July 18th, 2015
In the early ’80s, George Lois created one of the most memorable ad campaigns of all time: I Want My MTV. He inaugurated the TV music video and proved that strong branding rules.
Now, 33 years later, I want my PTV: personal TV.
What is PTV? TV delivered to me where I want it, how I want it, when I want it. Period. Do I care about how it gets to me or from what source? Not a whit.
I live on a street with few houses. It isn’t economic for cable and fiber providers to serve us. So, for TV, I have a satellite dish. Do I care about the transport medium? Of course not. I’d switch in a heartbeat to anything I deem a better solution.
I care about value, the end — not the means to that end. I want my PTV.
Propensity to Perplex
Do vendors talk about PTV? No, they and their evangelists push “streaming” and “OTT” — pure geekspeak — intended to connote videos of all sorts sent to customers’ PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
Technically speaking, streaming is the realtime electronic transport of voice or data, from sender to receiver, through any medium: air, satellite, cable, fiber, or copper wire. Examples of streaming: old-fashioned radio/TV, cable radio/TV, satellite radio/TV, and Internet radio/TV.
Why, then, do technocrats say streaming to signify only Internet-delivered audio and video? Why are they talking technojargon instead of customer lingo?
Habit. It’s what they do. Call it a propensity to perplex, narcissism, or inside baseball. Make no mistake: their inward, insular focus is on technology — not on the customer, not on value.
TV Is Here to Stay
Everybody understands what a TV is. Embrace it. TV is here to stay. The options for feeding it information and letting customers control it have expanded. But, no single option will or should dictate its form or how it’s branded.
Newsflash: Branding is about the user’s desire for and experience with a product’s value and benefits, not the composition or conveyance of that product.
Often, I don’t mind watching TV on my iPhone, depending on the content, the duration, and my location. But, I will watch sports and movies only on the big screen, with my booming subwoofer enhancing my experience. I want my PTV.
Shipments of large-screen TVs are on the rise, as Best Buy recently demonstrated. Carl Icahn predicts Apple will ship 10M ultra-HD TVs in 2016. According to AdWeek, TV is still the most-effective advertising medium.
Yet, some people believe wall-mounted TVs will become museum relics, that cable is dead, that we will become a nation of cordcutters.
Why? Because those magical Millennials, around whom all of life must revolve, supposedly don’t watch TV. They also don’t drive cars — because they’re bubble-wrapped and broke. As they mature (we hope) and shed their college debt, however, they’ll drive cars, buy homes, and watch large-screen TVs — like grownups.
Final point: Have you been to remote areas like Yosemite National Park or Big Sur, bereft of cell connectivity? The smartphone is useless in many places. This cordcutter-centric attitude doesn’t work for PTV, a customer-oriented offering.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Understand what’s really going on with customers before making, or following, major trend predictions. Often by implementing adjustments, like better pricing and customer service — instead of wholesale changes — you can satisfy a lot of patrons and engender their loyalty.
Communicate with customers in their language, not your geekspeak.
Everybody gets TV. Embrace it. Enough with the streaming, OTT, and any other jargon du jour your engineers devise.
Strong branding rules! To reiterate: Branding is about the user’s desire for and experience with a product’s value and benefits, not the composition or conveyance of that product.
Don’t blindly cave every time Millennials squawk. They’re part of the mix but not the whole mix. The rest of us are still here and still paying.
I want my PTV. Make it worth my while. Remember: It’s about me, not your ever-changing technology.
POSTSCRIPT #1: Fortune Magazine: Why Cordcutting Is a Myth
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.