Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fail: Direct TV ads on Hulu

Advertising your offline product online, using an online alternative to your product makes no sense. While watching TV on Hulu, the studio backed online video site who's slogan is Watch your favorites. Anytime. For free, I saw a commercial for Direct TV, the satellite television provider. If I'm already choosing to watch TV online, and not with cable, satellite or through the air, then why would I have any interest in subscribing to a satellite TV service?

I wouldn't. A dish would be installed at my house, so I couldn't watch other places, like I can with Hulu or dozens of other online video sites. So if I'm already using a service that allows me to watch anywhere, and anytime, and it's free, why would I be interested in paying to have to stay in one place, and unless I used a DVR or VCR, watch on their schedule? Again, I wouldn't be interested.

Am I, and the rest of Hulu's audience, really such voracious consumers of video content that I'll sign up to pay Direct TV every month for something I can get for free and more flexibly from the company I'm already using (Hulu)? Did I care about high resolution very much when I was watching if I'm watching on Hulu? Is there any good reason to fail to make an ad relevant to the viewer when then technology exists to match ads by geography, context and other factors (both Google and Facebook are making most of their money doing just that)? Again, no, no and no.

I think there are other reasons this ad appeared many times during the show.

I think this ad was possibly thrown in as a "freebie" during the sale of more traditional TV commercials. However, this "freebie" may be worthless to Direct TV in terms of getting more subscribers. Being able to say "we're advertising on online television too" won't help the stock holders' investment grow no matter how good it might sound in an annual report. Someone might even blog about how mismatched Direct TV's media buying is to the marketplace ;-).

This matters because once Screen Actors Guild negotiations are done, all the actors will likely have joined the writers and directors in being owed money when their work is used online. Like in a commercial. Even if the ad makes the advertiser no money and makes the advertiser look sloppy.

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