A Giant Leap for TV

Whoever said, "I know half of my advertising works, I just don't know which half," did not know at the time where Internet advertising would be today and where TV advertising will be tomorrow. Putting the hot cookie deletion issue aside for a moment, our ability to track from investment to fulfillment with online media is superb, at least in comparison to traditional media.

Over the last decade, online has been the star pupil in the search for trackable placements. We have always said, "Gee, wouldn't it be great if we could have the same insight into our TV media investment as we do online? Wouldn't it be great if we could see user behavior on television with the same detail that we do online?" But now, through the introduction of advertising with video-on-demand (VOD), that transformation is occurring. The gap in trackable metrics between online and TV has finally begun to shrink.

Because VOD ads are digitally inserted into the content when a program is called up by the viewer, the cable box is able to collect user behavior for that ad much like the current cookie-based system does for online media. Thus, it was not too surprising a month ago when Atlas DMT (a third-party ad server) in partnership with SeaChange (a VOD solution provider to cable networks) announced they had developed a platform for tracking and reporting the data collected for VOD ad campaigns. The synergies between the data possibilities for online and VOD created just the opportunity that Atlas was looking for to expand its scope beyond the Internet.

What might a VOD reporting platform like Atlas' actually report on? Agencies will have to kick the tires on the system, so to speak, but the potential is there to answer some of the burning questions that have lingered around television advertising for some time: What are the actual reach and frequency figures? What are the actual ad skipping rates and view times? What are the actual conversion rates for requests for more information? What are the campaign's actual geographic and demographic deliveries? All of these questions sound so familiar to us working in the online space, because we have to answer them everyday for clients that expect absolute accuracy in reporting. In the not so distant future, the television medium, starting with cable VOD, will have access to actual results that will likely mirror the level of detail that we enjoy online.

In the industry, we talk a lot about convergence occurring across the different media channels. For example, we can watch television clips on our cell phones and listen to radio online. However, right now, we are seeing a different form of convergence occur. We are beginning to see advertising capabilities merge as the data collected in one channel looks more and more like the data collected in another. This is an exciting moment for those of us in the online space, as up to this point we have operated almost like a different discipline than the traditional folks. However, all that may change as our capabilities converge.

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