September 25th, 2006

The State of OMMA: Making It Up As We Go Along

by

Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gets my vote for most honest, “let’s cut out the bullshit” keynote speech. Speaking at the OMMA Conference in New York, Rishad admitted what most media and advertising stalwarts are deeply afraid of conceding: we’re just making this shit up (see his keynote here).

The world of media, marketing, and advertising is undergoing such rapid change that anyone who claims to have any visibility beyond the next three weeks is either kidding themselves or underestimating all of the game changing announcements that are just around the corner or both. Rishad pointed to the last three weeks of announcements: NBBC, Apples’ iTV, Windows Live, Amazon’s Unbox, and Redstone’s ousting of Viacom’s Tom Freston.

One of Rishad’s best riffs was on getting rid of the “crap” language that we use:

Please let’s talk about people and not consumer or user.

Taget Audience: Do I need to be hunted?

360 Sourround: Don’t you feel trapped when people talk about 360 marketing?

User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict?

Consumer: I create, I retransmit, I edit, I share — I’m not defined by your stupid brand.

People, that’s what we need to think about.

People, person, human.

Treat me as a person, not some user, consumer, addict, shallow person defined by your brand or some other form of low life.

Get rid of the crap language that we use because it makes no sense. You know it and I know it, yet we get taken for a ride. But I’m calling it like it is.

Ross Levinsohn of Fox Interactive Media gave a much more predictable uber-confident speech, bragging about the size of his online media company — #2 behind Yahoo. But Ross still doesn’t know how they are going to scale the profits. Donna Bogatin, my favorite iconoclast, was on hand during Q&A:

During the Q & A, however, I asked Levinsohn how user-generated content could be “king” for FIM as his 100 million MySpace friends are only commanding “junk” CPMs. I pointed out that I had written about one particular MySpace friend–Sexxy Sangria–and noted that even Google shows little interested in trying to sell ads against her very friendly profile.

Levinsohn replied that even at low CPMs there is a great value in an aggregated billions of impressions. He also expressed enthusiasm for “immersing” professionally produced content within the viral MySpace experience.

It’s worth watching Ross’ keynote just to see him make up his answer to Donna’s question.

Donna also caught NBC Universal’s Beth Comstock unable to make up an answer to that pesky “how do we make money” question:

Does NBC get paid from YouTube for the right to use its copyright content?
Does YouTube get paid for the promotions it does for NBC?

Comstock replied that the NBC-YouTube arrangement is purely a “promotional” one, no money changes hands between the two companies.

I indicated that besides NBC, YouTube has a “deal” with Warner Music; I posited that perhaps the reason Universal Music has not been able to arrange a “deal” with YouTube is that it seeks tangible money for its content rather than intangible exposure.

Comstock, of course, was unable to comment.

There’s no shame in not having the answer. Nobody’s got the answer yet. But admitting that you’re just making it up is a critical step in actually figuring it out.

I know there are a number of companies trying to figure out how to effectively monetize those billions of “crap” pages of content on MySpace (and other social media sites) — I wouldn’t be surprised to see that innovation come from outside FIM.

As Rishad pointed out, when someone hands him shit, he says, great, it’s fertilizer. There’s never been a more fertile time for innovation in media, marketing, and advertising.

To plow the field and avoid the ditch (to torture the metaphor) beware, at one extreme, of anyone who claims to have it all figured it out, and at the other, of anyone who says, don’t worry, we’ll figure out how to make money later.

Comments (17 Responses so far)

  1. At OMMA, Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gave a speech titled Throw out your plans, get rid of the crap, and enjoy the ride. The ride being on the cluetrain. Scott Karp summarizes the speech: Please let’s talk about people and not consumer or user. Taget Audience: Do I need to be hunted? 360 Sourround: Don’t you feel trapped when people talk about 360 marketing? User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict?

