Commentary

Video, Video Everywhere...

Consider this:
  • A mere 12 months ago, few people anticipated the viability of mobile TV and user-generated video content channels like MTV's Uber. Video iPods weren't here yet, video search was truly in beta, and MySpace Music was so underground, it wasn't on most planners' radar screens.
  • According to a study by eMarketer, the broadband video marketplace is expected to top $1 billion in sales by 2009.
  • Every day brings additional news developments--from Yahoo!'s latest video endeavor; to extensions like the online spin-off of "Family Guy"; to TV networks like CBS making their video programming available everywhere, whether on broadband, Google, iTunes, VOD or VCast, whether paid or ad-supported.

    So what's an agency planner or buyer to do? Is today's agency structure organized to follow the newest and latest video opportunities and leverage those on behalf of a client's communication program? And how are strategies developed to encompass all of these emerging channels?

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    Let's look at today's realities. A turf battle over the IP distributed video domain is brewing between traditional TV implementation teams and interactive or digital buying teams. Neither agency department properly evaluates programming. Even worse, content creators bring offerings late to market at high costs with minimal promises. Everyone gets a peek, but few have the budget to take advantage of the opportunities, and many conversations end with "it's a great opportunity, but we'll have to pass."

    The one good thing about the broadcast upfront season is that it puts all content on the table for review long before it airs, giving planners and buyers alike the opportunity to pick favorites. Broadband gives marketers a couple of weeks or months to make a decision, with little review or preparation time, making it a gut call on the spot. The two media are a year apart--video content proposals are being sent around for March 2006, while most CPGs have begun planning for 2007. None of the aforementioned takes into account creative, which is a discussion for another time.

    If video is to ever be viewed holistically, the planning model has to accommodate the differences in lead times and expectations. Creative development should complement this by starting with an overarching strategy and executing at the channel level.

    What I still can't put my finger on is why marketers are hesitant to view broadband as a daypart (aka "Personal Prime") and put dollars there first or even at all. Internet video pre-roll ads cannot be skipped; they show actual delivery versus estimated ratings, and in some cases, can use demographic or behavioral targeting to minimize waste or spill, which are clear advantages over today's TV measurement model.

    Klipmart's pre-roll offering, for example, can help consolidate reporting and provide deeper data points such as video play length. Throw in a Dynamic Logic study and you have near-real-time results for persuasion metrics. From a product integration standpoint, broadband offers an efficient entry point. All the industry needs are standards and execution improvement to be good for the long term.

    We've been talking about the video evolution for years with buzzwords like IPTV and EVOD. Action is the answer, and broadband is part of it. Happily, it's a here & now solution, helping us set the framework for the video model of the future, where it will be one impression at a time.

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