Long Live the Boob Tube: Digital Video Ad Convergence Keeps TV Relevant

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Over the last few years or so, digital marketing has started to come into its  own, as corporate advertising and marketing budgets slowly, but surely, shift  from “traditional” categories like print, radio and TV media buying to “digital” categories like web, social media, SEO, content marketing, and others. This  shift has been met with a correspondent attitudinal change, as many advertisers  and marketers (a capricious lot as a rule) have gone from poo-pooing digital to  embracing and even evangelizing it, often at the expense of proven media plays  like television advertising. Somewhat surprisingly and perhaps a bit ironically,  a number of factors now point to the eventual convergence of TV and digital  video ads. One of the big winners of this inevitable march toward digital  integration is none other than the crown jewel of traditional advertising: TV.  Long Live the Boob Tube.

Forget Traditional Vs Digital: It’s All Digital Now

Before we go further, I’d like to revise the long-held perception of  television as a traditional advertising medium.

In 2009, the US switched all free-over the air TV programming from analog to  exclusively digital broadcasting; US cables companies likewise followed suite.  In fact, almost all other countries on this planet have already gone to digital  TV broadcasting or plan on doing so over the next decade.

Therefore, in America at least, TV can (and should) now be regarded as a  digital medium. Moreover, to the extent that many TV ads spots now feature some  kind of digitally dependent call-to-action, whether to visit a website, engage  on social media, or download a mobile app, TV also can (and should) be  considered a digital marketing medium.

This shift from analogue to digital has brought TV into the larger sphere of  digital media – a term which is generally understood in the context of online or  computer-dependent media. For example, Business Dictionary.com defines  the term digital media thusly: Digitized content (text, graphics, audio, and  video) that can be transmitted over internet or computer networks.

Why is this relevant? Because bringing television into the constellation of  digital media is a necessary first step in changing the commonly held perception  that the two are distinct media plays. Though some may regard this as merely a  subtle shift in thinking, the recognition on the part of advertisers and  marketers that television is a digital medium allows both groups to see TV and  digital video through a common lens, which helps pave the way to Digital Video  Ad Convergence.

TV vs Digital Video: Reach vs Measurability

Only when the two are recognized as complementary and not competing media can  the relative strengths and weaknesses of each be properly evaluated. In general,  advertisers and marketers like the broad reach of TV ads, but prefer the  granular targeting and measurability of digital video ads.

It is true that, at least for now, television enjoys a wider reach than  digital video: 283 million Americans watch TV each month, while 150 million  consumers watch video on the Internet. One might expect ad spend to reflect  this approaching viewing parity. Not so. According to data from Nielson, in 2013, $78 billion was spent on TV ads,  compared to just $5.72 billion for online video.

Reach and Influence

One reason for the relative disparity in ad spending is the data-supported  perception held by many industry insiders that television advertising tends to  influence audiences more than ads in other media. As reported in eMarketer, an August 2013 survey from AYTM  Market Research found that 83.7% of US internet users said TV commercials were  the most effective form of advertising. As further data from Nielson illustrates, in 2013, 62% of  consumers indicated that they trust ads on television and 68% take action  based on TV ads.

Balancing the reach and influence of TV has been the difficulty of  advertisers and marketers to collect and accurately measure data that ties TV  viewership to buying habits. By comparison, digital video content, and the  online (mobile) interaction data it generates, is more easily measured.

Digital Video Ad Convergence

What is needed is a way to integrate the two, to infuse the rich viewing data  and audience metrics characteristic of digital video into the vast reach of TV  advertising. This was the very topic explored by Nielson in its recent  report, Video Convergence: Buying, Selling and Trusting Across  Platforms, which brought together researchers, marketers and C-suite  executives from all sides of the media industry to discuss the future of  video advertising.

While the entire report is full of insight, I found the following statement  to be of particular relevance:

Now, TV as an ad platform has started to absorb many of the  characteristics of the digital ad world (i.e. rich viewing data, enhanced  measurement techniques, etc.)…our participants agreed that this presents TV  companies, which already have large audiences, valuable content and tens of  billions of dollars in advertising revenue, with the opportunity to be pivotal  players in the future of video advertising.

The Nielson report went on to form this general conclusion about Digital  Video Ad Convergence:

For this convergence to take place, the advertising industry will need to  embrace video as a platform agnostic medium. Then video, not the delivery  channels, becomes the medium.

In other words, to regard TV and digital video as separate media is to make a  distinction without a difference. If television and digital video are truly  converging into a unified, multiscreen media environment, the company or  companies that figure out how to make this an actionable and operational for  advertisers and marketers stand to make a ton of money.

Turning Digital Video Ad Convergence into reality would probably involve some  big industry players; it would likely require a concerted effort of a top video  advertising platform and a leading, data-driven TV market research company…

Nielson+Videology = Convergence in Action

On March 3rd of 2014, PR Newswire issued a release announcing the direct integration of  Nielson’s TV data into Videology’s video advertising platform, “which will  allow true cross-screen planning, buying and measurement across linear  television and online video. This integration is the first of its kind for  creating a unified solution where advertisers can most effectively and  efficiently plan, buy and measure ad campaigns across linear television and  digital video platforms.”

In the release, Scott Ferber, Chairman and CEO of Videology was quoted as  saying, “…this year marks a tipping point in that half of the video  advertising placed through our platform will come from television buyers, and  half will come through traditional digital channels. The convergence between TV  and video is now fully recognized by advertisers…”

As you may have surmised, Videology is one of the world’s largest video  advertising platforms. They’re also a privately-held, venture-backed company  whose investors include Comcast Ventures. According to Crunchbase, Comcast Ventures is the private venture capital  affiliate of Comcast Corporation. Made up of the recently combined Comcast  Interactive Capital and NBCUniversal Peacock Equity Fund, Comcast Ventures “invests in innovative businesses that represent the next generation of  entertainment, communications and digital technology.”

Well how about that.

Comcast Convergence

It looks like Comcast is all about convergence. Lest we forget, Comcast, the  nation’s largest cable company, is in the process of buying Time Warner  Cable, the nation’s second largest cable company, for a cool $45.2 billion. The  proposed merger would combine more than 70 million subscribers, or roughly 30%  of the cable viewers in the U.S, under the Comcast banner. On the online side,  it would also contain about 40% of all high-speed broadband Internet subscribers  in the U.S., effectively controlling both sides of the digital video ad delivery  equation (TV and online video). I’m not quite sure what this means for the  future video advertising, but it sure seems relevant to mention.

The Bottom Line

So what’s the bottom line? Where does Digital Video Ad Convergence mean for  businesses and marketers? If companies like Videology and others can deliver on  their promise of offering a unified solution, if they can really help  advertisers and marketers efficiently plan, buy and measure ad campaigns across  all television and digital video platforms, online video ad revenues may  dramatically increase, and TV advertising may enjoy a bit of a renaissance.

Regardless of the speed or trajectory of Digital Video Ad Convergence, one  thing is for sure. All the smug digital marketers (semi-guilty) who thought “traditional” TV advertising was dead better think again. Soon enough, your  clients will be expecting you to work with crossover companies like Videology to  advertise on all video platforms- including, yes, the Boob Tube.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/digital-marketing/long-live-boob-tube-digital-video-ad-convergence-keeps-tv-relevant-0812219#w2VYjFMqxICjDDEI.99

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