  2. Friday, during the print-media day of the conference, when NYT editor Bill Keller said, “I’m a chew toy for the left and the right.” You can see it here on his blog. Later… Bonus: At the much slicker OMMA conference, Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 reports that keynoter Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, called out the language we hear from media execs: User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict? Consumer: I create, I retransmit, I edit, I share — I’m not defined by your stupid

  3. A refreshing media exec tells it like it is Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, is remarkably candid about not having all the answers. Not having answers is unfamiliar territory for media companies, but they’re going to have to get used to experimenting, failing, and learning like many

  4. of media and technology. Scott is one of the most important sources of analysis in my news feed, because he provides the unvarnished truth about how media and advertising models are shifting, with no hindrances from fear or legacy. Which explains Scott’s attention to Rishad Tobaccowala at the OMMA conference today: Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gets my vote for most honest, “let’s cut out the bullshit” keynote speech. Speaking at the OMMA Conference

  5. How about a consumer, or a subscriber, or a customer? Do you ever get tired of all the labels people slap on you when you’re not looking? Denuo’s Rishad Tobaccowala, speaking at OMMA in New York, cuts through the jargon with an important reminder (via Scott Karp): Please let’s talk about people and not consumer or user. Taget Audience: Do I need to be hunted? 360 Sourround: Don’t you feel trapped when people talk about 360 marketing? User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict?

  6. [IMG] At OMMA, Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gave a speech titled Throw out your plans, get rid of the crap, and enjoy the ride. The ride being on the cluetrain. Scott Karp summarizes the speech: Please let’s talk about people and not consumer or user.Taget Audience: Do I need to be hunted?360 Sourround: Don’t you feel trapped when people talk about 360 marketing?User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict?

  7. At OMMA, Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gave a speech titled Throw out your plans, get rid of the crap, and enjoy the ride. The ride being on the cluetrain. Scott Karp summarizes the speech: Please let’s talk about people and not consumer or user. Taget Audience: Do I need to be hunted? 360 Sourround: Don’t you feel trapped when people talk about 360 marketing? User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict?

  8. [...] Excellent post at Publishing 2.0: “Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gets my vote for most honest, “let’s cut out the bullshit” keynote speech. Speaking at the OMMA Conference in New York, Rishad admitted what most media and advertising stalwarts are deeply afraid of conceding: we’re just making this shit up (see his keynote here).“ [...]

  9. Marketing has always been made up as it goes along. There’s hardly been an idea with genuine value since Trout and Ries’ positioning. The rest is touchy, feely claptrap.

    The great thing about search marketing – SEO or Pay per click – is that the results are directly measurable. Most marketing was poor but it got away with it because of the lack of measurability.

  10. [...] Others are blogging about the conference, too. I especially like Publishing 2.0’s commentary on the keynote speech. Another from Engagement by Engagement regarding the measurement of engagement from Media Metrix. And… coverage of the Fox Interactive Media keynote. [...]

  11. Making it up as you go along is the fun part.

  12. [...] Thanks to Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 for the link. Posted by James Sherrett on 09/27 at 02:35 PM Elsewhere • (0) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink [...]

  13. [...] Later… Bonus: At the much slicker OMMA conference, Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 reports that keynoter Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, called out the language we hear from media execs: User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict? [...]

  14. [...] Kudos to Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo for challenging the OMMA marketing audience to focus on language and call it like it is.  Scott Karp summarizes  "One of Rishad’s best riffs [is on] getting rid of the “crap” language that we use.  [...]

  15. [...] Publishing Dec 27 at 8:53 pm by Scott Karp -Perhaps the most odious buzzword to emerge from the second coming of the web is “user-generated content” — my objection to this term is not just aesthetic (although it’s quite an ugly term). My real problem with user-generated content is the notion of a “user.” Rishad Tobaccowala of Denuo highlighted the unfortunate double meaning in his keynote at OMMA last fall: User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict? [...]

  16. [...] example is Rishad Tobaccowala in his keynote at OMMA who said: “User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin [...]

  17. [...] marketing is happening today, with people marketing to themselves. Then consider AdHack. Thanks to Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 for the [...]

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