per day.
  • 5% of all adult texters send more than 200 text messages a day or more than 6,000 texts a month. Fully 15% of teens ages 12-17, and 18% of adults ages 18 to 24 text message more than 200 messages a day, while just 3% of adults ages 25 to 29 do the same.
  • Heavy adult texters — those who send and receive more than 50 texts a day — also tend to be heavy users of voice calling. Light texters, who exchange one to 10 texts a day, do not make up for less texting by calling more. Instead, they are light users of both calling and texting.

The original purpose of the cell phone is still the most universal — nearly every cell phone user makes calls on their phone at least occasionally.

  • The average adult cell phone owner makes and receives around five voice calls a day.
  • Women tend to make slightly fewer calls with their cell phones than men — while 53% of women make and receive five calls or fewer per day, 43% of men say the same. Men are a bit more likely to make slightly more phone calls in a day; 26% of men send and receive six to 10 calls a day, while 20% of women exchange that many calls. Men and women are equally likely to be represented at the extreme high end of callers, with 8% of men and 6% of women making and taking more than 30 calls a day.

Americans especially appreciate that their cell phones make them feel safer (91% of cell owners say this) and help them connect to friends and family to arrange plans (88% agree). Still, some users express irritation with their phone for the disruptions it creates, though the heaviest users of the phone are no more likely to express irritation with their phone than lower level users. Two-in-five (42%) cell phone owners say they feel irritated when a call or text message interrupts them. Cell phones are such a vital part of American’s lives that many users will not be parted from their device, even as they sleep:

  • 65% of adults with cell phones say they have ever slept with their cell phone on or right next to their bed.
  • Adults who have slept with or near their phones are also more likely to feel positively about their phone. They are more likely to appreciate the way the phone helps them to make plans (94% vs. 78% of those who don’t sleep with their phone) and to see the phone as a source of entertainment (52% vs. 14%). Phone sleepers are just as likely to express irritation with the phone as those who don’t sleep near their handset.

Spam isn’t just for email anymore; it comes in the form of unwanted text messages of all kinds — from coupons to phishing schemes — sent directly to user’s cell phones.

  • 57% of adults with cell phones have received unwanted or spam text messages on their phone.

African American and Hispanic cell phone users are more intense and frequent users of all of the phone’s capabilities than whites. Minorities send more text messages and make more calls on average than their white counterparts.

  • African American and English-speaking Hispanic adults are slightly more likely than whites to own a cell phone, with 87% of African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics owning a phone, compared with 80% of whites.
  • African American and English-speaking Hispanic cell phone owners are more likely than whites to initiate and receive large numbers of calls each day. One-in-eight (12%) Africa American phone owners and 14% of Hispanic cell phone users make and receive more than 30 calls on a typical day, while just 4% of white cell phone users make and receive the same number of calls.
  • African American and Hispanic texters typically text more on average than white texters, with a median of 10 texts a day for African Americans and Hispanics and 5 texts a day for whites. White adults are a bit more likely than English-speaking Hispanic adults to say they do not send or receive any texts on a typical day (10% vs. 4%).

Parents with children under age 18 in the home are also keen users of the cell phone. Parents are more likely to own a cell phone than non-parents, and more likely to make five or more calls per day than non-parents (63% vs. 44%), though they do not text more overall. They are more likely to have slept with their phone on or near their bed, and to use the phone for talking for all types of purposes. Texting is less definitive — mostly parents use it for the same reasons and similar frequencies as non-parents. Parents are also more likely than those without minor children at home to appreciate the way the phone allows them to check in, plan on the fly and stave off boredom.

  • Parents (90%) are more likely to have a cell phone than adults without children under 18 at home (78%).
  • 72% of parents have slept with their phone, compared with 62% of non-parents.
  • Parents are more likely to use their cell phone’s voice capabilities several times a day for work calls (32% of parents vs. 19% of non-parents), to check in with someone (28% vs. 17%), to say hello and chat (31% vs. 24%) and to have long personal conversations (13% vs. 7%) than are non-parents. Parents are also more likely than non-parents to coordinate a physical meeting (18% vs. 13%) daily.

Source: by Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist, Pew Internet & American Life Project
September 2, 2010 

Read the full report at pewinternet.org.

Generational Marketing

September 6, 2010 Comments off

Question of the day.  How do you market and communicate to such widely disbursed generations?

All of whom use different sorts of media? And, then how do you educate, inform, generate news, sales, and information awareness across all the different mediums and channels? It is such a dispersed world with so much “noise” out there.  You start first with understanding key generations at larger niche audiences and how they consume information and use media types and channels.

Knowing how people consume media generationally, is one key knowledge point and the other is monitoring social trends.

Below is some useful information for your back hip pocket, showing the most widely accepted cultural U.S. generations:

The Lost Generation. primarily known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term originating with Gertrude Stein to describe those who fought in World War I.

The Greatest Generation. also known as the G.I. Generation, is the generation that includes the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 to 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression. Journalist Tom Brokaw dubbed this the Greatest Generation in a book of the same name.

The Silent Generation, born 1925 to 1945.  This generational group includes those who were too young to join the service during World War II. Many had fathers who served in World War I. Generally recognized as the children of the Great Depression, this event during their formative years had a profound impact on them.

The Baby Boomer Generation. This is the generation that was born following World War II, about 1946 up to approximately 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates. The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python.”  By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of great affluence, then those of the immediate post WWII generation.

One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a “special generation” that is very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.

  • Memorable events: assassination of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., political unrest, walk on the moon, risk of the draft into the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, social experimentation, sexual freedom, Roe V. Wade, Stonewall Riots, drug experimentation, civil rights movement, environmental movement, women’s movement, protests and riots, Woodstock and similar music festivals, mainstream rock from the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, experimentation with various intoxicating recreational substances.
  • More on Boomer Generation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Boom_Generation

    Generation X. This is the generation generally defined as those born after the baby boom ended, and hence sometimes referred to as Baby Busters[13], with earliest birth dates seen used by researchers ranging from 1961 to the latest 1981 at its greatest extent.

    Generation Y. This group is also known as Generation Next, Millennials, or Echo Boomers.  The earliest suggested birth dates ranging from mid to late 1970s to the latest in the early 2000s.

    Today, many follow William Strauss and Neil Howe’s theories in defining the Millennials. They use the start year as 1982, and end years around the turn of the millennium.

    Generation Z, also known as Generation I or the Internet Generation, and dubbed the “Digital Natives.  The earliest birth is generally dated in the early 1990s, may have never ever used a manual typewriter, or a circular dial phone,

    We’re well aware that the Baby Boomers are the largest generation, followed by the Millennials, hence such the interest in both.

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