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How Real Is Consumer-Generated Media?

by Eric Kintz  |  
August 16, 2006

Chris Anderson has a great post on the "mainstream media meltdown"....

He takes a look on a regular basis at the key mainstream media year over year comparisons.
Mainstream media evolution
* TV: network TV had its lowest weekly ratings ever in July. CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox averaged 20.8 million viewers during the average prime-time minute the week of July 4th, according to Nielsen Media Research. That sunk below the previous record of 21.5 million, set during the last week of July in 2005.
* Music: weekly album sales set a 10-year low in July. Album sales - including those sold via digital download - amounted to 8.91 million copies for the week ended July 23. That's the first time Nielsen SoundScan has tallied fewer than 9 million units since 1996, when the week that closed February 4 marked 8.94 million.
* Radio: the music radio listening audience is down 8.5% this year alone, continuing a multi-decade decline.
* DVDs: shipments are down 4% so far this year, more than 30 million units behind the same period last year.
* Newspapers: circulation, which peaked in 1987, is declining faster than ever and is down another 2.6% so far this year.
I did a comparative research on the CGM side and found these stunning reverse trends:
Consumer generated media
YouTube announced in July that viewers are now watching more than 100 million videos per day on its site. Nielsen/NetRatings reported that weekly U.S. Web traffic to video sharing site YouTube grew 75 percent in the week ending July 16th, from 7.3 million to 12.8 million unique visitors. Among the top 25 Web brands ranked by unique audience, YouTube was the fastest growing from January to June 2006, increasing 297 percent. The number of Web pages viewed has grown even faster, increasing 515 percent. (See my post on YouTube.)
The blogosphere has been doubling in size every 6 months or so. It is over 100 times bigger than it was just 3 years ago. Technorati now tracks 50 million blogs and is most probably underestimating the overall number of blogs (see my post on French blogging). The total posting volume of the blogosphere continues to rise, showing about 1.6 million postings per day, or about 18.6 posts per second. This is about double the volume of about a year ago.
Social networks
MySpace has 75 million users, 15 million daily unique logins, is growing by a massive 240,000 new users per day, and is generating nearly 30 billion monthly page views (that's 10,593 page views per second). MySpace hasn't overtaken Yahoo yet in terms of page views, but they are a solid second and are ahead of giants like MSN-Microsoft, Time Warner (including AOL), eBay, Google and Facebook.
If we .... as marketers .... follow where our customers go, we will need sooner or later to make the mental shift to consumer generated media.
UPDATE: my good blogging friend Mack recently wrote a post, highlighting that MySpace had reached the 100 million user mark....
UPDATE: Steve Rubel has a great post highlighting that membership at social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace is exploding. In June, 2 out of every 3 people online visited a social networking site. Since January 2004, the number of people visiting or taking part in one of the top online social networks has grown by over 109% (primarily driven by MySpace). Most of this growth has come about in the past 12 months alone! Social networking sites are now close to eclipsing traffic to the giants - Google and Yahoo.
Eric Kintz is VP Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence for Hewlett-Packard. Read his blog here.

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p>Eric Kintz
Vice President, Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence
Hewlett-Packard Company
Marketing Excellence blog

Eric leads HP’s marketing strategy worldwide, reporting to Cathy Lyons, HP's Chief Marketing Officer. He is responsible for developing HP’s strategic approach to all marketing disciplines. As part of that, he spearheaded HP’s strategic framework for marketing which is built around a unified focus: To strengthen customers’ and employees’ relationship to the HP Brand to profitably grow the business and leverage HP’s impressive portfolio.

He is recognized as a thought leader in the most rapidly growing areas of interest and emerging opportunities in the marketing space, including the integration of rigorous discipline into Marketing processes and measurement. He also takes an innovative approach to Internet Marketing and authors HP’s most successful blog – “Marketing Excellence.”

Eric’s organization owns HP’s Marketing Performance Management (MPM) initiative, which focuses on driving more ROI discipline and accountability in the marketing function and tightly aligns marketing with business growth. As part of his MPM responsibilities, Eric is also an executive sponsor of HP’s enterprise data warehouse project, which will consolidate the number of HP’s datacenters from 85 to 6.

His team also leads the deployment of one of the largest Marketing Resource Management (MRM) and Marketing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs designed to streamline and automate marketing campaign ROI. He is responsible for the design and deployment of HP’s marketing measurement system, including advanced analytical modeling.

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  • by eTechSupport Wed Aug 16, 2006 via blog

    The consumers are taking the authenticity easily of a particular brand and get associate themselves with that brand that is the reason consumer generated media is top of the list, anyone who has passion can appeal to consumer generated arena.

  • by Lewis Green Wed Aug 16, 2006 via blog

    Is it also possible that consumer generated media is so popular because it is mostly free and it is participatory? Is it also possible that if it were not free and instead needed to make a profit from both advertising and its audience, it's popularity might diminish? Then, CSG becomes just another enterprise competing for a share of the market.

  • by B.L. Ochman Wed Aug 16, 2006 via blog

    Ah Lewis! The voice of a skeptic. Participatory is the key word here. And what makes you think that MySPace, etc. are not making any money from advertisers, and content sponsors? Flickr, for example, has a free and a premium subscription. So do many other social media sites. Google video and Yahoo video are supported by the ads on those sites, and the social media sites are branding sites. Don't kid yourself into thinking money isn't being made in CSG. Ignore it at your peril.

  • by Eric Kintz Thu Aug 17, 2006 via blog

    The value of the Google deal with myspace and the NBC deal with Youtube are great indicators of the advertising potential of social networks. Is there too much hype? Of course! But I would not ignore the phenomenom, the next Google may emerge out of it Eric

  • by eTechSupport Thu Aug 17, 2006 via blog

    I think there is no point who is making money, the point is what are the influencing factors working there which attract a large group of viewers and they get attached easily with particular brand. Both media and corporate brand leaders are playing important role to exploit specific market segment by involving the consumers to these arena and trying to use them as their sales force. Nothing bad if consumers get involve and evolve making everything viral. Ok, Whatever it may be I would say its good marketing strategy though its called Consumer generated media.

  • by Allen Weiss Thu Aug 17, 2006 via blog

    Hi All, This is an interesting discussion and one that I have been thinking about as well. As far as business models go (and someone is going to need to make money for these concepts to survive), there seems to be a big difference between the massive search engine traffic and social network traffic as a means of targeting ads. I would be wary of using the analogy of search and social sites for making the case about advertising effectiveness. In the case of search engines, people are searching for information, often with the goal of buying something, and so ads become relevant in that context. People going to social networking sites are likely to go there with a completely different goal in mind, such as connecting to other people in a myriad of ways. These would be great for word of mouth marketing (or viral marketing, using the parlance du jour), but how effective text ad or similar types of advertising will be on these sites seems to less certain. Thus, myspace and you tube, while massive, are likely attracting people who have completely different goals than your typical shopper. Perhaps it might be best to start to get a better understanding of the goals of these people before the ad industry starts salivating about advertising there.

  • by David Berkowitz Thu Aug 17, 2006 via blog

    Allen, in response to your remark, you made my day with the acknowledgement of the effectiveness of search traffic and the corresponding advertising. However, MySpace, YouTube, and the like are becoming places where people are spending a great deal of their time and attention. In light of that, advertisers have no choice but to try and reach them there. The effectiveness might not be as strong as search marketing, but targeting capabilities for social networks and entertainment sites can be greatly improved, especially through behavioral targeting on several levels.

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