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Time Inc. Merges Print and Digital Sales Units

There was a day when offline and online were two very distinct paths through life. These days, however, that’s not really the case. Watching TV and reading for pleasure used to be strictly offline behaviors but now many people do both online. Why go to the computer to get your email when you can get it on your phone? And thanks to Samsung, I now sit down in front of the TV to catch up on Twitter.

Time Inc. has seen the writing on the wall and that’s why they decided to merge their print and digital sales unit into a new unit they call “Time Inc. Branded Solutions.” It’s a fancy name for a pretty simple idea – positioning your brand next to their brands without worrying about boundaries.

Online Ad Spending Beats Newspapers by Year End

We’ve seen it coming but the day is finally here, by the time we ring in the new year, spending on online ads will have passed newspaper ad spending for the first time ever.

According to eMarketer, print advertising in newspapers will fall to $22.8 billion while online ad spending will rise to $25.8 billion. They expect the difference to be even more significant by the end of 2011.

This past October, the Associated Press published a report that noted a 5% drop in newspaper circulation and an 8.7% drop the year before that.

Says the report:

Circulation declines hurt newspapers financially not only because they are losing revenue from subscriptions, but also because the bulk of newspaper advertising revenue is still generated by printed editions rather than their websites.

DirecTV Close to Rolling Out Targeted TV Commercials

I don’t have a pet and I have no interest in male enhancement products, yet during an average week, I’ll see plenty of commercials for kitty litter, dog food and ExtenZe. DirecTV says that’s going to change and it may happen as soon as the summer of 2011.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, DirectTV has a $10 – $20 million dollar commitment from Starcom MediaVest, a company that buys ad time on behalf of heavyhitters.

Under the new program, the ad buyer would list the characteristics of their target household and DirectTV’s system would search the data pools to find a match. A variety of commercial options would then be loaded into the box and the box itself would decide on the most appropriate commercial for each occasion.

Commerce Department, Ma’am. Privacy Division

I can see it now. The black screen, the ominous ba bum sound and then the words, Law & Order: Privacy Division. They’re federal agents who put their lives on the line every day so that you, the internet user, can surf without fear of being molested by targeted Old Navy ads and free lunch coupons on your birthday. Sure they’re making it hard for the small business marketer to sell his wares, but hey, that’s the way the browser cookie crumbles. Get over it.

So, maybe it won’t be on next fall’s TV schedule, but it may be coming to a computer near you, if the federal government gets their way. Yesterday, the Commerce Department released the Internet Policy Task Force Privacy Green Paper which is loaded with recommendations “aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation, and economic growth.”

Is Do Not Track Something to Worry About?

This past Wednesday, the FTC released a report stating that they were behind a “Do Not Track” program that would automatically stop all ad tracking unless the consumer opted in. The consensus from the government is that advertisers aren’t doing enough to assure consumer privacy, so they’re being forced to step in.

As of this morning, a dozen plus blogs and news outlets have chimed in on the topic discussing everything from the possibility of it becoming a reality and who will be hurt if it happens.

Multichannel news covered a Time Warner media VP’s appearance before the subcommittee on Thursday. Joan Gillman’s point was that “Do Not Track” would interfere with the “vibrancy” of the internet in that it would restrict a company’s ability to be marketing innovators.

Super Bowl Ads and the Evolution of Online Marketing

Do you remember Pets.com? Back in 2000, the internet company made a big splash with a clever Super Bowl ad that had pet owners rushing to the site to buy dog food. Actually, not the second part. Like a lot of companies during the dot.com boom, the Super Bowl ad was the first and final hurrah for Pets.com.

While you won’t see the return of the dot.com dandies this Super Bowl, Advertising Age is predicting a big run on ads that are digitally and socially enhanced. Go read the article. I’ll wait.

(Insert “The Girl from Ipanema” here.)

Back? Great. Pete Blackshaw makes a reference to a POEM framework: paid media, owned media and earned media. It’s his contention, and I totally agree, that the successful brands will find a way to balance the golden POEM triangle in order to get the very most out of every ad dollar.

Competitor Gone Out of Business: Their Loss is Your Gain?

Mike Michalowicz, has an article in the small business section of today’s Wall Street Journal that talks about ways of siphoning off the clients from a competitor who has gone out of business. The concept is based on the idea that the world is full of ads that lead to dead phone numbers or defunct websites. It happens because companies don’t anticipate going out of business when they buy that phone book ad or drop 10,000 postcards with their web address from a hot air balloon. So Michalowicz says you should claim old phone numbers and web addresses and redirect them to your own active business.