Going Down

It's a recurring theme for regular readers of this blog, but it seems that further evidence is arriving that traditional tv (and the agencies that serve them) are rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic (to borrow hackneyed phrase curently being used about our prime minister).

Jupiter has just reported that it estimates that $8bn of $74bn US TV commercials are lost to DVR shifting. But everyone already knows that much of that $74bn is wasted anyway...

I met with the head of new media at one of the world's largest news organizations last week, and he was telling me that he doesn't have enough inventory (ie ad slots) to deliver all the online video ad booking they have. I have heard similar reports from other video orientated sites. Apparently, the majority of these ads are booked directly rather than through an agency.

Soon, services from companies like Spot Runner and Visible World and technology from Narrowstep will cut out the agencies completely.

US agencies have woken up and smelt the coffee and have come from nowhere in the last few months to adopt new technologies such as video advertising, whilst UK and European agencies are really behind the times. A common complaint is 'we haven't cleared the tv commercials for broadband'. Duh!

Why is it that the advertising world is so slow to adopt technology when it's such a core element of their industry ?


brianmargolis said…
'Clickable' Web Video Ads Catch On

NBC, CBS Try to Sell Space
Alongside Internet Programs
Viewers Can Click Through
May 18, 2006; Page B4

When NBC decided last year to do a spin-off of its soap opera "Passions" exclusively for the Internet, the network figured it would experiment in something else too: "clickable video."

A viewer watching "Passions: Vendetta" on NBC.com could move his or her mouse around the screen and click on parts of the steamy action. The clicked scenes were then bookmarked for the viewer to visit afterwards to get more information about the scene and clues to the overall story, a murder mystery. The goal: Get people to look at more pages -- where they would have no choice but to view more ads from "Passions: Vendetta" sponsor Maybelline.

The result? "We were fairly blown away," says Stephen Andrade, NBC's vice president of interactive development. "Visitors who clicked, which was most of them, spent about twice as long with the show as those who didn't." ("Passions: Vendetta" is still available on NBC.com.)

Now, both General Electric's NBC and CBS Corp.'s CBS are offering the technology to advertisers as part of a menu of opportunities to reach television fans on the Web. A spokeswoman for CBS says the network will offer clickable video on its various Web properties if there is demand from advertisers. The company's newly unveiled TV video site Innertube, for example, would be a natural spot for the technology.

NBC, meanwhile, will offer clickable video on another "Passions" spinoff for the Web and is exploring the option of using the technology to allow consumers to buy items from shows. Click on a car, for example, and be taken to the Web site for a dealership of that model in your area.

To be sure, giving consumers the ability to click on a video image in a favorite TV show -- say, Teri Hatcher's sweater from an episode of "Desperate Housewives" -- and instantly buy the identical item online has been touted by technology companies for years without results. The technology has never taken off because few people own TV sets capable of doing so, and because networks haven't made offering this type of product placement a priority.

Still, networks are putting more emphasis on the technology as they scramble for a bigger piece of the ad money that is starting to flow away from traditional television and toward the Internet. Indeed, both networks are offering "clickable video" as part of their pitches to advertisers in the "upfront" ad-selling presentations that began this week. In the upfront market, networks sell the bulk of their ad time for the coming TV season.

The arrival of clickable video on network Web sites is courtesy of Avant Interactive, a closely held Los Angeles company. Avant says its technology works on video downloads, streaming video and DVDs. In addition to use on home computers, it eventually will be available for use with digital television set-top boxes, allowing consumers to use their remote controls to save frames of video and select objects within them for more information. The technology that works with set-top boxes is built, but not deployed to consumers yet.

Avant says its analysis shows that users click more than 10 times a minute and watch the clickable-video segments an average of 2.5 times -- creating lots of opportunities for targeted advertising. "We're taking those banner ads on sites and blowing them away in terms of the user experience and engagement," says Dan Bates, Avant's president.

Other TV networks have experimented with Avant's service. Last month, the soon-to-close UPN network began using the technology for video on its Web site related to the reality show "America's Next Top Model." Consumers could click on models in the video and in a separate section of their screen see more details, including the models' ages and hometowns -- along with ads for Procter & Gamble's Pantene hair products.