Why it (begrudgingly) Makes Sense to Interrupt my Online Simpsons snippets

You may have heard that the up-and-coming advertising venue is on-line TV programing.Or you may have just been watching 30 Rock online (during your lunch break, natch) and noticed the mandatory commercials.

As Ian Paul points out in PC World, advertising on an Internet site such as Hulu, where viewers watch their favorite shows on their own schedule, can be more effective than traditional TV methods. Because viewers actively seek the show, they are more willing to sit through a commercial here and there, being unable to simply flip to another channel during the break.  Hulu is certainly aware of this advantage. The site currently charges more for an advertising spot during The Simpsons than Fox does. But there are some points other than higher costs that you should consider before you start buying into on-line TV advertising.

First, this venue is only for national (or international) corporations and markets. This may seem obvious, but a hometown ice cream company is better off advertising on local cable, where it can address a specific clientèle, than on Internet, which has an audience unlimited by geography and uninterested in a business that is.

Paul also points out that, while the online TV audience is broad, it is also small. Only about seven and a half million people watched the entire March Madness online this year; add ten million and you get the number of traditional TV-watchers for the single NCAA basketball tournament. This is a huge difference. The numbers may change in the next few years, especially as people learn to hook the Internet up to their new plasma and HD television sets, but for now the online TV market is a toddler.

Like with any advertising, before you buy a spot on Hulu or TV.com, know your audience. At the moment, it looks like traditional TV is the way to go for most of us. And don’t forget that consulting a PR  specialist could easily save you money and time when it comes to finding the marketing niche that’s right for you.

All quiet on the Western Tweet-front

Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook – these are names you find everywhere. Chances are, you’re using at least one of them. Unless you’re in the US Marines.

According to the Bulldog Reporter and Wired, the Marine Corps has officially banned the use of social media sites such as Twitter from its networks. The blockade will last a year, and authorities cite Internet security concerns as the primary reason. We can’t blame them for trying to be safe, but we do think the Marine Corps officials underestimate the benefits of social media.

Consider the countless deployed Marine troops who use Twitter or Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family back home. In addition to the lowered morale, we’d just be moving everyday communication into more shadowy forums, thereby opening more security concerns. By removing its presence from social media networks, the Marines higher-ups are alienating themselves from the core of their operation – the troops – not to mention introducing new issues of free speech.

Even the Pentagon sees the benefit of social media. The new “social media czar,” Price Floyd, has said that “we need to be everywhere men and women in uniform are and the public is.” Social media is also the key source of news from Iran, where other forms of media are greatly restricted. If anything, we should attack the Marine’s concerns at their source: we need to train the troops regarding discretion about location and operations, and then our main goal should be protecting free speech instead of limiting important methods of communication. The latter path is only ignoring a greater problem.