The digital revolution has touched all of us in one way or another. Baby boomers might remember the eight track tape player that you could slide in and out of your car. Years later the Sony Walkman was a giant step forward for music lovers on the go. Now we have the three ounce iPod and we can listen to what we want, when we want and where we want.
This freedom of choice now extends to watching TV too. If you miss an episode of Friday Night Lights or 24, no worries. These popular shows and many others are available on the network Web sites, on demand, for free. In the next five years there will be more people watching their favorite shows on the Internet than on their TV sets.
To understand the speed of the digital world, all you have to do is watch a teenager. Multi-tasking doesn’t even begin to describe it. After the computer is turned on, the speakers are fired up. A quick toggle over to a music play list kicks off the Web session. Then the away message is replaced by the “I’m back” message. A quick swivel on the chair and the TV is turned on, not too loud to overpower the music coming from the speakers. First stop online, MySpace to see what friends might be doing. As the teen pulls out their homework assignment they toggle over to You Tube to see a video a friend just recommended in an instant message. While they do their homework they are simultaneously having four or five online conversations with a variety of friends. Not to mention the simultaneous calls on the cell. Somehow the homework gets done but it makes you wonder how much learning is actually taking place.
It won’t be long before these teens are part of your brand’s target audience. Reaching them in the future with engaging creative may turn out to be the biggest marketing challenge yet.
Dan McKillen is president of the HealthDay news service