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So where else are young people going online? And who are they talking to?
If you believe media reports, Facebook has gone out of favor with the younger demos, ages 14 - 34.
But a recent survey, reported this week by Adweek, shows that 66 percent of people ages 14 - 34 are frequent users of FB. What's changing is that they're increasingly using other platforms as well -- mainly YouTube.
Another study, meanwhile, shows that nearly two-thirds of young people have joined at least one social network by the time they're 10 years old. The survey, by the London School of Economics, found that 28 percent of British kids ages 9 and 10 already have a personal profile on a social network -- mostly Facebook. That number has more than doubled over the past year and a half.
The U.S. has restrictions on how marketers interact online with kids under 13 -- basically, they can't. And although many parents restrict (or try) what their kids can do online, the growing access to mobile devices makes parental control ever more challenging. Once a kid has a social network profile, he or she becomes a target for sometimes questionable people -- scammers or, worse yet, pedophiles.
There's a TV station in New York that for years has been asking this question at the start of the 10 p.m. newscast -- "It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?"
The challenge these days is more like, "It's any time during the day. Do you know what your children are doing online and who they're talking to?"
Jay Leno hosts his last Tonight Show tonight, after a 22-year run where he held the lead in the ratings race pretty much the whole time.
In some ways, it feels like deja vu. (Didn't he do his last show once before, about five years ago?)
But it also feels almost like a non-event. Those of us who are old enough can remember when Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show. It was THE news story and the hot water cooler topic for weeks. Even those who hadn't watched Carson for years tuned in those last few nights, and we can still remember feeling kind of sad when Bette Midler, Johnny's last guest, sang a sweet thank you. Johnny had been a big part of our lives, and we all realized it was the end of an era.
So as Jay Leno hosts his final show, where is the hoopla? Where are the teary eyes and the goodbyes?
Despite Jay's ratings dominance for only eight years shorter than Johnny's, it's just not the same.
NBC is busy pushing the Olympics, which begin tonight. And we've all been pre-occupied with other show business news in the midst of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.
Back in Johnny's time, there weren't late-night talk shows on all the networks. Viewers didn't have the other choices -- cable, Netflix, DVRs, online streaming video. There just wasn't as much to watch.
Jay Leno, while a very good stand-up comic, seems not to have built the kind of image with viewers that Johnny Carson had back then. Maybe some of it is because Jay never hung conspicuously with the big celebrities, the way Johnny seemed to do with the Las Vegas rat pack crowd back then. To his credit, Leno -- although very rich -- always seemed to be just a regular guy from a blue collar background. Carson, also from a humble midwest background, seemed a bit aloof from the masses. We knew he played tennis with all the show biz big shots, but rarely heard of him hanging with regular people. Leno always has gone back to the comedy clubs where he came up, and does stand-up in front of small crowds.
So maybe that humble accessibility has him a bit less of a super-star in our eyes.
And maybe many have just become tired -- or bored -- with his bland humor. We have so many choices, from David Letterman's self-deprecating irreverance to Jimmy Kimmer's frat boy humor, or the biting political satire of the guys on Comedy Central and Bill Maher on HBO. No one dominates the field the way Carson did.
When Jay Leno signs off tonight, it will be the of an era... for him. For viewers, they will be sampling Jimmy Fallon when he takes the 11:35 spot in two weeks after the OIympics. He's not for everyone, so some may move over to Letterman or Kimmel or Arsenio. But I don't think there will be that big gap that was left when Johnny Carson said his last goodnight to us.
The big pre-Super Bowl story this year was about the weather in New York -- would the first outdoor Bowl played in a northern climate be played in single-digit temps or be snowed out? But New York delivered good football weather yesterday, and the previous few days were also a hit for the hundreds of thousands who flooded Times Square and Broadway for the NFL marketing extravaganza "Super Bowl Boulevard."
The ads did make news, but this year in a slightly different way. One predictable story angle was the ever-increasing cost -- as much as $4 million for a 30-second spot.
But the other angle, as Stuart Elliott pointed out in a New York Timesvideo report, is that many of the Super Bowl ads got huge viewership even before the opening kickoff yesterday at Met Life Stadium. Thanks to the combination of advance publicity in traditional media and added chatter on social media, some of the ads got millions of views days before the big game. And, those views probably weren't interrupted by the distractions of bathroom breaks and reaching for the chips and wings.
As Stuart says in the video clip, people who've seen the ads beforehand talked about "that Cadillac ad" rather than saying "a car ad." Releasing the ads in advance and putting them up on social media added visibility and brand awareness... a win-win.
Back in the days of Mad Men, creatives had 60 seconds or more on TV to sell their client's product.
Then, as the price of TV time jumped, just as attention spans shortened, the challenge was to sell in 30 seconds... or sometimes 15 seconds. And with the advent of remote control, agency folk had the added challenge of building and holding the viewer's interest for all of those 30 seconds. Otherwise... click.
These days, advertisers need to hook viewers even faster or they're lost to DVR skipping and an even newer challenge. With more viewing on the so-called second screen -- computers, laptops and mobile devices, advertising has moved onto those platforms where we watch video, the biggest being YouTube.
In some cases, if you want to watch something online, you have to pay the price of watching a pre-roll ad -- an ad that comes on before the thing you actually want to watch. Often, especially on the networks' on-demand channels, you can't fast-forward. So you watch the ad, just as if you were watching TV in "the old days."
Platforms like YouTube have ads on many of the videos they carry, but there's often with the option to skip the ad after 5 seconds. So advertisers now have 5 seconds to either draw you in so you'll watch the whole ad or, if that fails, to at least try to make an impression of what the product or service is and why you should want it.
