Digital Video Leadership Forum Recap

The IAB Leadership Forum: Digital Video attracted and engaged the interactive industry’s progressive leaders, educating marketers, agency professionals and publishers on one of the hottest topics in the marketplace. Held on May 5, in New York City, the event guided more than 230 attendees through the three-screen transformation, evoking discussion on creativity, accountability and the future of the medium. Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, introduced the opportunities and challenges associated with the explosion of digital video and the day’s events with an old Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times…”

Keynote, Quincy Smith

The web is still a new medium for broadcast media to engage and foster relationships with fresh audiences, reminded keynote presenter, Quincy Smith, President, CBS Interactive. Exploring the potential, Smith described how a one-day event, such as the Grammy Awards, can easily evolve into a 365-day online event, ultimately driving users directly back to their TV screens. He emphasized that repurposed, cross-platform and original content all play a unique role, depending on your goal.

The onsite release of the new IAB Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines and Best Practices  helped shape the Format Wars No More panel. Led by moderator Dina Kaplan, Co-founder & COO,, participants, Deva Bronson, Digital Media Manager, KFC, Ari Paparo, Group Product Manager, Google, Adam Shlachter, Senior Partner, Group Director, Mediaedge:cia and Cheryl Kellond, Vice President Advertising Marketplaces, Yahoo! Inc., talked through tracking syndicated views, target-audience reach, preferred current ad formats and where digital video advertising dollars should come from. Kellond reiterated the need for education, suggesting the burden is on the interactive industry to speak to marketers in terms they understand, helping marketers clearly see how working together can accomplish greater things.

Later in the program, Steve Robinson, President and Founder, Panache, encouraged the socialization of the new IAB standards, expressing the industry’s need to make it easier for media buyers to check just one box and buy ad real estate across the board. Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus, suggested that as online video begins taking people deeper into the brand experience, metrics need time to evolve and grow. Online campaigns engage viewers at different rates than traditional advertising campaigns. Solidifying ways to compare online measurement strategies to that of other media is imperative when demanding more dollars from traditional media budgets.

Content creation was not to be overshadowed by facts and figures as the second half of the day took a deep dive into the creative possibilities of digital video. Cross-channel content was addressed with emphasis on the impact of the recent writer’s strike, future bandwidth issues as the media expands, and the use of digital video as an engagement extension. Different media producers should take a holistic approach, working together to benefit from the incorporation of more than one channel. Panelist Rishi Malhotra, Vice President, Multiplatform Program Marketing, HBO, cited hit television shows Big Love and The Wire as examples of using online video to increase viewer involvement with the traditional broadcast.

"In The Motherhood" Session

Next, attendees experienced a behind the scenes look into the thought process and creative development required for a successful multi-screen, multi-brand campaign executed by Mindshare Entertainment for Sprint and Suave. “In The Motherhood” leveraged both digital video and user-generated content to expand both brands’ ability to develop a stronger understanding of their target audience by fostering more intimate conversations with consumers. A balanced mix of complementary tools resulted in total-package success that drove the web site to surpass expectations and become one of the most visited online destinations on parenting.

Addressable TV & Video-On-Demand took the spotlight as the last topic of the day. Mitch Oscar, EVP, Carat Digital, and Jen Sock, VP, Activation Director Advanced TV, Starcom MediaVest Group, discussed marketers as advertisers and as programmers. In a highly successful test of addressable television among 8,000 households, they concluded that pushing beyond the standard cable spot leads to an opportunity to directly target households and viewers with preferred messaging based on patterns and specific behaviors. Stay tuned for more on these exciting developments.

The day concluded with a lively networking reception to discuss the knowledge gained throughout the day. Attendees walked away feeling empowered from the new insights shared and motivated to continue exploring and pushing the limits of digital video as an advertising tool.