Commentary

NewFronts At The Edge of History

As the nation waits in eager and humble anticipation for NewFronts starting Monday, perhaps it is instructive to note that the vast majority of the content online is missed by everybody, even though it’s pretty clear everybody is watching. What a silly situation.

Consider that according to the latest stats from comScore, in March 182.5 million users saw 39.3 billion videos in that month, and saw 13.2 billion advertisements, a record.

 There will be some other record next month. Online video has a pretty much unbroken record of breaking records every day or month or year that somebody can measure.

Little changes get noticed. Last month, it appeared that there was some downward, or at least lateral,  movement.  In February, 178 million watched 33.9 billion videos and 9.9 billion ads. That was less than August of 2012, when the figures, inside-baseball-wise, were 188/37.7/9.5. Even considering that February is a short month, that seemed significant.

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Back on March 15, Greg Jarboe, of SearchEngineWatch.com wrote,  “So, it appears that 5.6 percent fewer Americans are now watching 14.2 percent fewer online content videos, but 4.2 percent more video ads than they were seven months ago.”

But as March figures show, maybe it was just that February is a short month, because everything bounced back and then ahead, just like normal.   

The March numbers do seem to have made a difference to Yahoo, which, in the rarified air of top online video providers, “moved up a rung to number four and closed in on VEVO this month,” noted Marketingland.com. 

The site went on to speculate, “It will be interesting to watch what impact Yahoo’s newly-announced deal for exclusive online access to the clips of ‘Saturday Night Live’s’ archives may have when they become available this fall.”

Not that interesting, I hope. Those ‘SNL’ clips have been around a while. If Yahoo can get a substantial gain from that, then let’s start re-marketing “I Love Lucy” and make a new bundle.

In the old days of TV, advertisers used to complain about clutter—too many ads crammed in between too little content. Hah.

There is talk about a scarcity of quality video online opportunities but that’s got to be just compared to all the totally worthless video out there. Taken in its totality, there’s so much out there, and so many ways to slice it and dice it, it’s pretty simple to see why many marketers and advertisers so far have just thrown up their hands and said whatever is the advertiser equivalent to “Whatever.” 

The fact is, I do believe online video is at the edge of history in this round of upfronts. The economy is perking up and the trend is so unmistakably pointing toward a breakout year for online as a locale for content, and some place useful for advertisers. They’re always the last one to the party. But based on the 39.3 billion videos viewed last month alone, I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to find someplace to put their ads. I’m just as certain of it as they are, which is online’s business problem.

            

pj@mediapost.com

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