Why Can't I Be You - Online Video Vs. TV

You turn the whole world upside down
I’m smitten, I’m bitten, I’m hooked, I’m cooked

I’m stuck like glue
Why can’t I be you – you’re simply elegant

If our TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones could talk, I imagine the conversation might go something like these lyrics from “Why Can’t I Be You” by The Cure. The TV is struggling to stay relevant in a world of rich media, connected devices and a world where online video has grown to over 50% of the U.S. population, according to eMarketer, and is now a mass market platform.

It’s looking like 2012 could really be the tipping point to see more mass marketers finally moving from “test and learn” budgets to making significant investments in online video. In fact, when I was just visiting with a large CPG advertiser, the brand manager said they planned on spending a significant amount in online video vs. traditional TV spots. I say bravo!



We can certainly thank the trail blazing efforts of services such as Hulu, Roku, GoogleTV and AppleTV, Netflix and a cacophony of others for making early investments in digital entertainment services. While many early services were the province early adopters, 20-somethings and dorm rooms, the meteoric proliferation of tablets, low cost devices and subscriptions was a perfect mix to accelerate adoption for the masses. In fact, I would argue that Netflix’s 800,000 fleeing customers, in 2011, is a proxy for the variety of services consumers have to choose from – much to the chagrin of Netflix.

The leaders in video entertainment, such as Netflix, AppleTV and Google TV will continue to duke it out and provide great services for the living room or any room in the house, for that matter. And as consumer retreat to other rooms or locations on the go, their viewing habits will continue to morph and consumption of online video, long-form (movies) or short-form (sitcoms, episodic, etc.) will continue to grow rapidly.

Just as consumers have a panoply of video services and devices to choose from, advertisers have a wide range of video ad networks to choose from. While this year is a perfect time to invest in online video, it’s also a perfect time to try multiple networks that tout their ability to reach and target. Brands should try multiple networks and determine which network has the reach and targeting capabilities that best meets their needs – this world is a lot different from the broadcast network buys. For example, choosing a network that is able to provide targeting based on engagement, social insights, or cost-per-completed views. There is enough choice in the marketplace to meet any marketer’s needs.

By 2015 video viewers will represent 60% of general population and over 75% of Internet users, according to eMarketer. The time to invest is now. And the time to test the networks and services that best meet your marketing needs is now. When 2015 rolls around, those marketers with significant online video campaigns under their belts and deep understanding of networks/providers capabilities will pay off in spades.

2 comments about "Why Can't I Be You - Online Video Vs. TV".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, January 12, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.

    Doug, isn't the viewing of TV (broadcast plus subscription) growing (albeit slightly) in the US? It is here in Australia and other countries. So how does that translate to "TV is struggling to stay relevant"?

    I struggle to find anything new and interesting to view online (unless I want to put in the legwork and time that I would rather spend actually viewing), yet I more often that not get my fill when I turn on the 'idiot box' with a minimum of hunting around. Why? Because TV has the 'fresher' content. They produce quality dramas, comedies and documentaries. They have all the sport I want live. They fund and underwrite most of the stuff I want to see. Sure I still use online to view 'television/video' but most of that is catch-up viewing or me seeking out specific niche stuff like Kirsty MacColl's "He's On the Beach" video - hardly broadcast stuff.

  2. Alexander Triliouris from RadiumOne, January 12, 2012 at 9:18 p.m.

    Great post Doug... the time for marketers to take the dive and truly invest in Online Video is now. The highly targeted offerings available and the unique user-engagement truly set it apart from its 'living-room confined' ancestor. Those who don't make a move now, will lose out to those who do(or already have)...

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