TV viewers among us had an interesting time this May sweeps. Did you see the guys in colorful executioners' masks woo the woman posing as Monica Lewinsky's best friend? How about the "The First Annual Miss Dog Beauty Pageant"? Or the search for America's next top model (positioned in bikinis atop New York skyscrapers on a particularly icy afternoon)? And of course there was "American Idol," the battle of 20-something crooners singing hits from before they were zygotes.
Normally, I'm an unabashed television watcher. I'll even suffer through episodes of "Fear Factor" with my 10-year-old as we both retch over contestants downing squishy larvae. This month, however, I found myself retreating to the computer room more frequently. Net content was better than TV's so-called "reality blitz."
Could TV's current content be driving more viewers online? Don't count on it. Nielsen data reveals 34.2 million people watched "American Idol"'s finale at any given moment, up from 22.8 million for the first "Idol" finale in September. But perhaps the playing field is becoming more interesting.
According to the Online Publishers Association's (OPA's) study of Internet dayparts, although TV clearly dominates as the media of choice, significant numbers of Web users are online in the evening (5-11 p.m.). They're online for entertainment more than for any other purpose (e.g., email or work-related activities). What's the second-largest user group during this time? Women, aged 25-54. They trail men 25-54 by just 4 percent Yes, women, the influencers of 80 percent of all purchases made in the U.S.
Seems to me those numbers are compelling enough to induce you to start beefing up your Web content. You might want to connect with those looking for a little more than America's sexiest Chihuahua.
Where do you start?
Granted, you'll never get all Americans to turn off their TVs. Plenty of us are far too addicted (and the networks love every minute of it). But given Internet users tend to be among the more highly educated and compensated, it's reasonable to attempt some healthy competition. Just keep your content intriguing. And please, keep the doggy beauty pageants off your site.
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Susan Solomon is the executive director of marketing and public relations for Memorial Health Services, a five-hospital health system in Southern California. In this capacity, she manages promotional activities for both traditional and new media. Susan is also a marketing communications instructor at the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Fullerton; and the University of California, Los Angeles.
March 19, 2014