VivaKi Takes Plunge, Pools Resources With CBS, Hulu, Microsoft, Others For New Video Ad Format
Advertisers participating in the initiative - all clients of Publicis agencies - include Allstate, Applebee's, Capital One, Nestle, Purina and a couple that have not been disclosed, who will get rights to purchase the first new inventory that will be made available with the new format, but otherwise, the goal is to simply improve the effectiveness of online advertising for the industry, and the quality of the viewing experience for consumers.
"We were kind of frustrated by the lack of innovation in video whether it be VOD, or online video, and the fact that it all is basically pre-roll, which is an old TV model," Curt Hecht, the head of VivaKi's Nerve Center tells Online Media Daily. "At the end of the day, I don't think the consumer perspective was ever taken into consideration when that model was created."
Hecht says the pool ultimately plans to create other "lanes," and is exploring research and development projects that would partner with the rest of the industry to develop better standards for video search, social media, mobile advertising, and other rapidly emerging media platforms.
"Basically, the industry has been attacking these things by throwing some shiny, blinky things at the problem without any real answers," Hecht says, adding that the consumer perspective will be paramount in everything the Pool develops, but that the end goal is to figure out better ways for the industry to "monetize" the advertising potential of reaching consumers via the new formats.
The online video collaborative actually began as an initiative inside Publicis' Starcom unit, and was conceived by Tracey Scheppach, senior vice president-video innovation director at the agency, who will jointly head the project with Hecht.
The project begins next week with a series of consumer focus group studies around the country that will narrow the five new video ad formats down to a short list of two, which will then become the focus of some serious "quantitative" research to pick one that will become the new industry standard.
Hecht declined to disclose the nature of the new formats for a variety of reasons, but says the R&D is on track to deliver the new standard by the fourth quarter of this year.
He says VivaKi is not concerned about the reluctance of other agencies to embrace a "not-invented-here-first" concept, because the initiative will be self-fulfilling, creating a new format that works for better for everyone, and which will become a preferred option in the online video "sales channel."
He says the advantage for the clients of Publicis agencies will be their "rights to incumbency," meaning they will have a first crack at buying options for the new ad inventory before it is made available to the rest of the marketplace.
Hecht says the new format is being developed specifically for the online video marketplace, but that VivaKi also is eyeing new formats for enhanced television platforms, including video-on-demand, which also relies heavily on so-called "pre-roll" spots, as well as addressable and interactive TV commercials.