August 18, 2010

Narrowcasting

Fisher 500 AM/FM hi-fi receiver from 1959. Cou...
Narrowcasting has traditionally been understood as the dissemination of information (usually by radio or television) to a narrow audience, not to the general public. Some forms of narrowcasting involve directional signals or use of encryption. In the context of out-of-home advertising, this term often refers to the display of content on a digital signage network.

Narrowcasting involves aiming media messages at specific segments of the public defined by values, preferences, or demographic attributes. Also called niche marketing or target marketing. Narrowcasting is based on the idea that mass audiences do not exist.. An example of narrowcasting in this context is the installation of the Cabvision network in London's black cabs which shows limited pre-recorded television programmes interspersed with targeted advertising to taxicab passengers.

Narrowcasting is also sometimes applied to podcasting, since the audience for a podcast is often specific and sharply defined.

  • Narrowcasting is a form of broadcasting, if the latter term is understood as the "wide dissemination of content through mechanical or electronic media" as defined by Dr. Jonathan Sterne of McGill University.
Marketing experts are often interested in narrowcast media, since access to such content implies exposure to a specific and clearly defined prospective consumer audience.

Interactive narrowcasting
A new type of narrowcasting is evolving in the form of interactive narrowcasting. Interactive narrowcasting enables shoppers to influence the content displayed via narrowcasting. One way of doing this is via a touch screen. More and more systems are being introduced into the narrowcasting market.


  • User-driven content also provides an excellent medium for narrowcast marketing, provided the correct product is matched with the appropriate media.
These systems enable brands to communicate with their customers via a personal computer. The advantage of the majority of interactive narrowcasting projects is that they are more effective and less cost absorbing overtime.

There are also one-way, traditional media approaches to narrowcasting such as Internet Talk Radio. Unlike broadcast radio programs, these programs are focused on a specific (narrow) topic. For more information see also Podcasts, and Video blogs.
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