Amid Shift To Online Video Ads, An Opportunity for Local TV

A lot has been written about the shift of broadcast TV ad dollars to online video...


"The shift to online video is already happening?"
"As TV becomes more interactive, will that abate the shift from traditional advertising?"
"Will the shift be driven by generational, supply or technology changes?"

All good questions, but I'd argue that it's too early to know the answers. I say, also, that focusing on any impending shift misses the real opportunity -- especially for some local media publishers -- to grab a greater share of overall advertiser spend.

Many publishers of local TV Web sites, for example, seem uneasy about this shift to online video advertising, fearing it will steal broadcast dollars. I believe, however, that local TV publishers are in the best position to move to online video advertising.

The operative word here is video. Local TV publishers have the advantage. They have existing clients who currently run commercials (video). They understand spot TV (video) and the power of local marketing. They can articulate the benefits of television ads (sight, sound, and motion) in driving brand awareness and purchase intent.

Online video advertising should be viewed as a powerful extension to advertisers' offline media buys rather than a substitute for them. Bundling online video advertising into advertiser sales packages:

1) Extends an advertiser's reach to new audiences or times of day.

2) Increases the efficiency of an advertiser's total ad spend. TV spots can be repurposed into rich-media video ad campaigns with no increased production cost.

3) Drives the deep measurement insights afforded by the Web. 4) Acts (like TV) to build brand awareness and, in addition, drives interactivity.

4)  Acts (like TV) to build brand awareness and, in addition, drives interactivity.

Smart advertisers don't rely on the "one trick pony" method of advertising by sticking to only one medium. They run campaigns across media (print, TV, radio, online display, and search) and Web properties (portals, premium sites, and ad networks).

Advertisers are increasingly aware, for example, that search performance is augmented by running display ads. The last click theory, where search got all the attribution, is disintegrating as more marketers see that you have to look at all points in the purchase funnel and build campaigns that get your brand noticed, while at the same time including elements that drive action.

To touch more parts of the funnel and sell a multi-platform solution, local TV publishers can easily bundle broadcast TV spots with online video advertising.

Technology drives changes in media consumption. Choice leads to audience fragmentation but rarely elimination of a medium. Local TV publishers have the assets to play both sides of the shift and deliver a sum that is greater than the parts. It's really a discussion of optics. A shift implies someone is losing. Seeing online video advertising as a way to grab more total ad dollars, especially for local TV publishers, is a more opportunistic view of the world.

6 comments about "Amid Shift To Online Video Ads, An Opportunity for Local TV ".
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  1. Tony Anderson from Incline Video, June 16, 2009 at 4:13 p.m.

    Cool article. Love the term "one trick pony". Between 2002-2006 pop-unders were that pony for a lot of us.
    With online video there are many "tricks" in the offering.
    My question is do the broadcast TV sellers have what it takes to understand how to add Meta data to an XML stream? Insufficient Meta Data information in video is prohibiting relevant ads to be targeted to users and results in dollars being wasted for advertisers.

    I'm currently creating a type of Dewey Decimal System for meta data. This allows for better targeting and more relevant ads for advertisers which produces better campaign results. Now can local TV publishers get that?


    Tony Anderson

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 16, 2009 at 5:31 p.m.

    Next question: Does the local station have 2 different sales departments, one for direct TV broadcast and one for online? Many media outlets have had 2 making them competitive rather than a team sales effort. Then again, many in media management do not know how to emphasize the importance of platform delivery and pass that on to the sales team to teach their clients.

  3. Chuck Knerr from Lithia Auto Stores, June 16, 2009 at 9:18 p.m.

    The one-trick-pony is the :30 sec spot. It's entirely appropriate to the context of passive long form video consumption on television. However, in the interactive context of online video, the :30, or even :15 sec spot is a fish out of water. Overlays, pre-rolls, post rolls, etc are all antithetical to consumer control of online media consumption.

    The operative word here is LOCAL. Television distribution will no longer require the expense of broadcast facilities in each market. Affiliates need to begin shifting to a business model that focuses on their local market/content and away from the Network brand and national content.

    An answer may be found in the branded content model that has taken off so dramatically for companies like ours (Videasa). Integrating the brand with narrowly targeted creative ideas that consumers will seek out to view (as opposed to avoiding advertising) is consistent with the context of online content consumption. Integrating these creative ideas with sophisticated distribution models that redound in value across multiple consumer touchpoints for a brand's business has proven to be a powerful new element of media planning. Small wonder that brand marketers are moving budgets quickly in this direction.

    This model could be adapted to local television. As the affiliate model shifts from national content to local, it's an opportunity to integrate advertisers into an increasing amount of local programming. The single largest percentage of local content today is not programming but the commercials. More locally produced programs that integrate local brands within the content is a viable business model for ratings and revenue after the networks pull out. It's also an ideal bridge into the online realm with re-purposed, shorter form content.

  4. Steve McGrory from G/O Digital, June 16, 2009 at 10:59 p.m.

    Glenn, I get your thinking about video and what it can do for advertisers but what content does a Local TV station have to drive eyeballs. Their bastions of original programming, the 6pm 11pm newscast, are irrelevant in the current on-demand, anytime-I-want-it world. Aside from the network shows that they distribute, which B-T-W are no longer their exclusive advantage (i.e. Hulu), I can’t see a compelling reason to turn on a Local TV station anymore. Sure, they excel in video but no content means no audience means game over.

  5. Martin Russ from Freelance Technical Author, June 18, 2009 at 1:27 p.m.

    We've found that making online video ads that adapt so they are 'local' can be a viable alternative to the targetting of ads. You can see this technique of mass-customisation used in the news demo on our website, where the news, weather and content are topical, local and relevant - so each viewer thinks the programme is made for them individually.

  6. Glen Caruso from Tremor Media, June 29, 2009 at 1:11 p.m.'s Glen Caruso from Tremor Media (formerly JWT/NY). All I can say is that you're a genius and that I taught you well. Email me. - Glen

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