He was far more than a folksinger. Pete Seeger has been called America's conscience, speaking out on issues that may not have been popular at the time but are now considered "the right thing."
In an interview several years ago with Charlie Rose, Seeger said it's often easier to say tough things in a song than in simple direct speech. He often used music to say tough things that needed to be said.
I grew up with his music, but never thought of him as more than a folksinger until I saw a PBS American Masters show about him. That's when I came to appreciate what he did for us -- not only penning so many memorable songs, but standing up and fighting for so many things we now hold dear.
It looks like business-to-business marketers are feeling optimistic these days. Forrester Research, as reported in Advertising Age, says B to B marketing budgets are expected to rise by 6 percent this year.
B to B marketing budgets had fallen considerably in 2009 and 2010, in the wake of the recession. But they came back up a bit over the past two years, although they're still a lot below pre-recession marketing spending levels.
On average, B to B marketers will allocate 4 percent of revenues to marketing, which is up from a low of 2.5 percent in 2012, but that's still quite a bit less the 5 - 10 percent of revenues that was spent on marketing pre-recession.
Trade shows will remain the biggest single line item in the typical B to B marketing budget, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total marketing spend. Thirty percent of those surveyed by Forrester plan to decrease trade show spending this year, while 21 percent will increase it.
Social media will be an increasing factor in B to B marketing, experts are saying, but it still remains a fraction of what consumer marketers will try in the social media arena.
LinkedIn seems to be the preferred social media platform for B to B, even as some experts are predicting MySpace will make a comeback. That might be true for companies in the music and entertainment arenas, but I don't see it happening for most B to B marketers. MySpace hasn't been on most people's radar for a few years.
Whichever marketing tools are utilized -- advertising, trade shows, PR, social media -- the pressure is on, obviously, to get more for less. Budgets may be growing a bit, but they're still tight.
Jack O'Dwyer, who's been covering the PR business for some 40 years with his O'Dwyer's Newsletter, is pushing for the NY chapter of PRSA to secede from the national Public Relations Society of America.
He cites as an example the Institute for PR, which left PRSA in 1989. And another precedent, he says, is Women in Communications/NY, which pulled out of PRSA in the late 1990s. NY WICI has thrived without the PRSA affiliation. It now has more than 2,100 members and its annual Matrix awards luncheon pulls in a lot of revenue and a lot of good publicity.
Jack says the National PRSA office takes some $200,000 in dues from the 800 NY area members and gives nothing in return "except a black eye to the industry." In many ways, he says, the National leaders seem to be anti-NY, and they haven't held a national PRSA Conference in New York for nearly ten years, even though the biggest concentration of PR people is, by far, in the New York area.
He recounts a long history of the National PRSA neglecting the NY Chapter. In 1992, National kicked the NY chapter offices out of its space at 33 Irving Place, saying it had no room. Now they have 22,000 sq. ft. downtown, yet the chapter has not been invited back. Without a place to meet, the chapter has its meetings in various bars around town.
Jack has criticized the national leaders for their own bad PR and their anti-press attitudes and actions, which have been an embarrassment to the industry. He has written the new leaders of the NY Chapter and now is publicly, through his newsletter, urging them to take a vote of the chapter membership to withdraw from the national PRSA.
I haven't been a member of PRSA for more nearly 30 years. I had given up on the group as just not being relevant for me as a NY agency pro. I felt – and still do – that the APR is a waste, and that National has been derelict for years in failing to promote the industry and not taking a leadership role -- or any role, in fact – in pushing for PR education and training in schools and on the job.
So I hope Jack is successful in his attempt to get the NY Chapter to secede. I bet that with the right local leaders it can do better on its own, both financially and in terms of serving its members and the industry.
The younger generations are constantly online, socializing mainly via social media, as they share every little details of their lives with friends and strangers online. And they don't read magazines and rarely watch TV. That's what we boomers and Gen Xers tend to think, if you put any faith in the stereotypes we constantly see when we think of Millennials (Generation Y) and the younger Generation Z.
(An aside here: This is the first I've seen of Gen Z, which is used to categorize the teen children of the Generation Xers, who are themselves the kids of the boomers. Got that? And I wonder, what will the next group be called after Gen Z? Do we start back at the beginning with Gen A?)
But back to those stereotypes...
Two separate studies, reported in MediaLife and Media Daily News this week, show those stereotypes may not be so accurate after all.
More than half of Millennials say they prefer to socialize offline, and 63 percent say they communicate face to face more than they do online. They're active on Facebook, but teens are not as interested. It's something teens have grown up with, so there's no "wow" factor for them, and it becomes even less cool as they see their parents and grandparents on FB.
Teens seem to be a bit more careful about posting personal information online, with just under half saying they share nothing or close to nothing personal online. They're also realizing how long personal information can stay online, and the get the importance of maintaining privacy. Looks like they've learned from the older generations' mistakes online.
Teens (Gen Z) are online a lot, up 37 percent last spring as compared to a year earlier. Online time for other groups, including Gen X, remained fairly steady. The study says much of the increase has come from the growth of tablets and smartphones, whose prices have been coming down and thus more accessible to younger people. Teen ownership of smartphones, for example, grew last year from 35 percent up to 55 percent.
The study had another finding that belies stereotypes. The younger generations, especially teens, like magazines. More than two-thirds of teens say they prefer printed magazines over digital e-zines. That's encouraging news for publishers.
One would think traditional TV is dying, if we believe all the articles we see. But more than half of the young people surveyed say they prefer watching TV or video on a traditional TV set, rather than on a laptop or the so-called second screens of mobile devices.