It's that time of year. Festive lights cover windows and lawns. People buy trees to put in their living rooms and unpack fake versions from boxes in their basements. Holiday specials are on TV. Lists are made for Santa. Family visits and travel plans start to take shape.
Popular culture often provides a secular interpretation of the meaning and celebration of Christmas, emphasizing its significance as a time of peace, goodwill, friends and consumption. Whether in the form of movies or malls, these interpretations have made Christmas more accessible to people by not requiring a connection to Christianity.
In that spirit, I've compiled my top 10 list of representations of Christmas in popular culture. Read on, then leave a comment and tell us what's on your pop culture Christmas Top 10.
Continue reading "A Pop Culture Christmas Top 10" »
A few days ago, Nielsen released a report where they estimated that 58 million Americans had seen advertising on their phones in the last month. Even though no one would debate that's a lot of people, it represents 23%, less than a quarter, of subscribers in the U.S.
And that number might be a little high.
According to Nielsen's site, the findings were based on a survey of 22,000 people who were "active mobile data users who used at least one non-voice mobile service in the fourth quarter," suggesting that the respondents may be more open to or better able to receive advertising in a variety of formats than the average subscriber.
Clearly, there is growing interest in mobile as an advertising channel, but the study found that just 10% of respondents thought that "advertising on their mobile device was acceptable."
Continue reading "Mobile Marketing: More Ads on the Go? (Part I)" »
Five Key Components of Viral Marketing and ARGs
You can certainly have a viral marketing campaign without an ARG, but I've been thinking that leveraging the common elements of viral marketing with the concepts behind an ARG while executing the campaign could really engage audiences and create significant buzz in the popular press, especially when the field is becoming more crowded and the ideas less novel.
There seem to be five key components shared by successful viral marketing and ARGs:
Continue reading "Crossing Over: Viral Marketing and Alternate Reality Games (2 of 2)" »
One of the things I enjoy about working with C3 is that you actually get to see many of the concepts and tools that we study applied in practice. How I discovered a new ARG, Find the Lost Ring, made me think about four common elements of viral marketing and alternate reality games (ARGs) - two things I've been thinking about of late - and how these concepts can be used together to build a franchise or a brand.
Continue reading "Crossing Over: Viral Marketing and Alternate Reality Games (1 of 2)" »
In a post earlier today, I began a comparison between the Super Bowl and the Oscars and the difference in emphasis of advertisements for each. I wanted to continue that discussion here.
While I referenced some fundamental differences between the two events and their place in American culture, I think the other part of the hype problem can be changed.
Even though two major brands, Dove and MasterCard, incorporated opportunities for interaction in their advertising through a UGC contest where viewers could vote and the announcement of a new promotional contest, I realized I'd never heard of either initiative before.
Continue reading "Buzz, UGC, and Advertising at the Oscars (2 of 2)" »
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how advertising rates and viewership for the Super Bowl have changed over time, and mused a little bit on how to draw viewers into the ads during other major telecasts. Watching Sunday's broadcast of the 80th Academy Awards, even though I'm very interested in advertising, I realized that I really wasn't thinking about, or watching for, the commercials. I asked my friends why we don't look at Oscar ads as such a big deal. Everyone shrugged.
So, I began to wonder why.
Continue reading "Buzz, UGC, and Advertising at the Oscars (1 of 2)" »
On Monday, Online Media Daily reported that Revenue Science, a behavioral targeting (BT) marketing firm, called for participants in an initiative it is calling the Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortium (BTSC), a group of industry practitioners and thought leaders that would define BT, set standards for data collection and use, define best practices, and identify some common metrics.
What does that have to do with convergence culture? I would argue quite a lot.
Continue reading "Convergence Culture and Behavioral Targeting" »
In my previous post, I said, "How prevalent streaming becomes in relation to other methods (DVD, VOD, broadcast, downloads) will ultimately depend on the collective movement of five interdependent forces: content creators (including writers), technological change, cable companies, advertisers and audiences." While I looked at the first of those forces--content creators--in that post earlier today, I wanted to elaborate on each of the other four aspects I mentioned as well.
