Viewers are increasingly turning to online and on-demand for their weekly dose of comedy, drama and reality television. So where does scheduled broadcast television fit into the mix with the increase in non-traditional viewing experiences? The 25-34 demo still receives the majority of their content via traditional TV, however, they no longer differentiate between “on TV” and “online” viewing. Although traditional television remains king (as of today’s numbers) the number of homes in the U.S. with televisions dropped last year for the first time in over 20 years. Computers, tablets and mobile phones have become the primary content source for a younger audience that has never had to pay for traditional television because of digital content partners such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.
So what’s the best way to reach an audience that is constantly viewing content on a variety of platforms? Instead of developing individual strategic TV, Radio and Digital media plans, we need to create plans categorized by Video and Audio. Reaching a viewer while watching the latest episode of New Girl on Hulu should be no different than reaching them while watching it during scheduled broadcast. Streaming your favorite radio morning show at work should be no different than listening while driving to work. With the increase of technology we are forced to think smarter about how we extend our media presence and reach our target in unique ways.
Hulu recently announced they were moving their ad beacons (or as I like to think of it, their “charge” notification) to the end of the video, so that advertisers are only charged for completed ad views. Sounds like a common sense way of charging, but it’s the first of its kind. Currently, CPV doesn’t always guarantee a full completion. In fact, advertisers tend to purchase online video on a CPM (cost per thousand), but review and report metrics such as video completions. A user could click on a video, watch for a few seconds and move on. Not really a true “video view,” if you ask me.
Hulu shows more video ads to consumers than any other site or service in the U.S. With more than 1.5 billion video ad views in February 2012 alone, the risk of changing their pricing model is one they can afford. Hulu specializes in long form video, and its users get the feeling of TV-like commercial breaks. This has contributed to their unusually high completion rate of 96%, when 88% is the average for long form video (according to a study by video-ad-serving company Freewheel). They’re in a good position to leverage this new selling point to advertisers, who will ultimately pay a higher CPV to get guaranteed completed views. Moving their ad beacon to the end doesn’t threaten their business model when they’ve got so many users watching the full ad anyway.
So have Hulu’s guaranteed video views changed the game for advertisers? It’s still hard to eliminate the obstacles standing in the way of online advertising. The new pricing model can’t account for flipping between tabs or checking your Gmail account for the 30 to 60 seconds the ad is playing. So ultimately, like most channels, there’s no guarantee for active engagement. It has yet to be seen if other online video providers will follow suit. With weaker completion rates, it may be harder for them to step up to the plate and move their ad beacons to the end as well.
So stay tuned – at least to the end of this article.
As a follow up to our infographic on exponential trends, we’ll be taking a deep dive into each of the 22, delving into why we believe they inspire better ideas and more interesting work.
Today, we’re getting some insight on Social TV, courtesy of brand planner Jackie Ayrault:
Back in my day we had to physically sit in front of the TV together and watch the latest episode of Friends, having to wait until the next commercial break to gush about how crazy romantic it was that Monica proposed to Chandler. You kids these days have it so easy. Not only can you pause the TV to talk to the people you are watching with, but you don’t even need to be in the same room with your friends to watch together. Heck, you don’t even need to know the people you are watching and conversing with!
In other words, TV has become highly social in the modern sense of the term. At the most basic level, many of us like to post to Facebook and Twitter about the TV shows we are viewing. We tend to get instant feedback from our friends or followers who are also watching, which makes us feel like we are viewing with a group. But social TV goes so much further than this. Case in point: GetGlue. You know, the app that let’s you check-in to and “like” shows? You have probably noticed ads prompting you to check-in via GetGlue around some of your favorite programs (i.e. FX’s Archer, CW’s Vampire Diaries). Well, did you know you could also have conversations with friends and other fans of a show as you are watching it live via GetGlue’s Conversation tool? You can! And you can post your check-ins to Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr. There is also social TV for those who are not necessarily watching shows live. For instance, Hulu allows you to post past episodes of shows you are currently watching to Facebook and even leave comments for your friends at certain points throughout the videos. I guess we don’t have to share the couch anymore. We can all watch TV together without actually having to be together.
So, what does this mean for brands in 2012? Well, social TV is only going to get bigger and better, and you need to pay attention (check out zeebox, coming soon to the US). Yes, pay attention to the trend, but more importantly, pay attention to who is checking in and liking what shows, what the conversation is about, and maybe even getting your brands into these shows.
What am I getting at? Social TV is giving brands the opportunity to know where our target is better than ever before. We can improve our TV, online, and social media placement based on a target’s social TV habits. This is bigger than basing TV buys on ratings for Women 18-49, this is placing spots in TV shows we know are being watched by Women 18-49 who have children and love shoes! How do we know this? They are checking in, liking, commenting using Twitter #hashtags and Facebook status updates, and we know more about them through the very social media platforms they are using.
I also hinted at product placement. Why? If you checked out zeebox (like I said to earlier), you would know Social TV is making it easier for consumers to instantly find products they see on their favorite shows. Of course, you need to be careful about product placement relevancy, seemless integration, etc…but that is an entirely different blog post.
Finally, not only will social TV enhance our media planning, but it should be used to better inform our creative strategies digitally and offline. We are learning so much more about our targets and we have the chance to serve them messages that they actually find interesting.