This could have happened anywhere, so I don’t mean to pick on Fullscreen. At its NewFronts presentation on Monday, it raved on about “How To Survive High School,” a video series centered on Eva Gutowski, aka MyLifeAsEva. A clip seemed sweet, innocent, goofy. And very, very familiar.
In its first season, “How To Survive” had more than 36 million views, and in its press material, Fullscreen refers to her as a “comedic genius and creative powerhouse.” MyLifeAsEva has 4million subscribers.
She might be brilliant, but is there a need for even one more genius fashion and lifestyle vlogger talking to teens? Or for that matter, coarse guys on skateboards who say “dude” a lot? Every NewFronts presenter, it seems, has a pocket full of influencers who all have 36 million views and four million subscribers.
They’re all going after the same audience of millennials (or, it seems more accurately, post-millennials) which makes sense because that’s where the ad money tells them to be.
But there is an amazing amount of same old same old out there, for such a new medium. Oddly, as streaming has become more mainstream, its awesome stats seem like weaker coffee. What was once considered boldly out of the box is now just another nice piece of cardboard.
Ratings and measurement are still a muddle, but less so than they once were. “And as the new media become not-so-new, they're losing the benefit of being the bright shiny object,” writes wise and witty Stuart Elliott, the former Times ad columnist who now writes thoughtful essays for MediaVillage.com.
“Before, media planners and buyers were deemed out of date -- even troglodytes -- if they didn't switch ad dollars to streaming video, social media platforms and the like. Now, as the new media companies become an intrinsic part of the Madison Avenue landscape, decisions can be made in more dispassionate way,” he notes.
The idea that streaming “works” as a medium for ads seems pretty well established, and to use the old punch line, now all that we’re doing is haggling over price.
At last week’s YouTube party, Jack Hollis, Toyota group vice president of marketing, explained how a few years ago, the car maker considered online video advertising untested enough that it put expenditures into its last, smallest ad budget categories. But now, it’s a part of the tried and true bucket; he said Toyota increased its YouTube Preferred Plus buys by 400% over the last year.
Fortune magazine noted the change in tone at the YouTube NewFronts presentation with a story headlined, “YouTube Is No Longer An Underdog In The Ad World.” That attitude is mimicked to varying degrees elsewhere as content companies create strong marketable sales strategies.
On the content side, though, a great big blank canvas of creative opportunity seems mostly to result in a bunch of redundant concepts. That's firstname.lastname@example.org