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Sono Bugiarda

Rigging the Game or Having a Strategy?

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OOH …Here’s One Thing

 

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company

Sono bugiarda…aka I’m a believer

click here I’m a believer

I assume everyone else has watched the House of Gucci already?  Just finished it on the plane.  What a great movie.  “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”.  Man if we could bring that ethos to the outdoor world?!

Anyway, here is one more thing.  You ever carry around an article in your briefcase so long it begins to turn yellow?  Who the hell carries a briefcase these days Johnsen and more-so, who the hell prints an article?  Good point.  

That said, I finally got around to reading an article titled “How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood”.   How Netflix Reverse-Engineered Hollywood – The Atlantic

It’s worth the read.  While reading it (and perhaps reinforced by my binging on “Super Pumped”)…I had a batman moment.  As in Holy Shit Batman, data is the new plastics (reference: “The Graduate”).  Johnsen, what rock did you just crawl out from underneath?  After all, the industry has been talking data since TAB changed its name to Geopath, right?  Well, somewhat true, I’ll give you that (although at the risk of getting shot, I’d say there has been more talk than walk). But read this article and then tell me so far we have built a pea shooter and Netflix has built a FGM 148 Javelin RPG.  And if Netflix beat the Hollywood establishment while they were making the 30th remake of Batman because they had no idea what the market wanted, it got me thinking…we (ya you outdoor advertising executive) either get with the program…or someone else is going to own our plastic.  

IB Photography shutterstock

A couple things to contemplate.  Netflix’s incessant “need” to get smarter is driven by the motto of “Putting the right title in front of the right person at the right time.”  According to the article mentioned above, Netflix has the ability to “bucket” any and every movie into one of 76,897 different classifications.   Here is one to contemplate:  “Assassination Bounty-Hunter Secret Society Dramas Based on Books Set in Europe About Fame For Ages 8 to 10”.  So Johnsen, what’s the point?  Here there article sums it up in one sentence:

“And now, they have a terrific advantage in their efforts to produce their own content: Netflix has created a database of American cinematic predilections. The data can’t tell them how to make a TV show, but it can tell them what they should be making. When they create a show like House of Cards, they aren’t guessing at what people want.”

This type of business insight borders on rigging the game.  But anyone who is forward thinking has a strategy.  My guess is Hollywood is playing catch up, as the likes of fast food, fashion, finance and a host of other industries are feverishly writing “algos” to know more about their customers and continually refine their products.  

So where does this put us?  Hey, maybe we can tell you how many phones (whoops I meant people) passed by your sign, maybe how many were men and and how many women…and if we are having a super fancy day, we might even be able to tell you how many were between the ages of 18 and 34.   But when it’s July and the temperature is above 80, can we tell you how many customers prefer cold coffee over hot?  Can we tell you whether the viewer notices the pink-dominate copy to the orange?  Can we tell our advertising clients whether their ad copy has run too long or not long enough?  Does the traveling public react better to humorous copy in the morning or would they prefer a message that is more direct?  

Hey Johnsen, we just vend advertising space.  All that other shit, we leave it to the agencies and their brands. I get it. It’s a lot easier to sell it by the pound. But with the millions of rocket scientists coming out of college these days, who can write “algos” faster than most of us can fill out an RFP…isn’t it time to challenge ourselves to get out of the commodity business and move up the food chain?  

As a reminder, Netflix doesn’t ship many DVDs these days.  

jfco.com

Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC

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