Digital Video: Content...Without Borders
The 2012 IAB Digital Video Marketplace kicked off on April 10 in New York City with more than 400 brand marketers, agency executives, and other media professionals gathering to explore digital video advertising, an ecosystem whose potential is as boundless as its content.
Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau, rallied the audience in his opening remarks by describing the digital video environment like this: “The Minority Report is now the Majority Report.” Entertainment, serendipitous discovery, news, and interaction are being created by a new world order of content producers including brands, agencies, individual stars, directors, and consumers—and all are able to be consumed anywhere, anytime, and on any device, including a pair of glasses. Continuing to look ahead, he announced the Digital Video Rising Stars competition. This, the third Rising Stars competition, is designed to foster digital advertising creativity and to boost larger ad spends across multiple screens. Next, he revealed the new “IAB Video Suite,” the first comprehensive update to IAB in-stream video advertising standards since 2008. Then, after reminding the audience that the 2012 MIXX Awards are now open for submissions, he introduced the first keynote speakers.
Mark Himmelsbach, Senior Vice President, Director, Digital Strategy, North America, BBDO, and Scott Rodgers, Senior Vice President, Creative Director, BBDO, took the stage and gave the spotlight to storytelling. “What is the content? What is the storytelling? That’s what’s going to cut through any medium,” the duo pointed out. They led the audience through three entertaining cases studies, which demonstrated three themes: social connections, deep interactivity, and gamification. The first case study showed how AT&T engaged consumer audiences during March Madness by tapping six-year-old “experts” for their picks during the tournament. On average, consumers watched 10 of these funny videos in a row. The second case study showcased the GE campaign “Performance Machines,” which, through nine live action video games, allowed users to see how top football players performed against GE equipment, including trains and ovens. The team shot 591 video clips to support the effort. On average, consumers interacted with the campaign for 12 minutes during the Super Bowl. The final case study captured the HBO campaign for the release of the Blu-Ray and DVD of “True Blood” Season 3. Gamification of the video ad attracted an average of 23 minutes of interaction per viewer.
Television stayed top of mind as Brian Fuhrer, Senior Vice President, Product Leadership, Nielsen, opened with this poignant statement: “Digital is learning from television, and television is learning a lot from digital.” Through an in-depth presentation full of insightful statistics, he supported three major trends and advances in digital advertising. First, the lines between TV and digital are continuing to blur. Second, as cross-platform business models develop, they need not be symmetrical but should be comparable. Third, consumers are informing their TV expectations with their digital experiences. As Seneca Mudd, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB, eloquently summarized in his concluding remarks, “Devices are driving behavior and behavior is shifting consumption.”
Before the audience launched into deep-dive workshops, Dan Erck, Senior Direct, Ad Platform, Adobe, demoed Project Primetime, its new platform that enables smooth, TV-like experiences for ad-supported videos across Web-connected devices by delivering premium video and ad content consistently across all major platforms.
Fragmentation, connected TV, and co-viewing were addressed in through three case studies. Chris Needham, Vice President, Interactive, Fidelity Investments; Atul Patel, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, OneScreen; and Tim Ware, Director, Mobile Sales, Wall Street Journal Digital Network, revealed how they collaborated to overcome audience fragmentation across multiple sites and screens. Dan Beltramo, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Vizu, and Ed Haslam, Senior Vice President, Marketing, YuMe, shared insights from the first connected TV advertising effort by State Farm, optimized by real-time results and telling metrics. Michael Clark, Co-Founder and Principal, Beeby Clark+Meyler, and Moritz Loew, Chief Agency Officer, General Manager, Sales, MSNBC Digital Networks, discussed increasing audience engagement levels through co-viewing. One key finding: bringing television broadcast content to a tablet, in addition to other co-viewing interactive features, boosts interaction rates.
