There’s been a lot of uproar about Joe Talcott’s recent comments re “The Internet”
Personally, I think many of us are jumping to defend the medium rather than taking his comments for what they are.
What was reported Joe said in the Oz was …
“The internet is not a medium,” Mr Talcott said on Friday at a forum held by the Australian Association of National Advertisers — of which he is also the chairman. “It’s a place where people do stuff.
“There’s media on the internet, no question,” he said. “No one sits down to `watch the internet’.”
He said research tracking time spent online should exclude online banking, online shopping, online research for shopping, emailing and even time spent on social networking sites such as Facebook.
“Social networks should not be compared with TV and radio; they should be compared with socialising,” he said. “To some degree, banner ads are like pub coasters — they’re ads that appear when you’re socialising and I reckon they get about the same amount of attention.”
Reading them, I don’t think what he is saying is incorrect.
One thing I believe is clear is Talcott was speaking as a marketer and not as a salesman. This is one thing I believe to be true and it means the comments should be taken as more than a newspaper guy trying to validate his medium.
To be honest, social networks generally probably aren’t ‘media’ channels … and they are taking something that has always been done ‘socialising’ and moving it online. The analogy with pub coasters isn’t that bad (it’s actually pretty good) … that said, there are strong campaigns on ‘social networks’ that are great and engaging.
Do people ‘sit down to watch the Internet’ … well yes and no. Some people may go to a particular destination regularly, but data shows Internet users generally do not show the same habitual behaviour as those who regularly watch a TV show or read a paper. Given so much traffic to almost all sites comes from Google you have to think that many sites are serving a role as a brandless information fulfillment channel rather than a trusted media brand that is turned to by a loyal audience. This is a big thing and advertisers should be aware of this.
Should we remove things like Internet banking, white/yellow pages, shopping, checking the BOM, putting in health care claims online etc from the term ‘Online media consumption’ – most definitely. It’s one of the conundrums we face when trying to define ‘Internet use’ in a commercial sense.
Should we remove email and messenger? Maybe.Are these compelling, engaging media channels? Sometimes no, sometimes yes.
We talk up that 23% of peoples time spent using media is online but only a handful of sites in this country have a truly loyal, engaged audience.
Personally, and I am seeking clarification on this, I believe what Talcott said was taken way out of context. He did say ‘There is media on the Internet’ and his comments were isolated to certain things – namely utilities and social networking/communications.
The comment re “beer coasters” was around social networks … not the whole Internet and not high engagement destination sites. I think we all need to take a step back and stop getting flumoxed that what he’s said might stop the double digital growth at any cost obsession that the entire industry seems so taken with.
I’ve shot some questions off to Joe Talcott to get clarification so hopefully he can find the time to get some answers back to me.