Digitally advanced UK opens doors for marketers

Closing the year on a high note, media watchdog Ofcom yesterday gave digital marketers the perfect Christmas present with the news that the UK is officially one of the world’s most advanced countries when it comes to digital communications.

Yesterday’s report revealed that UK consumers are continuing to embrace their digital communications and are generally paying less for them than they did 12 months ago. As a country, we make the third highest volume of landline calls in the world and enjoy the lowest mobile and broadband prices. We’re also watching more TV, though not as much as some of our continental partners, and we’re the second highest texting nation in world.

It’s the perfect multi-tasking environment for digital marketers to look to tap into, if you’re not already, of course.

Perhaps one very savvy example of how this can boost interest past an original run is ITV’s online monetisation of The X Factor.

After a record 19 million tuned into the show’s final. The broadcaster says ITV.com’s The X Factor page also saw a boost of 22% in page views to 95 million and unique users shot up 77% to average 821,000 across the series.

Video views of the series topped 30.5m, up 61% on last year. Across the past weekend, the site saw 1.9m clip views, up 18% year on year. On the site itself, ITV secured sponsorship from TalkTalk and Kleenex, whilst helping to maintain interest in its flagship weekend programme.

Indeed, his success has seen ITV go on to launch an ITV Player Facebook app, to be released in time for Christmas.

And Simon Fuller, owner of American Idol, which Cowell still judges on, is now ready to jump onto the bandwagon – on a global basis, as Hulu gets ready to launch internationally next year.

The concept for If I Can Dream will see online involvement from start to finish, and major brands including Ford and Pepsi backing it all the way.

It’s clear that the advances that Ofcom talks about in its latest reports are already here. Throughout the year, Marketing Week has heard from senior marketers at some of the biggest brands highlight the importance that digital consumer-centricity has on their brand.

Industry recognition of a loss of control and the need for greater interaction is widespread and the advances in the industry continue to surprise observers, as they accelerate at a rapid pace.

What these shows, and to a certain extent, the efforts the publishing world is putting into digital marketing, is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Integration has been, and will continue to be key in 2010.

The challenge for marketers will be to remind brands of these as they await news on the economic recovery – be it through apps, microsites, virals, display, search or even the ever popular social media.

Seasons Greetings to you all. Here’s to an exciting and successful 2010.

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