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The Interactive Advertising Bureau, celebrating its 15th anniversary, is holding its annual leadership meeting at La Costa in Carlsbad, California. The sold-out meeting, dubbed “Ecosystem 2.0,” has attracted 650 attendees, up 30 percent from last year: a further omen of recovery in the economy. Over the years, we have actively helped IAB develop its leadership tracks in local, so it is good to see the organization on very sound footing.

24/7 Real Media Chairman David Moore, in an opening keynote, noted that 12 percent of ad dollars are now online, but online share remains disproportionately low, considering that 25 percent of viewing time is spent online. The audience’s increasing fragmentation forces publishers to look for new revenue paths, he added.

The clearest path to recovery is to focus on building more premium content, even though it inevitably means that subscriber charges need to be added. “Totally free content is dead,” said Moore. But that isn’t the end of the world. In 1982, cable TV was beginning to add unique networks, subscriptions were $6 per month. Now they may be $100 a month.

If an “EZY pay” system were instituted for content at 10 cents per access, that would be like charging a CPM of $100,” Moore suggested. That would be far more lucrative than what most publishers are getting.

Moore also predicted that digital would be the No. 1 ad medium within the next five years, with online video advertising leading the way. But first, the industry has got to adopt real standards and simplify the workflow for agencies and concentrate on finding new ways to make commercials more interesting to the consumer.

“You can’t be afraid to be disruptive,” added Moore. “You need to be more aggressive. You have to interrupt the consumer experience with ads. But do it in a way that is interesting and targeted.”

IAB President Randall Rothenberg, in his opening comments, said the key to advertiser success was to focus on the year-after-year development of brand building, which is a synonymous effort with charging premium prices, i.e., BMW and Johnson & Johnson. “It is about being a part of, not apart from,” said Rothenberg.

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