Sunday, June 7, 2009

A solution for the Newspaper Revenue Problem: Clickable TV Listings in Print

edited version reposted from Tough Love for Xerox blog.

Clickable print is print + 2d barcodes that take the user to a website. 2D barcodes can be in the form of QR codes that allow the connection to be made through a cell phone or PC camera or a traditional bar code that allow the connection to be made by a scanning pen.
More at PBS. MediaShift and at the Clickable Print Blog.

It's now clear that only a few can profit from web advertising. Google can earn huge revenue because they have the scale and the automated ability to receive and deliver ads on an unimaginable scale. The web advertising is business is tiny margins on each transaction, massive number of transactions. It works for Google because the marginal cost of receiving and delivering ads is very close to zero.

But everyone else in "Euromerica" is just too small. Since I'm not familiar with Asia, I can only guess that the real competition will come from there. Yes, it is plausible to believe that Facebook in the mass market and Linked In in the professional market might get to the appropriate scale and might invent a way to deliver ads in social networks. But that is still to be seen. It's hard to get rent, when the real estate is unlimited.

There is now little doubt that on demand TV is quickly moving to anytime, anywhere.

The computer screen is the TV for YouTube,,, Hulu, the Comedy Channel, etc etc etc. The TV is the TV for the cable channels. Now that the USA has switched to digital TV it will become "any movie ever made, any time, any place."

As America evolves into a mature wireless communication ecology, TV will be on the cell phone for private viewing of short form video. The living room will be for shared viewing of either short form or long form or multi part long form video. Flat screens distributed around the home will be background TV.

What to watch?
The paradox is that the "What to watch?" problem will only get more difficult. Anyone who has used the remote to select that night's programing, understands the nature of the problem today. Imagine the babel created with a virtually unlimited number of offerings.

Consider how much you might value a single piece of Paper or a couple of pages in a newspaper with 2d codes, either QR or any of the other bar codes, where the click is a scanning pen or cell phone? On the computer this is not a problem. You click on the link. But searching the computer for that "interesting-to-me-now" video is very inconvenient. Clicking on print, is very convenient.

Clickable print.
Real estate in print is limited and therefore valuable. From the user's point of view, the defensible advertising advantage of Print is that it is the least expensive, most convenient way to find something that you didn't know you were looking for. Print advertising does not require search by fingers. It enables search by eye. Users thumb through Print when they are bored. "Bored" is the state of scanning for something interesting.

Clickable print solves the metrics problem. Bar codes and now QR codes can be created at production speeds. Just like a web link, user information can be embedded in the codes and harvesting from massive number of clicks.

A local newspaper + cable + radio station enterprise. Four pages of the newspaper is devoted to clickable print TV listings. The appropriate categories after sports, cooking and parenting could be based on a web survey or better even, harvesting the "what article was viewed and emailed" data from their website.

Q: What's the missing piece?
A: A living room friendly scanner connected to the TV Cloud.
It's likely that the technology is already there in many different contexts. Light pens are cheap and easy to use. Remote bar code readers have well established connections to the Cloud. Cell phones have the tech. Very soon someone will connect that technology to the digital cable box and it's done.

It might come first from the Wii or Nokia or Apple or Amazon. It might be Yahoo or Google or Microsoft.It could be News Corp or the New York Times or WaPo. But it seems obvious that it will come. When the first one is introduced, within a year the better, faster, cheaper versions will come to market. Within a year after that the copy cats will deliver the same functionality with ever increasing usability at ever decreasing prices.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating overview of digital content, it reall is just a matter of working out the fine details.