Monday, June 22, 2009
Online Brands Turn To TV And Print Ads
Amazon.com and other Internet online brands are turning to television ads and other offline media to sell their products, according to a report today in AdWeek. The success of Hulu.com, as a result of TV ads featuring Alec Baldwin, has spurred companies such as Kayak.com (travel) and Zappos.com (clothing and shoes) to look into more traditional types of mass advertising such as television, radio and print. Robert Birge, head of marketing at Kayak, says "in spite of the popular folklore, human beings do not live sitting at a browser 16 hours a day. They still watch TV a lot, read newspapers and magazines, drive places where they see billboards and read their direct mail." Hulu, though is directly geared toward the TV audience, because it is an online service that allows viewers to watch their favorite TV shows and movies anytime they like online, making scheduled family viewing hours obsolete. To many in the entertainment community, it seems odd that Alec Baldwin, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, is asking viewers to watch shows on the Internet, where as of now, actors aren't being adequately compensated. The recent SAG contract gives actors some residuals for shows that are shown for free on the Internet, but many actors, including former SAG president Ed Asner and Martin Sheen, feel that it isn't enough, and have been vocal about their disapproval of the contract as it now stands. Many feel that because of the bad economy, SAG is delaying the issue for two years, when the next contract comes up. Alec Baldwin is making more money from his commercial appearances for Hulu than he is from his appearances on his NBC comedy "30 Rock" that show up on the Internet. Some members of SAG are not happy about Baldwin's participation in Hulu's success. On the other hand, money from online Internet sites is finding its way to the mainstream media, and TV and print outlets can use the infusion of cash. The irony is that Hulu.com is spending advertising dollars on TV and at the same time exploiting actors on the Internet. At least Amazon.com and similar sites don't have this type of conflict of interest.