Let's face it, most people still watch television on their TV, and moving content from your computer to the television screen isn't exactly simple at the moment. There are definitely options, but they aren't obvious, simple, or convenient for most people (myself included). They also require high-speed internet connections, relatively new televisions, relatively new computers, and the know-how to set them up.
Continue reading "Pulling Out the Crystal Ball: Is Streaming the Way of the Future? (2 of 2)" »
There are a lot of lingering questions following the writer's strike. Will TV audiences return? How will networks recoup the lost revenue of the last three months? Will TV meet the same fate as newspapers and see advertisers move to greener new media pastures? Could NBC's reaction be the beginning of the end for the fall premiere season and the up fronts?
These are all interesting questions, but one sentence in this Washington Post article caught my attention Sunday afternoon, referring to the contentious and complicated issue of writers' payment for streaming content online: "[t]he guild, in turn, held fast, arguing that writers had to share in the profits of what may become the preeminent way to view filmed entertainment."
I think this leads to the most interesting question of all. Will streaming episodes online become the primary way that people view television content? And, perhaps equally as important, will that be a viable way for networks and producers to monetize content? I would argue that the shift is is not, as some suggest, a foregone conclusion.
Continue reading "Pulling Out the Crystal Ball: Is Streaming the Way of the Future? (1 of 2)" »
In my previous post on advertising and the Super Bowl, I observed that household share has been flat for this major American cultural event since the late 1990s, but the actual number of viewers has increased almost every year. I wanted to share some more insight with you regarding the data from Super Bowls throughout history.
CPMs for Super Bowl Ads have been climbing, especially since the late 1990s.
More people are watching the Super Bowl, but CPMs (the cost of reaching one thousand viewers) have been growing, in nominal and real terms, quite rapidly since the late 1970s (before cable and the Internet) and took off in the late 1990s.
Continue reading "Watching for the Ads: Consumer Culture, Engagement and the Super Bowl (2 of 2)" »
Perhaps because I didn't grow up in the U.S., and definitely because I am interested in television and advertising, I am absolutely fascinated by the Super Bowl.
It's a major sporting and cultural event in this country, complete with the urban legend, social elements (plans almost take on the importance of NYE in some circles), and consumerism that marks any holiday.
Consumer culture is alive and well in the Super Bowl. Americans spent an estimated $9.5 billion on related expenses this year, acquiring about 2.4 million HDTVs, according to a report in Cynopsis Digital.
Continue reading "Watching for the Ads: Consumer Culture, Engagement and the Super Bowl (1 of 2)" »
Based on the observations from our YouTube coding project presented in my previous post yesterday afternoon, I'm trying to formulate some hypotheses to work with as I delve more deeply into the research for a project I'm working on with the Consortium on viral marketing, interactivity and film, and we begin to analyze the coding we've done to date for YouTube videos. To recap, the most prevalent observations I found were that:
1 - What's most popular is often taken from "traditional" media.
2 - YouTube has its own celebrities - and soap operas - that spur user participation.
3 - Webrities and traditional don't always mix.
So far, I have two hypotheses. First, the most effective way to promote something with YouTube is not with trailers and commercials. Second, YouTube is about YouTube users, not copyright infringement.
Continue reading "YouTube: (De)Coding Culture Online (2 of 2)" »
Earlier this month, the C3 team took on the task of coding our sample of YouTube videos for our upcoming content analysis project. After recovering from spending many hours hunched over with my headphones plugged into my MacBook, with Excel spreadsheet and html archive files always open, I have had some time to reflect. This post is about my preliminary observations on what I have seen so far, that I thought I'd share here. Granted, the sample was small, but I'll be curious to see if any of these observations or conclusions are shown to be true across the group's sample.
