Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Will Video Save the Radio Star?

Here are some more of the video panel highlights from the IAB Mixx Conference yesterday in Toronto:

Measurement of Video - Available but Under-analyzed

Chris Johnston, Director of Advertising Product Management for Brightcove talked about the demand for publishers to build out their own branded players and the various techniques that are being adopted today. As videos are distributed through multiple channels, the branding of the players has come into vogue.

Brightcove is a Cambridge, MA based company that empowers content owners to reach their audiences directly through the Internet. The company also helps publishers enrich their sites with syndicated video programming.

In terms of media opportunities, the idea of wrapping the players or branding them is also a popular media tool:

Chris talked about the opportunity for the long tail and had some great insight on the measurement of video today citing that the metrics are available but that publishers have a long way to go when it comes to analysis and optimization.

Yahoo!'s 3 Act Approach to Video Ads

Chris Jaffe, Director of Advertising User Experience at Yahoo! Showed a demo of the “3 Act” play now available to advertisers. The videos are treated with a 3 second bumper encouraging user action. Act 2 has a persistent interactive banner across the top of the video (small and non-obtrusive) encouraging roll-over activity. Lastly, there’s a rich media microsite attached to the “play” to further encourage interaction with viewers. Chris said that users tend to spend on average, 25% more time on these video ads than the traditional pre-roll ads and see up to 10 times higher click through rates. Chris also alluded to an Overlay technology that was in the works…stay tuned (or read my post on Overlay TV).

Localization of Radio & Video

Neil Sweeney, SVP of StreamTheWorld North America made a compelling presentation showing how radio has been making a revival online. I was impressed by the local application Neil was describing. After hearing so much about local directories using video to enhance their offering, it was refreshing to see a different application of audio/video localization that makes sense in a non-distruptive user behavior sort of way.

I was able to spend some time with Neil to discuss the local opportunity in detail and was truly impressed with the turn around some of the local stations are making in the face of serious budget declines experienced throughout the traditional radio medium. Perhaps the most exciting development to come was the one of streaming audio/video to iPhones based on GPS location. This dream goes back to the Google acquistion of dMarc and the strategy that Eric Schmidt alluded to a couple of years ago of localizing radio ads via GPS and connecting the AdWords (or in this case, AdTunes, AdRadio or Ads period) technology to the experience. The technology is available but the content and advertising has some development to do before it matures as a viable mainstream media option. I had been waiting for this during my CMR days and I'm happy to see it's finally arriving to the scene as another viable media option to offer local advertisers.

Neil talked about CBS’s strategy and how successful it has been in transforming ordinary local radio stations into radio portals that provide rich streaming experiences as well as the ability for listeners to view interviews as they are happening in the radio booths. CBS is one of the largest radio clients handled through StreamTheWorld but the Montreal based company works with a number of local radio stations to provide streaming services that push the envelope on signal pick up, transmission and information sourcing.

StreamTheWorld, as part of its service, attaches information like “song currently being played” to their transmissions. When I heard this I started to imagine the possibility of performing real time audio searches and tuning in to songs as they are being played or interviews or any other live content as it happens.

Based on my discussion with Neil, it looked like video might just come back to save the battered radio star.

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