May 21, 2015

Newfronts and Upfronts Have One Thing In Common-Data

If there was one common theme from this month’s Upfront and Newfront presentations, it is that the other guys have no idea what they’re doing. That was particularly true when it came to advertising, the raison d’etre of both events.
The MCNs and other online video providers who make up the Newfronts kept hammering home how avidly people watch commercials on their sites, given that they can’t fast forward through them or run to the kitchen for a snack. The networks, on the other hand, spent much of the Upfronts talking about fraud and “viewability,” the implication being that people may not like their 4- minute commercial pods, but at least they’re actually seeing them.

What both sides need to realize is that, by focusing on the other’s negatives, they are only hurting themselves. They’d do much better to point out the things they have in common, as those are far more valuable to advertisers.
The value of video advertising, no matter where it runs, is engagement. It’s an immersive way for a brand to get its message across and it works well to establish an image for the brand (pitching a broad idea – e.g., Pepsi means youth, Nike means sports – versus selling a specific product or service.)

The key to understanding the effectiveness of video advertising lies in collecting the right data, which is why that word was front-and-center during presentations at both the Upfronts and Newfronts. The more we know about who is watching an ad – as well as when, where, why, and what action they took – the better equipped we are to create more effective, more engaging advertising.

Online video has an advantage in this regard in that brands have access to all manner of data about their spots. If nothing else, the Internet is measured in just about every way imaginable. Thanks to OTT TV, television is now quickly catching up.

The fact that OTT TV viewing is exploding further cements the similarities between online video and TV. According to the latest Freewheel Video Monetization Report, OTT ad views on streaming devices are up 380% year-over-year. This number is significant in that over 90% of the programming viewed on streaming devices is not just long-form content (20+ minutes) but overwhelmingly ‘premium’ video (aka network programming or similar). Rapid growth in the online consumption of made-for-TV content means the networks will soon be able to measure their content as fully and accurately as online video sites do now (Nielsen is slated to begin measuring video ads on Roku this summer). Soon networks will have even more data to draw from, and can thus begin to derive greater value from it.

The value of such data to a network is fourfold. It can (a) help with audience growth and retention, (b) facilitate better programming decisions, (c) spur the creation of more compelling ad environments via targeting, and (d) improve discovery and recommendations, thus moving viewers more effectively from show to show.
Having access to such granular viewing data is a very powerful asset, and anyone who makes video programming should have a strategy in place in order to take advantage of it. This is one instance where knowledge really is power, regardless of whether your video programming is seen on an iPhone or a 108-inch 4K TV set.

Stick with TDG and stay ahead of the curve.

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