How to Master the 'Vert Ramp'

Mark Cuban Explains the Latest Digital Term

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Every other day, a new digital term is born. Lately, HDNet co-founder and Chairman Mark Cuban has been repurposing an old piece of skateboard vernacular, "vert ramp," to describe "long-tail" content crossing into the mainstream. Here, Mark explains.
Steve Rubel
Steve Rubel Credit: JC Bourcart

In your blog, you talk about properties jumping from the long tail up the vert ramp into mainstream. What about the reverse? Are there media properties that will slide down the vert ramp into the long tail?

TV networks that can't make the transition to high-def will, and there will be more examples than people expect. Most blogs, vlogs, podcasts and broadband-TV shows that sneak out of the long tail, my blog included, will have a tough time staying out [in the mainstream] and earning more than minimum wage for their efforts.

What's it going to take for advertisers to begin to make big investments in the long tail?

They will work with aggregators. ... The big risk to all will be the inevitable saturation of ad inventory. Everyone wants their slice of the advertising pie. Right now there is more ad money than inventory. That will change quickly over the next 12 to 24 months. The advantage may go to the diversified sales force that can bundle multiple platforms -- TV, search, net video, VOD, mobile.
Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban Credit: Reuters

How should advertisers be adapting to the long tail?

Advertisers ... need to start thinking in terms of dayparts. How people consume ads at work is different than when they happen to be surfing or playing online after checking their e-mail or while watching TV after dinner.

They also have to look forward rather than backward. The living room is becoming the focus of family entertainment again. People are gathering around their brand-new 40-inch plasma or LCD to watch shows and sports and movies in HD. It's an opportunity to get an advantage most advertisers are missing.

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Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP in Edelman's Me2Revolution practice.
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