"Reach consumers where they are, not where you want them to be," said Allaire, during a keynote address at Media magazine's Outfront conference in New York. It's a "fragment or be fragmented" world and traditional media players are catching on--whether it's Scripps, with its announced plans for 30 channels or MTV Digital, with plans for 300.
Open distribution and "self-service models" where content can be created and distributed with no cost of entry are leading to an explosion of new programming outlets and niche networks because anyone can create a TV network today--production companies, publishers, or consumers.
Allaire pointed to examples such as Better Homes & Garden's Better.tv, the broadband channel of Hachette's Elle.com, and the video channel of WSJ.com.
The idea, says Allaire, should be some "blended distribution strategy" that includes a branded content site, strategic syndication to affiliate sites, and viral distribution through widgets or players such as Brightcove's that "empower the consumer to distribute it for you." For advertisers, you're looking at extending reach by 50%, 60%, 70% or 80%, he said.
Advertising must be bound to content in this world, Allaire said, and because consumers are more likely to be "snacking"--or clicking around and sampling multiple videos to see which they want to sit through--the existing standard 15-second pre-roll with banner is a complete turnoff, as it forces repeated viewing with a resulting negative effect.
He predicted a move to time-based models where advertising is served not after every clip, but after a certain duration of viewing.
A tipping point is nearing, Allaire predicted--where longer-length videos of 10, 12, 30 or 60 minutes will be more of a norm and the economics of the pre-roll model will not work, thereby forcing more user-friendly innovation.
A shortage of usable inventory at this time leads media buyers to take an entire 60-day schedule, yet more often than not using the same video creative--leading to the pervasive problem of "creative fatigue," Allaire said. "This heavy rotation limits value to the end user, the marketer and the publisher."
Allaire proposed a new model consisting of a three-second pre-roll "brought to you by" sponsorship unit followed by a 10-second midroll offering a call to action that when clicked, pauses the video, and takes over the screen--allowing for much more interactivity and true consumer engagement. Then some sponsorship unit would run at the end of the program. (Web TV startup Joost yesterday announced it will employ some of those very formats.)
Branded marketing content can also be syndicated, Allaire noted. He pointed to DuPont's program created with Denuo in which a blogger was hired to write science stories. Working with Federated Media, this high-quality content was embedded in IAB standard units and placed within science-related sites.
Media buying in this new world will eventually lead to format agnostic platforms and marketplaces. "This is Google's vision, and it's a compelling one," Allaire said.