The King of All (Streaming) Media


Today Howard Stern walks out of his Infinity Broadcasting studio and into the SIRIUS Satellite Radio building. It’s dusk for the terrestrial radio era, and dawn for a new form of subscriber-supported content.

The jury’s still out on just how successful this move will be. Just as interesting are Stern’s parallel media moves. His official/online presence has grown significantly over the last couple of years, and iN DEMAND currently airs “Howard Stern On Demand” for digital cable subscribers.

For a self-dubbed “king of all media,” Stern was curiously late to the interactive game. But he’s here in all his glory and is a force to be reckoned with.

Now Stern is really staking his claim in virtually every consumable outlet. There are lessons in that.

American media consumption has become so fragmented, it’s essential for advertisers who desire to reach the most fragmented audiences to stake their own claims within various media forms. And it’s essential for publishers and content distributors to provide advertising opportunities that provide intriguing, viable alternatives to TV and radio spots.

Though there’s a lot of experimenting in podcasting, streaming video, and mobile platforms, there’s still room for the big splash. We’re seeing creative media executions within Web site advertising, such as Sony’s one-day buy of and MSNBC’s similar buy on blogs, but we’ve yet to see an advertiser make effective use of every medium audiences consume. Since these audiences are so fragmented themselves, they can be targeted with niche multiple-medium advertising.

Soon, advertisers will have to learn to wield the power of mobile advertising to drive e-commerce; video games to increase awareness; podcasting to drive offline sales; and online video to drive tune-in, box-office, and music sales… all at the same time.

It sounds like a classic case of shotgun marketing, but the power of all these media can be harnessed. We know, because audiences do it every day.

Stern shaped his media empire to reach every one of his fans via TV, radio, VOD (define), and the Internet. The landscape is changing fast, with new forms of media being created every month it seems. Every responsible advertiser must be able to stay on top of it all. If it can’t be done in-house, a specialized agency must do it on your behalf.

At New York Advertising Week in September, David Verklin, CEO of Carat Americas, said, “We are now, ladies and gentlemen, advertising to the interested. We are no longer trying to bludgeon… with advertising.” This is especially relevant because of the number of different media formats currently being consumed. It would be very cost-prohibitive to bludgeon.

Just as audiences will follow Stern (physically and metaphorically) from Infinity to SIRIUS, they’ll follow him to every medium he chooses to use. Advertisers who currently advertise on his show should chase these audiences, wherever they are. Those advertisers who wish to lead any audience to a desired action would do well to follow Stern’s lead: take your targeted message to every medium.


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