Continue reading "YouTube: (De)Coding Culture Online (1 of 2)" »
Yesterday, I wrote about all the new stories arising about online video and copyright: Google's YouTube announcement, the media company pact, the shutdown of TV Links, and NBC closing out its YouTube channel. I wanted to follow that piece up with the predictions I alluded to last night, as well as some recommendations:
1. The industry may actually be ready to work together - for now.
No, pacts to protect and defend copyright are not new, but we all saw what happened to the recording industry. It's very difficult to quantify revenue that one would have had, but that's not really stopping anyone. Overall, I expect more lawsuits filed by multiple plaintiffs for exorbitant damages, just to make a point and to tell television advertisers that the networks aren't allowing CPMs to increase without trying to get their audience back. Expect the creation of an industry-sanctioned YouTube-style site. How customers will react to leaving the sites they know to go to one they don't for content is yet to be seen, but I would not be overly alarmed, particularly if Hulu gets a reasonably large amount of traffic, if other networks or content producers jump on board. This leads me to my second prediction.
Continue reading "Copyright Crackdown: Coalitions, Aggregation, and Audiences (2 of 2)" »
Viacom suing Google for a billion dollars may be old news, but the ten days have marked a sudden and a little bit startling push of the big media companies and government to defend copyright of video on the web. These events, although not totally unexpected, may have long-term implications for audiences in how we access television content online, and signal a need for some changes in how media companies relate to their audiences.
What happened? Replaying the last 10 days
There were four important developments this week: Google's YouTube announcement, the media company pact, the shutdown of TV Links, and NBC closing out its YouTube channel.
Continue reading "Copyright Crackdown: Coalitions, Aggregation, and Audiences (1 of 2)" »
This week marked some significant events in the quest for a measure of engagement with and consumption of advertising. Announcements included the first round of C3 metrics, a new ad-insertion software company backed by some major players, and a partnership between Nielsen and ESPN on total audience measurement. These new developments bring them a number of new implications, but the old questions of what really constitutes engagement, and with what, remain.
A question raised in my mind about C3 is if we should be looking at engagement with TV programming or with ads, or both, and how could we be looking at those metrics in a holistic way? Although the collective effect of content and advertising may matter, there are still no guarantees.
Continue reading "Live Viewing + 3 Days via DVR + Visiting Transmedia Brand Extensions = More Questions about Engagement" »
Yesterday, a number of media outlets reported that General Electric (GE) was thinking about selling NBC Universal following the anticipated ad sales bonanza of the Beijing Olympics.
In this post, I'd like to explore why GE would sell NBC and who might have an interest in buying it.
What's on offer?
Just like its parent, NBC Universal is a big and diverse conglomerate. Although we often think of "NBC" as the television network, it also has businesses that span the media and entertainment industries. There is Universal Studios in the film space, Universal Parks and resorts covering tourism, and iVillage, among others, in new media. NBC's most notable expansion lately has been into cable; it owns a slew of cable networks from Telemundo to the USA Network to MSNBC.
Continue reading "Peacock on the Block? NBC Universal Faces a Post-Olympic Sale" »
Temporal Shift...and a Proposition
This is where the temporal dimension of watching television comes in. The audience's contribution to the TV value chain is their time and attention. C3 is counting time and attention, but not in a way that I believe really measures how much someone paid attention to the ad or to the show, which would get us closer to forming a link (albeit still tenuous) around the effectiveness of TV advertising relative to the program that surrounds it. Metrics that do that would, in my view, increase every group's level of accountability to the others.
What should be measured is not just a question of eyeball volume, but a question of when people watch a program and how "engaged" they are with it, and I think that has something to do with time, but in a different context than it used to be counted. Several studies have indicated that an engaged audience pays more attention to advertising. So what if, instead of simply adding up the viewers from the broadcast date to the 3rd day DVR playback, we had a metric that weighted audiences based on an estimate of their engagement level before the airing of the next episode?
Continue reading "And Now, a Metric for Our Sponsors--New Metrics, Temporal Shifts, and Engagement (2 of 2)" »
As the fall season begins in earnest with some surprising ratings, the ghost of upfronts past has reappeared, as well as renewed murmurs for "accountability" in television ad sales. Then, Nielsen made two big announcements: that C3, the de facto new currency that measures commercials watched live plus 3 days of playback, would take a week longer to report, and that ratings for multiple airings of a show will be reported in aggregate. In the next two posts, I will investigate how this shift away from temporal metrics may influence future conversations about viewer engagement and the market for television advertising, and if this does actually make anyone more accountable.
