Superbowl and Internet Advertising

A writer from the local paper, The Daily Item, emailed my department asking for background on something about superbowl advertisers doing more with the internet.

Here is what I gave her back. It will be fun to see what gets used (if anything.)

“The mingling of the new kid on the block- Internet advertising- with the old (and big) kid- Superbowl advertising, crystallizes important shifts in media use and consumption in America. First, the Internet is no fenced off. Second, the Internet is more and more the Everyone-Net.

The Internet is less and less a privileged or partitioned media for commerce and advertising. The fence is down. Some researchers estimate that 10% of all ad dollars will go to Internet advertising by 2010. Meanwhile, live TV viewership declined 10% in 2007. What is more striking is how much citizens trust the Internet given how wary of mass media and generally information-saturated they are. Recent research from the Annenberg School for Communication found that by 2007 80% of Internet users rated the Internet as an important source of information, much higher than TV (68%), radio (63%) or newspapers (63%). Consumers seeking information appreciate authenticity, and they find it more and more in cyberspace.

These effects are magnified by the increasing adoption of the Internet and especially broadband which has surged from 5% to 42% of households since 2000. We are watching the extension of the Internet to the Everyone-Net. Internet penetration is up to 75% of American households (the most of any country, however many other countries have more intense Internet use per wired household. Israel is first at 57 hours per month. The US is about 32). Ten years ago there were clear race and class divides in in Internet use. Those have narrowed considerably (but persist for broadband connectivity). Among college graduates, the difference in White, Black, and Hispanic internet use is almost zero. The digital divides are now along education and age lines and narrowing progressively.

But those are only the tip of a big iceberg. Consumers are far more savvy about information sources and products. Cyberspace is becoming a destination for entertainment, community, and commerce. The logic of the Internet is not one-to-many, like print or broadcast media, but many-to-many. This is a fundamental difference whose significance can not be overlooked. As advertisers shift, they will have to learn how to navigate the mixture of entertainment, community, and commerce online. They don’t own the stage like they have with big production Superbowl ads. They will have to learn that the audience mingling amongst themselves is the only show in town.” anything).

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