The Video Revolution: Brought To You By The Traffic Department

If there is any one thing that best symbolizes the differences between TV and online video, it is the traffic department. Yes, the traffic department.

For many years, the television industry has operated a closed system that allowed TV stations and networks to administer advertising to meet their objectives. Often, those objectives were simply to maximize revenues. All this decisioning was done behind closed doors and without the input of the paying customer. The trafficker's key exercise was that of identifying advertisers' slots in commercial pods to meet ratings guarantees and protect pod exclusivity (or, said another way: to prevent competitve adjacencies). But as TV ratings have receded in recent years, more emphasis has been placed on impression-based media, and the rise of cable television has only accelerated that trend. Still, the traffic department inside of these global TV companies has maintained a low profile, often playing a pedestrian role in the operation of billions of dollars of spend.



Enter the Internet.

Overnight, the Internet has turned the role of the trafficker into one that takes center stage. An entire $20B+ industry of Internet advertising now trades on an ad-serving platform that assigns power to advertisers, with the trafficker as their gatekeeper. That power is irrevocable.

Companies like Doubleclick (Google) and Atlas (Microsoft) have democratized that process, and video is about to be transformed in exactly the same way. In this scenario, the advertiser controls the traffic department, a fact that the major TV companies will have to get used to as all video becomes digital.

In a July 21 article on iMedia Connection, writer Daisy Whitney called for the video industry to establish a standard video ad-serving system that would do for video, what Doubleclick did for the display business. With my company and its video ad-serving platform VINDICO, as well as others such as YuMe, FreeWheel and Eyeblaster, that day has arrived. Now, advertisers can seamlessly administer campaigns and collect metrics in real-time that validate their efforts. This is commonplace in online advertising in areas such as search and display, and very much needed in video. Even better, standardized ad-serving will help streamline ALL video ad-serving, as these assets move freely between digital TV, Internet and mobile. With this behavior going from what was formerly "estimated data" to Actuals, advertisers will enjoy real results and real ROI that before now, was unattainable. This is revolutionary for the video industry, which today is small by TV standards ($500m vs. $60B) but very soon, will loom large.

And all of this will be brought to you by the least expected place: your traffic department.

1 comment about "The Video Revolution: Brought To You By The Traffic Department ".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, September 21, 2009 at 2:08 p.m.

    The jury is in and the findings conclusive: In an on-demand world, nobody demands more advertising. We've equipped ourselves with the tools to avoid ads - in whatever form they assume - and so we do.

    For me the logic and its companion behavior speak for themselves: Why in the world would anyone choose to watch a video ad online that they are willing to pay extra to avoid offline?

    Sounds more like devolution than revolution.

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