Global Tribes

The internet resulted in a resurgence for the concept of a 'Global Village', first coined by the great Canadian thinker and erstwhile great grandfather of the internet, Marshall McLuhan.

But, of course, within any village your find cliques and clubs and groups that develop a stronger bond and affinity.

To date, most media has focused on geographical and demographic profiling of their consumers, but the development in online television is resulting in a new phenomenon, the growth of Global Tribes.

You no longer have to be based in the same clubhouse to share your passion with other enthusiasts around the world. Community sites such as MySpace spawned this phenomenon, and narrowcasting channels are now capitalising on this trend to build globally distributed audiences for a particular community, subject or theme.

For advertisers, Global Tribes should be a Godsend. They can now profile viewers with much less wastage. If you want to reach surfers with your new 4 x 4, you can do this effectively.

However, there is a problem. Multinationals have based their advertising geographically for so long that they no longer have any global budgets. It's therefore a real challenge for operators of narrowcasting channels to sell the concept of Global Tribes, and in the meantime the advertisers continue to waste large amounts of their marketing spend on viewers who have no intention of buying their product, but happened to fall within the geographic demography.

Expect a serious shift amongst the larger brands towards more targeting of these Global Tribes in the not too distant future.