iTunes Gives Nets a Ratings Bump…

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Here’s as clear as correlation as any between the iPod economy and its potential to impact the media landscape.

Both NBC and ABC saw a prime time ratings boost for the shows they sell on iTunes. (More from TV Week)

The takeaway here is that iTunes is going to become the single most important gateway for online rich media content in the coming months and years – if it isn’t already. With 14 million iPods sold last quarter, companies are going to race to make iTunes the focal point of their ad campaigns. Yes, I am saying that Apple is going to be more important to advertising and video overall than AOL, Yahoo or Google. This is because they own and operate the single most important timeshifting tool (the iPod) and not just the distribution channel (iTunes).

We’ll see marketers launch video and audio podcasts and jockey for position for a coveted a top slot on the iTunes podcasting channel. They will tease their podcasts in 30 second spots and even launch branded entertainment serials that stream via RSS. The iTunes economy is going to do more than create a new distribution channel for ads. It’s going to impact PR and radio/TV journalism as well.

Right now companies and their PR agencies pay huge fees to distribute canned video to every TV station in the country via satellite. (Many TV stations slice and dice these into their reports or even run them verbatim.) If I were running a big satellite feed operation now, I’d be nervous. As the pipes we all have access to get wider and iTunes handles more video, I can see both video news releases (VNRs) and audio news releases (ANRs) feeds going the iTunes route as well. This movement will start with ANRs because the file sizes and bandwidth requirements are small. The days of iTunes delivered or RSS feed streams of VNRs are coming and fast.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

iTunes Gives Nets a Ratings Bump…
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