Something Old, Something New, Something Illogical
These new metrics signal a quiet but significant change in how viewership is measured. It is significant because it is acknowledging that TV viewing is moving outside the flow of the medium, the temporality rendered less relevant. This is an acknowledgement of changing consumer behavior, but are these changes also moving us closer to metrics that are more about engagement than spectatorship?
Continue reading "And Now, a Metric for Our Sponsors--New Metrics, Temporal Shifts, and Engagement (1 of 2)" »
Nielsen, the media rating giant, recently launched www.heynielsen.com, a site where anyone with an internet connection can set up a profile and comment on TV, movies, web sites, personalities and music. What makes this different from the millions of fan sites and blogs already online is that - it's well, Nielsen, a name that carries a fair bit of clout - but also that it's using data from its other properties, Billboard.com, HollywoodReporter.com and BlogPulse.com to develop the Hey! Nielsen Score which, according to the website, is "a real-time indicator of a topic's impact, influence, and value". Rather than deliver a single number and ranking, I will argue that the site's purpose is ultimately less obvious and more strategic.
The concept itself isn't exactly new. The company has had a product called BuzzMetrics for at least a year now, a measurement tool that gauges reactions in user-generated media to specific products. There are products with similar aims on the market from other companies as well.
Continue reading "Hey! Nielsen--What's the Metric?" »
Digital distribution and network television branding may seem like strange bedfellows, but a recent announcement by NBC suggests to me that they might be a better match than expected.
Betting on Business Models - Will It Work?
Is the new NBC strategy a viable model? Parts of it definitely are, but there are some hurdles to jump first.
One that stands out to me is the pay to download model. More and more, media companies are shying away from paid online content, The New York Times recently joining their ranks. Granted, a TV show is more expensive to produce than a newspaper article, but that should not be the rationale for charging consumers a fee, much less setting the price. When the marginal cost of letting one more person see the show is basically zero and it's very easily available elsewhere (albeit often illegally) for free, next to a lot of other content audiences want to see that doesn't belong to NBC, and not tied to a cool device like the iPod, pricing content is a slippery slope.
Continue reading "The Odd Couple: Digital Distribution and Network Television Branding, Together at Last? (2 of 2)" »
Digital distribution and network television branding may seem like strange bedfellows, but a recent announcement by NBC suggests to me that they might be a better match than expected.
Eliminating the Middleman and Branding by Association
On Wednesday, the network announced a new service called NBC Direct, which would enable users to download free,copies of prime time content to their PCs. The files would "expire" in a week.
The service would be ad-supported, with an "unskippable" commercial running before each "chapter" of the program, although no sponsors or advertising partnerships have yet been named, according to MediaPost.
Continue reading "The Odd Couple: Digital Distribution and Network Television Branding, Together at Last? (1 of 2)" »
If the stories about Apple's recent talks with Hollywood studios around providing streaming video "rentals" are accurate, the industry seems to be taking another step toward models of temporary access over ownership of digital film. Does this signal an end (or abatement) of the digital distribution-related fears of the film industry? Will digital video-on-demand become a widespread reality, given the recent series of deals and acquisitions?
Beyond the much ballyhooed need to "do something" in digital distribution channels, particularly in streaming movies over the internet lately, it's already proven to be a profitable way to make money on films post-theatrical release. According to the Wall Street Journal, the DVD sale market is worth about $16B, but it is in decline. Meanwhile, margins on cable VOD are 60-70%, compared to 15-20% on video store rentals. If one assumes that going through iTunes carries a similar per unit cost, likewise without the unease about unauthorized copying, it seems like a very worthwhile route.
Continue reading "Streaming Cinema: Contemplating Hollywood and the New VOD" »
Earlier this month, I wrote a series of posts about what was then titled "New Site," the joint NewsCorp/NBCU online video venture.
