Nearly all major demographics now reachable online: Barbuto

Nick Barbuto, Cossette Communications' director of digital solutions, is hoping that this year 'we can finally say goodbye to the term 'TV spot' and hello to the more pliable term 'audio/video execution.''

Today’s new year pundit – Nick Barbuto, Cossette Communications’ director of digital solutions – is excited about increasing GPS enablement of mobile devices. But he worries that geographical lockouts online are conferring ‘digital laggard’ status on Canadians.

MiC: What were some of the trends in ’07?

‘Almost 90% of Canadian Internet users now log on via high-speed connection. As a result, they spend more time and explore deeper and more broadly – turning the Internet into both an entertainment medium and a public utility, a pipeline for voice/video, etc. As marketers, we now have the ability to deliver almost an infinite amount of information, in rich and robust ways, to captive audiences.

‘The web is mass across the board – 70-95% of most major demographics can be reached online.

‘The rise of marketing buzzwords and our obsession to understand and take advantage of them. From ‘social marketing’ to ‘user-generated media,’ these buzzwords, and often vague definitions of them, are frequently the talk of the town – rightly or wrongly so.’

MiC: What surprised you last year?

‘That more advertisers didn’t take advantage of the broadband opportunity. In-banner video, pre-roll video and deep interactive Flash experiences should now be the norm for savvy marketers looking to stand out from the crowd and reap the rewards of the opportunities on the web. Maybe in ’08 we can finally say goodbye to the term ‘TV spot’ and hello to the less sexy but more pliable term ‘audio/video execution.”

MiC: What happened in ’07 that you applaud?

‘Many marketers began to look at Search/Online as a ‘first dollar spent’ opportunity.’

MiC: For ’08, what trends or issues are you spying?

‘The ubiquitous web is at our doorstep. Wireless technologies are beginning to blanket the Canadian landscape the way cellphone towers invaded in the ’90s. The price to access wireless is declining. The mobile devices that can pay off on expectations are starting to find their way into the hands of consumers.

‘And devices are becoming geographically aware. Ride a streetcar in downtown Toronto. Through recently implemented GPS units, each vehicle knows where it is. It won’t be long until every computer, every cellphone, every camera – every electronics device, period – will be GPS-enabled and ready to add another level of filtering for both consumers and marketers.’

MiC: What do you see as the next big looming threat?

‘Canadians are being locked out of a North American content marketplace. Try buying a song from Amazon’s DRM-free music offering from a Canadian IP. Try downloading the latest movie from Xbox 36 with your Canadian-located console. Try visiting to watch your favourite NBC show from your comfy Canadian chair.

‘Being a Canadian trying to consume content within the new media landscape is becoming a lesson in frustration. The net result is the potential to become digital laggards. Currently, the Canadian offerings simply do not compete at the same level.’