Is Your Medium Ready for the Nonlinear World?

MediaWorks Asks Five Media Sellers

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LARRY FISCHER, president, Time Warner Cable Media Sales:
We have been preparing for the nonlinear world for quite some time. Time Warner Cable was the first to launch video on demand and first to trial interactive advertising. But I would say our most exciting innovation to date is the recent launch of Start Over, which allows users the ability to restart a program in progress without any preplanning or in-home recording devices. It leverages Time Warner Cable's VOD platform, but is actually used by consumers as an extension of live TV.

Larry Fischer

And the beauty of Start Over is that it preserves the viewership of advertisements inside network programming by disabling fast forwarding. Start Over-enabled programs can be restarted only within the time frame of the program's broadcast window. Our early usage data shows that approximately 70% of those who can use Start Over and do so between eight and 10 times per month. The 61 networks that have signed on with Start Over have done so primarily for the potential of increased viewership, access to our aggregated usage data and to attract younger viewers who have grown accustomed to nonlinear TV viewing.

Other exciting nonlinear applications include branded VOD applications like DriverTV, which provides our subscribers with virtual-showroom experiences and interactive advertising ("active advertising") applications that enable viewers to learn more about a product or service.

JACK KLIGER, president-CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.; chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America:
We absolutely have a place in a nonlinear world. A world driven by digital technology opens up opportunities for magazines that are unique and exciting.

Jack Kliger

The first question is "Are we well-suited for an on-demand world?" Quite frankly, we think we are the best-suited, because we are the original -- we believe -- on-demand medium. The subject of consumer control and choice is not a strange one; in fact we've always lived with it. It's the consumer who can choose or not choose to engage with magazines. The fact that we are an engagement-oriented vehicle rather than an interruptive vehicle is very important. We don't need to learn to live in an on-demand world; that's what we already do.

The challenge for us is how to use technology to move our brands and content more effectively onto the platforms that we're talking about. The challenge is how to work with technology and live in a world where we have the opportunity for the first time to use sight, sound and motion to deliver our content. This was something we never had before.

If we can combine what magazines do well, which is give well-edited credible engaging information to consumers, and utilize the opportunities that technology can give us, magazines have a very bright future.

One example is that we're able now to deliver subscriptions via digital format on the Web and add rich media to our content both for our advertisers and for our editorial. I like the idea of an ElleGirl being able to deliver a screen-based product to teenage girls that includes movie trailers and video clips in the editorial content.

JOHN HOGAN, CEO, Clear Channel Radio:
Radio is definitely ready -- and Clear Channel is already operating in the nonlinear world.

John Hogan
We've made massive commitments to digital radio, cellular opportunities and multiple other distribution platforms. Our online capabilities are awesome -- more than 900 Web sites rich in on-demand content including podcasts, stripped, New!, videos on demand and other compelling, exclusive programming. We stream more than 500 stations, have more than 80 stations podcasting and have many other online opportunities launching in the coming weeks. We're also providing real-time traffic content and data for mobile navigation systems as well as a variety of programming for cellular applications -- including programming for Motorola's iRadio service. We have fully embraced the opportunities afforded by technology and are no longer simply in the "tall towers in big fields" part of the radio business. We are absolutely ready to compete -- and succeed -- in a nonlinear world. Bring it on!
Bill Morningstar

BILL MORNINGSTAR, exec VP, The CW, fifth broadcast network launching September:
The CW is betting on content -- and creating a better environment to create "hit" content that will attract young viewers in our laser-targeted 18-34 demo. At the same time, we need to aggressively find ways to build out from the TV screen and extend our brand in ways that can effectively traverse these emerging platforms.

STEPHEN T. GRAY, managing director, Newspaper Next:
Yes they're ready in the sense that newspaper companies launched into the Web very early, have invested over time, have built substantial audiences there and are seeing strong growth. So that all sounds good.

But the bad news is that most of those newspaper companies have only gone so far and have mainly been reproducing the newspaper experience in a Web-ified form. Most of them have been much slower to take advantage of the dramatically different things people can do and want to do on the Web as a result of its non-linear attributes.

Stephen T. Gray

We're sort of at an inflection point right now where I see the industry waking up to this. There are leaders who've been doing things out there for several years, some really interesting experiments in the last couple years and new realizations day by day. There's a great opportunity to build new audience of local people who aren't necessarily interested in the news. When you look at a newspaper Web site that's how it's an old play: There's the news. But the Web is about a lot more. But local can mean news and a thousand other things, many of which don't have anything to do with the news.

The nonlinear vehicle that the Web is, what does that let us do? The nonlinear hooks can be things like community interaction, social networking, hyper local content like what's going on at the elementary school, user-generated content. There are examples are doing just gonzo local databases of everything people need.

The picture I want advertisers to see is that newspaper companies are tremendously well-positioned to create new audiences in their local markets and are moving to do that. We're on the toe of the curve but there are enough great examples out there that others are starting to take notice.

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