As of late last week, New Site's real name was announced: Hulu. "Why Hulu?" asked the President and CEO of Hulu in an open letter posted on the site. "Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself...strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building." Funnily enough, I've heard similar things said about network branding campaigns. What's going on?
Continue reading "Would You Hulu? New Site Gets a New Name, But the Old Brands Are Conspicuously Absent" »
So, what's NBC to do, in light of what I wrote about earlier today?
The domestic and international markets are crowded with American programming, which is incredibly diverse. Even though NBC is the oldest American network, it did not enjoy a monopoly on American popular culture on television as the BBC did for many years, making an overall brand building exercise easier.
At the same time, NBC grew much more like the BBC, with interests in network TV and radio with a bigger and more general audience than Turner networks had, at least initially. As such, it is caught in an interesting situation: build out the overall brand, or concentrate on known "sub-brands" as it expands internationally.
Continue reading "NBC Acquires Sparrowhawk: Conglomeration Marches On, But Where's the Brand Going? (2 of 2)" »
Yesterday NBC Universal announced that it acquired Sparrowhawk Holdings, a global portfolio of cable television channels that will give NBCU a greater presence in markets in the US, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East with the Hallmark Channel.
Although the exact amount of money changing hands was not disclosed, one report put the figure around 175 million pounds, or just under $353 million. As you may have read in my post earlier this month about New Site, the joint venture between NBC and FOX to create a legal aggregator video streaming site for their content, Providence Equity Partners also has a 10% stake, worth about $100 million, in that project as well.
Why is this significant?
Continue reading "NBC Acquires Sparrowhawk: Conglomeration Marches On, But Where's the Brand Going? (1 of 2)" »
Why partner with FOX, a competing network with weaker web traffic, but consistently strong TV ratings, particularly for reality programs? It may be partly circumstantial; Viacom was originally in talks to join "new site", but pulled out and brought the $1 billion suit against YouTube.
As the Times article mentioned in the first part of this series cited , it may make the project more palatable for the giant conglomerates behind the media companies to be partnered with another conglomerate and an equity firm. But it also signals a willingness of traditional rivals to work together in digital distribution, perhaps a sign of consensus on how concerned the industry is for its long-term health.
To aggregate or not to aggregate? Producers know that content has a way of appearing on the web, whether or not they intend it to be there, as demonstrated by the recent discovery of new pilots circulating on the torrents, and that people want to access content online quickly and conveniently.
Continue reading "New Site: To Aggregate or Not to Aggregate? (4 of 4)" »
So, what could all of this mean in terms of strategy for NBC? I think the removal of Heroes from the site is a somewhat misguided attempt to get people to buy the DVDs or go to iTunes, when putting them online free of charge weeks before the fall lineup premiers might actually encourage people to join the series in season two and help the programs ratings and following in the longer term.
And people who really want to watch Heroes may now turn to the torrents. A recent study found that most Americans don't like downloading video, so the actions with Heroes may also be a bid to get people who would have watched online in the habit of paying for content directly.
Continue reading "New Site: To Aggregate or Not to Aggregate? (3 of 4)" »
"New site" may not be a YouTube killer. However, there are two problems facing the networks, in my opinion, that are bigger than YouTube, two-fold, and relate back to an essay I wrote earlier this year about network television branding.
The first problem is that the way that consumer habits and technology have evolved have pushed content advertising to a variety of sources, on-and-off-line.
NBC, which I will focus on because it has a strong network-branded online presence, cross-promotes and airs programs on its cable networks (USA, Bravo, Sci Fi), and has agreements with iTunes, YouTube, MSN and AOL and sells programs on DVD, which are also circulated through Netflix. (See this story from Jon Lafayette in TelevisionWeek last September.)
Continue reading "New Site: To Aggregate or Not to Aggregate? (2 of 4)" »
"New Site" is not new. The joint, billion-dollar, working-titled venture between NBC Universal and News Corp. was announced almost six months ago. Late last week, however, The New York Times reported that Providence Equity Partners, a "media investment firm," bought a 10% stake in "new site" for $100 million.
