Tuesday, June 12, 2007

does your audience sit forward or back?

These days, it pays to know: Sit-back audiences represent the radio listener or TV viewer of yore. Sit-forward audiences use the Web. Two interesting articles note the catch-up game that television and radio play these days to compete with the web. In some cases, the networks compete with their own websites--and the websites are winning. This Advertising Age article grabs you with its opening line, quoting Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons: "I worry about CNN more than I do about CNN.com." Check out the numbers reported in the article:
CNN's ratings have been on a steady decline since 2003, when it regularly got 689,000 households to tune in each day, to a low of 383,000 last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. For the first six months of this year, it's up to 431,000...Traffic continues to climb over at CNN.com, however, with unique users up nearly 25% to 26 million in April compared with the same period last year. That, coupled with the 90 million worldwide subscribers to CNN Mobile, suggests that CNN's breaking-news model fits in better online among sit-forward viewers than it does in the sit-back environment of America's living rooms.
Radio's no different. Today's New York Times includes Jeff Leeds' look at how major radio networks are moving into the more-interactive world of Internet radio, a world that will require them to work harder to hold listeners' attention:
Confronted by a slow erosion of listeners who are turning to iPods, podcasts and other sources for entertainment, the radio corporations are trying to merge their over-the-air music and D.J. chatter with the Web, adding online streams of their broadcasts and features already found on many independent Web-based stations. These include live chat rooms, blogs and MySpace-style social networking features.
If you're acting as a source to broadcast outlets, think about how your information can expand and interact with their expanding, interactive audiences -- and don't neglect to offer photos, video and audio to radio outlets, for example, for their web pages. Can your audience interact with theirs? Those with creative information solutions will be able to tap into this burgeoning market.

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