Next up—an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between a television buyer and a digital video buyer representing the same client. Nate Elliott, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Interactive Marketing, Forrester Research, moderated the conversation between Sam Sussman, Senior Vice President, Director, Broadcast Buying, Starcom, and Megan Tweed, Vice President, Media, Razorfish. Having worked together for some time, the pair discussed their digital plan and the challenges and balancing acts they face. Tweed divulged how she weighted digital CPMs by effectiveness in order to illustrate that they don’t necessarily have higher rates than TV. Some of her research revealed that mobile video, for example, is four times more effective than TV. Sussman pointed out impact is important—so important that publishers should try to keep commercial clutter, rather than CPMs, low. Client objectives and the behaviors of target audiences should dictate how much marketers should spend on any one specific media.
Fresh from a breaking news announcement this morning, Erin McPherson, Vice President, Head of Video, Yahoo!, and John Felice, General Manager, Ford Lincoln Sales, shared details of their new content partnership on a 10-episode series called “Plugged In,” an essential piece of the digital-only launch of the new Ford Focus Electric. In addition, the pair motivated the audience with optimism and insights. “Content is king, and the marketers will come if you’re bringing the eyeballs and true engagement,” Felice said. However, the volume of premium content is growing. “When premium becomes normal, the [consumer] experience has to differentiate,” McPherson said. This distinction comes through audience size, exclusive content, and context.
Following fast-paced Marketplace sessions where attendees met potential new business partners, Payam Shodjai, Lead Product Manager, Google, demystified the updated “IAB Video Suite.” He opened with an analogy every New Yorker can understand, likening video standards to the New York subway system. He remarked that while the subway brings together all types of diversity, and when the subway stops, New York stops. But the old transportation system didn’t have unified standards. Train cars were different sizes. Technologies were different. After unifying the system, all you need is a yellow card to get from one place to another. The IAB video advertising standards, now packaged together as the IAB Video Suite, are like a unified transportation system allowing digital video advertising to be delivered across devices and players. The newly launched VMAP lets industry participants define the number of commercial breaks, when they occur, and, for example, how many ads would be in each pod. VAST defines the video ad response for one of those commercials. VPAID describes how an interactive ad talks to the video player. New elements of the IAB Video Suite include podding, error reporting, and in-ad privacy notice.
Digital video metrics and measurement allowing for easy and transparent comparisons with television would provide the vibrant, boundless digital video marketplace a strong foundation for continued and even accelerated growth. The Measurement Makes Sense initiative, known as 3MS, intends to accomplish this goal. Developers of the endeavor Danny Hong, Manager, Bain & Company; Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics, and Measurement, IAB, provided the audience with a progress update on the digital GRP and answered tough questions from industry thought leaders George Ivie, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Media Rating Council; Suzie Reider, Head, Industry Development, YouTube Global Video; and Joey Trotz, Senior Director, Strategic Advertising and Digital Technologies, Turner Broadcasting, in the audience.
The final and rather fiery session was led by Rob Davis, Executive Director, Advanced Video Practice, OgilvyOne, who moderated and entertained as Jamie Byrne, Head of Original Programming, YouTube; Ran Harnevo, Senior Vice President, AOL Video and Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 5min Media; Mike Dean, Senior Vice President, Publisher Services, Videology; Tod Sacerdoti, Chief Executive Officer, BrightRoll; Lisa Valentino, Vice President, Digital, Mobile Advertising Sales, Strategy Development, ESPN; Roy Chung, Associate Director, Emerging Solutions, VivaKi Nerve Center; Matt Kaplan, Chief Revenue Officer, My Damn Channel; Jared Skolnick, Vice President, Product Marketing, Undertone, and Brett Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, TubeMogul, each took a stab at answering the question “So What Is Premium Inventory Anyway?” in three minutes or less. No two definitions were exactly the same. Byrne of YouTube opened the debate by saying “Popularity trumps premium. It’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to be popular, certainly not if it’s considered premium.” Valentino of ESPN positioned long-time, premium media producers as experienced leaders in the arena of high-budget content and scalable audiences. Wilson of TubeMogul applied the term to social media, games, apps, Tweets, and any other content in which the value exchange for consumers was high.
After an engaging, thought-provoking, and inspiring full day dedicated to building the digital video industry, attendees adjourned to the cocktail hour to network and set into motion their newest, strategic business decisions.
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