Video is on the rise. According to comScore, 36 billion videos were watched online in May and the number of video ads served in the month bypassed 10 billion. Netflix users are streaming more and the adoption of new devices is skyrocketing. Video consumption remains robust on television, which continues to hold sway with advertisers and viewers.
Though consumers’ appetite for video content on any platform seems to be insatiable, for the most part, we continue to buy and sell media the same way we did 25 years ago. We define ourselves as two separate advertising industries -– “television” and “online video” –- even as the digital divide has disappeared from consumers’ lives.
But buying and selling advertising through different systems and teams can’t last long. Our legacy technology and organizational structures are proving inadequate to handle the demands of multiplatform media consumption.
What can we do as an industry to enable the creation of a single, streamlined video advertising market?
The first step is to acknowledge that consumers are already there.
For years, many have anticipated (eagerly and not) a dramatic share-shift in spend from television to digital advertising. But what we’re actually seeing is the convergence of these two historically separate markets, at least from the audience’s perspective.
It turns out consumers aren’t giving up TV sets for smartphones and tablets; most are simply browsing, searching and sharing while they watch. In a recent survey of media-savvy consumers, time spent watching TV stayed flat, while time with smart devices increased. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they had used another device the last time they watched live TV.
While understanding we are one media market is the first necessary step, we still have a long way to go. Here are three areas we need to focus on to make buying and selling media across platforms easier and more efficient for advertisers, agencies, content providers and consumers.
Focus on technology
All advertisers want is to reach their target audiences efficiently and effectively, regardless of where they consume media. But as long as television and online video advertising are sold, scheduled and delivered through different systems, this won’t happen. We can integrate our systems to sell, manage, measure and invoice video advertising through a single front-end across television and online video. The media companies that do this now will emerge as the industry leaders in our consolidating media marketplace.
Focus on organization
It’s great that more media planning is happening across platforms, but now the same alignment needs to happen within the buying process. Buyers for television and online video need to work together. Forrester’s latest “Future of Media Measurement Report” noted: “Media buyers are getting cross-media religion.” Once this becomes a reality on the buy side, we’ll start to see alignment fall into place on the sell side too.
Focus on measurement
We should be selling all video advertising against one audience guarantee, measured across media platforms. Leading advertising technology companies are investing to enable content providers to manage video campaigns across platforms and track progress against a single guarantee.
At the same time, metrics are emerging that can enable us to measure cross-platform guarantees, such as the Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings product that Nielsen rolled out earlier this year.
So what’s holding us back? We are. Let’s break down the silos, work together toward better integration of buying and selling across platforms, and think and act as one media marketplace.