Three Important T/V (Television/Video) Advances Of 2013

As an end-of-year exercise, I’ve identified three important advances in the T/V (Television/Video) ecosystem from 2013 that will have a favorable impact on the new, emerging ad-supported business model. These are changes that let go of the things that don’t work in the traditional television model, in favor of those that digital T/V brings -- promising a better viewer experience, better advertiser value, and more revenue potential for media providers.

1.   The cross-platform GRP. 2013 saw the launch of cross-platform GRP, a metric that allows buyers to compare traditional, online -- and soon, mobile -- T/V audience delivery. Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and Comscore’s  Campaign Essentials are big steps forward in offering evaluation tools and metrics that help advertisers allocate T/V dollars. TubeMogul has gone so far as to develop a tool for its DSP (Demand Side Platform) advertisers to use Nielsen OCS in media planning.  More needs to happen here for television and digital video budgets to converge, but here’s a “bravo” to those who have moved things forward this year.

2.   Online video viewability. The industry has pulled together to address the issue of online display ad viewability, and not without controversy. The Media Research Council (MRC) has issued points of view and advisories about transacting ad buys based on viewability, due to the great variance in iFrame exposure across different platforms/publishers. This is an important start for the video viewability definition that is next on the agenda, as auto-play ads that run off screen and uncertain viewability metrics are a big reason why more online video ads aren’t placed. The MRC states, “Video ads, hypothesized to be largely viewable, require separate consideration for appropriate viewability thresholds, particularly around both sight and sound. “

Here are key components of a current draft of guidelines from an Aug. 20, 2013 Town Hall MRC presentation:

Viewable Video Ads
Specific to Browser Based Video Ads

A Video Ad that meets the Viewable Impression requirements for Display Ads (i.e., 50% of pixels in view for one continuous second) is considered a “Discernible Video Ad”

The draft definition of a “Viewable Video Ad” requires that 5 seconds of the ad is played, meeting the 50% pixel requirement.

-       The 5 seconds need not be continuous, nor the 1st 5 seconds of the video ad.

-       Strong user interaction with the ad can result in the ad being counted as viewable, even if it does not meet the time/pixel requirements.

-       These counts should be segregated in reporting.

-       If the pixel threshold is applied to the player rather than the ad within the player, this must be disclosed.

-       Consideration of presence of audio is encouraged, but not required because of current technological issues.

3.   Buying on a cost-per-view (CPV) basis. Google TruView for YouTube and other video formats is a very advertiser- and viewer-friendly method of monetizing content, only charging advertisers when a video ad is verifiably viewed. This really works for pre-roll, where the viewer clicks-to-play, thereby creating a natural sequence of audience action and completion intention.  Ad servers then measure whether viewers opt-out of the ad (and the content) using a “close” button that appears after the first five seconds. Google has estimated that by 2015, 50% of video ads will be sold on a CPV basis.

For me, this shift is critical to solving the time, energy and resource-wasting problem of “cat and mouse” ad delivery that traditional television providers have created, with 20 minutes of advertising comprising 40 to 50 ads per hour of prime time, leaving only 40 minutes of content for the consumer. Those 40 minutes come wrapped up in the unpleasant and avoidance-inducing experience of constant and lengthy interruptions.

Imagine instead a world where high-priced and guaranteed engagement with advertising allows viewer entry to a piece of uninterrupted content on-demand, regardless of what screen delivers the content. Besides improving the experience for T/V consumers (the group that matters the most), advertisers benefit from engagement certainty, and media providers can wisely maintain or grow revenues with fewer total ads running.

As these emerging benchmarks for accountability are debated and adopted, more pressure is put on the traditional television side of cross-platform research to meet the standards being set by digital online video -- and in the future, mobile. The good news, though, is that the conversation has begun.

Next month, I will write about three things that I think could really move the ad-supported T/V business forward in 2014.

1 comment about "Three Important T/V (Television/Video) Advances Of 2013 ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, December 11, 2013 at 7:17 p.m.

    I'm not convinced that people want "fewer ads" when they can hold out for "no ads at all" using a DVR.

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