Finding Customers On Demand

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky once ascribed his prowess to “skating where the puck is going.” That’s about to happen for video advertising, thanks to the VOD-ODCR test that Nielsen and Comcast began last month.

VOD-ODCR involves putting just-aired shows on VOD with full ad loads for three days. While the initial burst of news focused on the appeal for the TV industry — networks getting credit for total viewership, cable operators capitalizing on the all-episodes viewing appetite proven by Netflix —  the biggest benefit is for advertisers. The new system produces immediate incremental audiences, which means more potential customers as TV advertising continues to expand everywhere. This is where the world’s biggest medium is going: producing more customers on demand.

VOD-ODCR will give programmers and advertisers a more accurate model of TV audience and a better standard for trading. To recap, an episode that premieres Sunday gets dropped immediately into the show’s VOD library. From Sunday through Tuesday, the same ad load appears in that episode and the three preceding it — what we’re now calling the “rolling four.” Fast-forwarding is disabled in VOD, so the same ad pods get incremental viewing.



That’s keeping in step with the new dynamic of all-screen audience. So far this season, committed viewers have swarmed social networks to make their favorite shows mainstays of next-day conversation. Fans who miss an episode seek it out fast — so they can join the conversation — and often end up reviewing the previous episodes.

VOD beats the DVR as a viewer experience here. Complete show libraries are preset and loaded, so fans just click and play. Our nation of arm’s-length device athletes want it all and they want it easy; every episode, full seasons, infinite show libraries to choose from, easy toggling from their live TV offerings, all available on their biggest screens.

Capturing as many of these committed viewers as possible is critical for advertisers that depend on right-now retail traffic. Think restaurants, big box retail, movies, auto dealers, hotels and resorts, TV tune-in and food/grocery. Essentially, another customer is coming in behind each initial viewer, to make a larger group these advertisers can sell just in time.

Counting the complete audience goes beyond giving programmers the basis for more ad revenue. It gives advertisers the basis for more predictability and confidence in the evolving media mix. This matters supremely because advertisers need extended audience commitment to make advertising work in the age of endless content choice. Beneath it all, what makes advertising work is an intensified content commitment that’s becoming the new norm for TV.

VOD-ODCR will let advertisers capitalize on the ways captivated audiences amass today. It will make the best shows even better for advertisers. It’s not just the first three days, either. The best shows on TV beat the on-demand average over a full week after the first airing. In fact, the top 20 shows beat the average for days four through seven, by as much as 50%.

For advertisers, media is ultimately about selling more stuff. That’s the real efficiency marketing needs more than ever. Marketing efficiency comes from the best right sale. VOD-ODCR can improve the return on the biggest, highest-performing asset in the media mix and move marketers where the audience is going. That’s advancing the state of the art in a meaningful way.

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