In the next four posts, I will first do a quick analysis of NBC's current distribution strategy, then look at each of the two problems facing the networks, and finally examine why NBC has partnered with FOX to ultimately address the question: "To Aggregate or not to aggregate?"
So, why is NBC, which already has a popular network website partnering with FOX, which doesn't, to spend $1 billion (now effectively $900m) on "new site," and why is Providence contributing $100 million dollars to the effort?
Continue reading "New Site: To Aggregate or Not to Aggregate? (1 of 4)" »
Yesterday Veronis Suhler Stevenson and PQ Media released a report that predicts that internet or "alternative" ad spending will become the "leading ad medium", surpassing newspapers by 2011. There were a number of interesting findings and projections in this report, such as huge expected growth in blog, podcast and RSS advertising; growth in advertising on so-called "pure-play" sites; record communications spending in 2006 and beyond; and a slight decline in time spent with media and the consumption patterns of audiences.
However, because I am primarily interested in television networks, one finding in particular peaked my interest. The report was that audiences are "migrating away" from ad-supported media, spent less 6.8% less time with this type of product (ie. networks, newspapers) in 2006 than they did in 2001, and more 19.8% more time with products they support directly (video games, and (I presume) subscription based Internet service), while overall media usage declined in the period by about half a percent in that period.
Continue reading "The Battle of the Business Models - Subscription versus Ad-Supported" »
Is copyright infringement enforcement across the board the best strategy for content producers? Or, would enabling some illegal sharing actually provide a benefit? The developments in the last week or two in the various lawsuits are indicating to me that a desire to stamp out and punish piracy is trumping the potential benefits letting users push content quickly and unfettered through social networks and other "web 2.0" sites, the most compelling benefit of these sites and a key means for fans to add value to media properties. The desire to adhere to traditional revenue models, boilerplate rights agreements and, perhaps most of all, an inability to qualify the value added by YouTube users, may ultimately be more of a hindrance than a help to producers in promoting their product.
Startling revelation? Perhaps not, but it's worth considering in the context of this week's developments.
Continue reading "Pirates vs. Ninjas: Valuing Fans and YouTube Users" »
In my view, there are a few observations, some echoing those made in Sam Ford's post last week that we can draw from the NY Times incident and fan behavior around the HP7 release more generally:
Reaction against spoilers aren't so much about the story as they are about community "codes." Looking at some of the fan sites and comments, I was struck by how often it was suggested that people who had a spoiler needed to warn others if they were going to share it. Even though some fans see spoilers as abhorrent, they seem to be acceptable if they are properly marked and the risk of stumbling upon them therefore reduced. That said, a great deal of objection also came from the "premature" presence of spoilers, before the book was officially released. And if the alleged copies of the book's text that were floating around the Internet were actually fan fiction, fan writing in the context of an impending and high-profile release does not seem to be acceptable. In this case, adherence and "respect" for the official release date was explained as what defined a "true" Harry Potter fan.
The teaser-spoiler distinction is one of perception. I have not read the book yet, so I am purposely staying away from reading reviews. However, as the debate on the NY Times blog demonstrated, any mention of a plot point could potentially be seen as a spoiler by some, a teaser by others.
Continue reading "Does Peeking Spoil the Fun? (2 of 2)" »
**NOTE: THIS POST DOES NOT CONTAIN HARRY POTTER SPOILERS, DOES CONTAIN A STAR WARS SPOILER, MAY PROVIDE FURTHER INSIGHT INTO FAN COMMUNITIES**
Behind every wildly popular, episodic narrative stands the treat of of a spoiler. Harry Potter is definitely proof of the rule. Some of the reports and commentary online around the book's release and the presence of spoilers of various types provides some insight into fan culture.
The other day, I found a short blog entry on the New York Times website about Harry Potter fans who were camping out in front of a bookstore in Picadilly Circus. Curious about what would drive someone to voluntarily sleep on the pavement in downtown London, I read on. But what really caught my attention was not the post, but the comments after it. They weren't really about the story at all, but a debate about whether or not the New York Times review of the seventh Harry Potter Book, The Deathly Hallows, was a plot spoiler.
