Mass Media Is Alive and Well

The Catch: You Have to Live and Work in Brazil. And You Have to Get Here Soon

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I'm in Brazil to give a speech on branded entertainment at MaxiMidia, a conference organized by the leading marketing trade title here, Meio & Mensagem. (If it goes over well, I may post pieces of it here to get your feedback. It's been four years since I wrote the book Madison & Vine, and I used this speech as an opportunity to fully update my view on how branded entertainment has evolved since then and where it now stands as a marketing tool. But I digress.)

If you work in marketing or media in the U.S., and you still long for the days when putting together a marketing plan meant buying a few network TV commercials and sprinkling in a couple of print ads, Brazil is the place for you. It's said you can reach 40% of the population with a single prime-time spot on the dominant Globo network. Soap operas play a central role in many women's lives, especially in poorer areas of the country. There are no DVRs. Newsweekly magazines are thick with ads. Even Meio & Mensagem can still hold back stories for its weekly print edition if it doesn't want to release them online instantly. The continued existence of a mass-media market (along with Globo's dominance of the landscape) helps explain why media-services agencies still don't operate here.

But there's every indication the market here will fragment just as it has in the U.S. Cellphones are everywhere, as are Blackberries. DVRs are coming. Internet ad spending, still in the low-single-digits, is rapidly rising. Social-networking sites are proliferating. If you want to re-live the glory days of mass media, get here quickly. I give it two more years, tops.