Monday, March 20, 2006

MEPRA - an exclusive club?

MEPRA sounds like a very essential association that has an important role to play in the industry. However, Sadri Barrage's suggestions of creating a standard pricing scheme for payment by the hour for PR consultation is borderline insane.

It is one thing to recommend that PR should be paid for by the hour and another to publish a 'rate card' for all members to follow. Speaking of members, does anyone know what it takes to be a member of MEPRA? Let's see. The applicant must provide:

1. Recommendation letters from 2 clients
2. Introduction letter from a MEPRA member

The first is understandable enough, but getting an introduction letter from a MEPRA member is a blatant attempt to keep MEPRA an exclusive elitist club that will not allow others to join. Wouldn't it make more sense to impose a fee on new applicants as opposed to this so-called introduction letter? At the very least, those fees could be put to use to further help MEPRA become an actual active member in the industry?

MEPRA should perhaps learn a bit from the IAA Congress.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why Showtime will fail with Digibox

The new Digibox (DVR) introduced by Showtime is not exactly revolutionary, but it certainly is for the Middle East region. The problem, as always, is advertisers cringing at the very idea of audiences fast-forwarding through their boring ads. Showtime says it's not a problem.

Well, it is. It's a big problem. But, every problem has a solution. This one has a very simple one that is surprisingly not discussed or mentioned anywhere.

Showtime needs to allow its technology to force full-play of commercials during playbacks, with certain parameters to apply (length of playback, etc.). Perhaps it should not allow forwarding through commercials (again, based on time, etc.)

This not only solves the problem of advertisers, but keeps the subscription costs of Showtime to a minimum. Perhaps Showtime can charge the customers based on the customer's ability to forward through ads or not.. or how many to forward through. At the end of the day, I doubt that Showtime's 400,000 subscribers foot the bill without advertisers.

Showtime, before introducing new technologies, think. Perhaps you should also have hired a consultant who understands your business requirements in addition to the technological possibilities.