Continue reading "Does Peeking Spoil the Fun? (1 of 2)" »
Earlier today, I looked at the issues of metrics surrounding this year's upfronts, particularly regarding the question of DVR viewing. At the end of that post, I moved the conversation toward one of the hot "new" words in the day in the media industry: engagement.
The engagement hypothesis is that the engaged viewer is more likely to watch the program carefully, devoting their full attention to it, and possibly the accompanying product placement and commercials. In theory, if the message is right, the engaged viewer is more likely to get the message, get it repeatedly, and buy the product. With the advent of the Internet, audiences and producers have more opportunities to interact with one another. Producers have more opportunities to create relatively inexpensive, broad, on demand forums and mechanisms for interaction with their brand or their media property. Thus, more and more ways to engage consumers and get them to the set to watch the program at least 3 days from the original airing.
Intuitively, this all makes sense. However, engagement is also one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot, there is lots of agreement that engagement is good, but no clear cut definition of what it actually is. So, for all of our measurement capability, this concept is extremely tricky to quantify. Even if you have a definition, how do you effectively boil a passionate devotion to the X-Files into a number? And this is all before you even think to tackle the daunting task of establishing a clear causal link to buying patterns around sponsor products. Ironically, it all brings us back to a question of which matters more, program ratings and engagement or commercial ratings and engagement?
Continue reading "Metrics Go Upfront (2 of 2)" »
The upfronts may have wrapped last week, but the discussion they highlighted, on the demand for measuring and monetizing television content on air and online, looks like it will continue for the forseeable future. So, now that the dust is beginning to clear (a little) what can we make of what's transpired and what's ahead?
In short, a lot of options, a lot of speculation, and nothing really conclusive. I want to examine this issue in depth in a couple of posts here on the blog today.
I would argue that this uncertainty is reflected in the revenue from this year's upfront. After all the haggling over, claims of a small victory were made when it was revealed that the nets brought in 3% more ad revenue than they did at last year's up front, excluding syndication. Yet, inflation was also 3%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Continue reading "Metrics Go Upfront (1 of 2)" »
See my first post on this subject here.
Another problem is how advertising engagement was measured. Using copy test results doesn't measure engagement, but how much people liked an ad, which is not the same thing. I've liked plenty of ads for products I don't need, don't really like, and don't buy. I have also seen a number of studies that have suggested that people may like an ad - and the copy test results may therefore be good - but that doesn't mean they will remember what the product being advertised actually was, or necessarily buy it because of their engagement in the ad.
This brings us to the sales data, which is vitally important in demonstrating that causal link. Ideally, one would track the buying patterns of the people in the study to establish a causal link between those patterns and engagement with the ad. Some qualitative data from the group would also be helpful. However, I'm not sure what sales data was used. General sales data would be extremely problematic in a model, because it would not reflect the control group from whom the original data was collected, and therefore not demonstrate a clear link between engagement and behavior.
Continue reading "Challenges of Measuring Engagement (2 of 2)" »
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How precisely to quantify and place a value on viewer engagement, is still, at best, an inexact science. Advertisers, networks, investors and content producers would all very much like to know what an engaged viewer is worth to them. It's a question I've personally pondered in some of my own research, at school and at work.
My usual Monday morning haze cleared when I found "What's the Value of an Engaged Viewer?" in my daily scan of Advertising Age online. I read it with eager anticipation, but walked away with more questions than answers.
The article describes the results of some new research by Omnicom Group's OMD that was presented to an Advertising Research Federation forum in June. According to the article, the research concluded "[o]ne engaged viewer is worth eight regular viewers", as "engagement with media and advertising drive sales, but it could also drive sales more than media spending levels". The study also found that factoring engagement into advertising analysis for the 3 financial services companies involved in the study increases ROI between 15-20% over models that rely on ratings. To come to these conclusions, they used a "proprietary engagement measure" to assess engagement with media and copy-test results to measure engagement with advertising.
Continue reading "Challenges of Measuring Engagement (1 of 2)" »