An analyst at Wall Street watchdog Motley Fool based in Florida said that a pricy new restaurant opened near him, and payment vouchers were being offered online that offered a chance to sample its wares for half price. This type of trendy internet service has been in the forefront of the news thanks to Groupon and LivingSocial, but the analyst said in this case, the site was owned and operated by Clear Channel.
The Fool’s Rick Aristotle Munarriz says he’s from Coral Gables (Miami market), and that the Clear Channel site offering the vouchers was so popular and well-known that they were all gone before he had a chance to click his own way to a discount meal.
He noted that Clear Channel had a perfect set-up to run a killer social application. It has a large local audience, with all kinds of different people listening in to one or another of its stations, combined with a local sales force with a very large list of business contacts. He said that the company, along with just about every other broadcaster, simply failed to put digital two and two together and blew an opportunity to corner this market before new media start-ups claimed it.
“Why didn’t they connect the dots?” asked Munarriz. “They had the attention of foodies and the marketing dollars of local establishments? Why was it Groupon that reportedly smoked out a $6 billion offer from Google last month, when that’s more than both AOL and IAC combined?”
Munarriz pointed out the folly of dwelling on missed opportunities and said that broadcasters should be moving into the social couponing space with all due haste. He noted that CBS, with major market television and radio properties, is doing just that via its CBSLocal.com.
He says CBS offers features that Groupon doesn’t. For example, with a smaller volume of deals to offer at this point, the deals tend to be available longer, meaning you don’t have to be right there at the point of release to get in on an offer. Further, he said that CBS often announces upcoming deals before they go live, allowing potential customers the luxury of planning ahead a bit.
Broadcasters may have failed to connect the dots at the onset of the digital age, but Munarriz concludes that the dots are still there for the connecting.
RBR-TVBR observation: We’ve been pounding the need for broadcasters to maximize utility of their internet assets for several years now – as publishers, we went down that road some time ago. The Fool puts forth bad news and good news here. The bad news: Broadcasters missed a chance to be first business in. The good news: It’s not too late to get in, and in a big way. Go for it!