This is Today. Today is Yesterday. And Tomorrow is also Today.
It’s official. Our new normal is no longer new. It’s just normal. If you have an internet connection, or cable television, you have heard those words more in the past few months than your own name. “The New Normal” will be the Time Magazine “Person of the Year” in 2020. This phrase is tossed around relative to any change, big or small. It is a way to talk about how days don’t matter anymore. Each one is the same as the last. It’s become an elongated euphemism when a quiet sigh would have sufficed. I am as guilty of it as anyone. I know I used it in this newsletter. I couldn’t help it. I was young then and didn’t know better.
The biggest problem with the phrase isn’t just the quiet resignation it seems to inspire but because it paints over what a grand time of experimentation we are living in. There will never be another time in our lives where so many changes can be made without the same reverberations. You can change, seemingly at will, where you live and how you work. Those are two massive factors in your life. Place and workplace. Now, folks just seem to be picking up and heading out to the suburbs, the mountains, beaches, Palm Springs – anywhere with decent wifi. It’s still too early to know if these changes are just an aberration or part of a longer trend that will persist once COVID blows over. But it doesn’t really matter or help to speculate. Any change this big is an opportunity.
So if you find yourself feeling like you are in one of those unfortunate time-loop situations you have heard about, never has there been a better time to break out of it by making some big new changes. It’s the most normal thing you could do right now.
Hope you are Staying Safe, Healthy, and Happy.
EVP, Global Marketplace Development
Q3 Power Rankings
We are so serious about these power rankings, we brought Jeff Chris down from Indiana to mix them professionally.
- “Non-profit-Charities” also includes political advertising, so this will be a category we break down more in future newsletters as election spending picks up in the US.
- Travel is eeking its way back, driven by resorts and attractions no doubt trying to let people know they are open for business.
- CPG is still doing well, led by pharma and diet, and closely followed by tobacco and alcohol. I love the symmetry. Will you be in COVID shape or have a COVID shape when this is over?
- Retail-Consumer Electronics is a hard driver – does this mean Nintendo Switches are back in stock?
- A lot of gambling money is coming online. It’s a good bet for pubs. More on that below.
The Revolution Will be Streamed for Free (with Ads) or for $11.99 (without Ads)
Cord-cutting was once described as an overt act — something willful and determined that signaled liberation. The viewer was breaking away from a regionally imposed monopoly to paid TV access. At first these folks felt like pioneers. How will you get your local news? What about HBO? And gasp, how will you watch sports? But with NBC and Warner Media joining the streaming wars in the past 30 days, cord-cutting seems far less revolutionary. It’s just inevitable. The irony is that at this rate, fragmentation will create the same kind of pricing confusion and frustration as cable bills did prior. The only thing I know for sure is that individual subscriptions will become untenable and more ad-supported models will need to be the primary driver of revenue. I don’t even say that out of naked self interest (Ad Tech, ya know) but as someone juggling 3 or 4 different services. If there was a way to consolidate and have an ad experience that felt organic to the platform, I would gladly tune in. I don’t think where we are is where we will be in a few years time. There is a lot of room for improvement.
But don’t expect it from Quibi. Oh, Quibi…
However, there is some sunshine and rainbows. Not too shabby of a debut for HBO Max.
A Good Bet
With UFC, Premier League, MLB, NBA (scrimmages) and WNBA now hosting games, sports are back. (Though with MLB going sans-bubble, this might be the shortest season on record as its roll out already has some challenges). While this will be a much needed distraction for many, it is also a lucrative opportunity for Publishers. Sports betting is a rapidly expanding category as it becomes legal across many parts of the US. It has also been fairly strong during COVID. It might be a time to evaluate any category blocks.
This is the second newsletter since switching from weekly to twice a month. So this is the new schedule. Hopefully it feels normal by now. Boom. Just roasted myself. If there is data or insights you would like to see in future newsletters, don’t hesitate to send us a note. Enjoy the summer while it’s here. Q4 is just around the corner.
This book had a big impact on me in college. It was here I learned about some of the most important freedom fighters of the civil rights movement. Chief among them: C.T. Vivian and John Lewis.
See here for all of Q3’s insights and trends.