Friday, April 24, 2009

IAB Canada...Video In Canada Event 2009 - Part Two...

Here are more notes from this week's IAB Canada Video In Canada Event. This post covers the perspectives from the Canadian broadcasters. All three presentations showed a great deal of confidence in the future of online video. It was clear that online video was booked, boarded and has taken-off...

Content Distribution: Secrets For Driving Reach + Monetization

Dan Hill, Senior Director, Digital Programming, CBC English gave an in depth presentation on how CBC views the new online video distribution platforms.

Here are the three salient points they are focusing on:

  • Drive audiences to broadcast and digital.
  • Use new methods of attracting audiences (e.g social).
Creating Deeper Engagement:
  • Use of digital content to form deeper bonds between audiences and CBC.
  • Increased loyalty, participation, community, public value, brand awareness and advertising value.
  • Opportunity to “monetize” the brand
Extended Distribution:
  • Enable audiences to access core Radio & TV content wherever and whenever across multiple platforms.
  • Maintain or grow audience / relevance against fragmenting market.
To reach their objectives, CBC dealing with the following challenges (opportunities):
  • Content Development - They need to create content that can be re-formatted, re-purposed and re-packaged to exist on a myriad of platforms.

  • Focus on Core Business - Success depends heavily on the network’s ability to match audiences to content (targeting) and to adopt new methods of promoting the content (viral etc.)

  • Windowing - There’s a need to manage the content release across a complex portfolio of platforms.

  • New Gatekeepers - Work with the new gatekeepers of distribution – that include traditional and narrowcasting to on-demand.

  • Diversification - Revenue opportunities come from many sources including advertising, syndication, purchase, rent, affiliate, partnerships etc. Diversification strategies are data intensive (data mining, revenue sharing, royalties etc.)
I really enjoyed this slide (among others...) using "being Erica" as an example of distribution:

Hill ended his presentation with some powerful questions that are challenging the network:
  • How do platforms cannibalize each other?
  • When is it important for content to be only available within our environment?
  • Is there a market for professional video content that is not tethered to TV or motion pictures?
Online Video Integrations and Multi-platform Media Executions

Stephan Argent, Vice President, Digital Media, CTV Inc. talked about how “video online and television create an unparalleled opportunity.”.

Argent pointed out that CTV’s (or any traditional television network’s) key differentiator isn’t just online video but that it is “television on the internet”. He cited that the internet has provided television with a highly responsive medium that encourages active participation from their audiences.

Over 1 million Canadians engaged with us to watch TV on last month. CTV served over 300 million videos in 2008 and they anticipate that this number will double in 2009.

Using the 10 X multiple, Argent cited that CTV ranks at similar levels to the size of hulu in the US.

CTV gives a lot of credit to its proprietary platform technology as it allows the network to “respond nimbly and customize solutions”.

CTV recently partnered with Akamai and Microsoft to launch the first ever, Canadian network HD trial online.

Argent discussed the online environment as a conduit to a “meaningful interaction between shows, audiences, and marketers” and shared several nice case studies:

So You Think You Can Dance Canada & Clover Leaf Energy Zone
  • Fully branded engagement opportunity
  • User generated content upload
  • Voting
  • Comments
  • And views display
Sponsorship Results:
  • Over 400,000 views
  • 434 submissions
  • And an average time spent of more than 12 minutes
The Hills & 17 Again / H&M
  • Over 1.3 Million streams in one week
  • 52% increase over previous season
TSN Trade Deadline Day
  • Multiple Sponsors
  • Close to 1 Million unique visitors for this 1-day event
  • Over 500,000 streams
  • A peak of 35,000 concurrent live streams
  • Average view time of 24 minutes
To wrap things up, Argent said that despite the advertising dollar split between search, classifieds and online video, television online delivers better than any other online advertising opportunity that’s out there today. (I’ll follow up on efficiencies later…)

The Rise Of Long-form Video: Project Runway's Advertiser Integration + Custom Content Builds For L'Oreal

Paul Burns, Vice-President Digital, Canwest Broadcasting presented an impressive case study showing the value of full-length content online.

Burns took us through some points on what Canwest knows about their online visitors:
  • 44% go straight to video
  • 16+ videos per user/per month
  • 40 min + monthly time spent/user viewing videos
  • 80% of streams are full-length TV shows
  • 4x growth with the video centre
Here’s a summary of the Project Runway Case Study

Project Runway is an award
winning American reality television series presented on Canwest which focuses on fashion design and is hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum. The contestants compete with each other to create the best clothes and are usually restricted in time, materials, and theme. Their designs are judged and one or more designers are eliminated each week.

Canwest had three objectives for the Project Runway series:
  1. Grow video streams using both long and short form content
  2. Drive brand integration using both long and short form content
  3. Maintain the quality – regardless of length
Canwest created custom content for L'Oreal and made it available to visitors using long and short form content.

Here are some findings:
  • Video Centres work – increased streams by 10x
  • 82% of streams were full length episodes
  • Avg. time spent increased from 40 min/user/month to 60+ min
  • Short form works well when it extends full length episodes
  • 53% of users watched short form content BUT…
  • 94% came to the site specifically for full-length episodes
Burns closed his presentation by reiterating that their strategic web presence of video content has helped to develop very strong audience loyalty to the content.

My questions/observations on these sessions...
  • This idea of platforms cannibalizing content is interesting...I'm waiting (or seriously pipe-dreaming) for a solution that lets broadcasters optimize pricing based on channel usage.
  • Are sponsorships being appraised and sold at levels that are supporting the fragmentation of traditional television?
  • What is the growth of the affiliate model within the bigger networks - clickable content = a lot of opportunities here.
  • I've seen a lot of interesting approaches to driving traffic online from CBC. Rick Mercer is a good example of a persona that has stepped out of the television set and wandered the social networks creating real community building opportunities to tie into the production.
  • I think that Canwest's approach to merchandising their TV content is quite slick - reminiscent of the itunes store experience.
Stay tuned for my notes on men and the universe...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IAB Canada... Video In Canada Event 2009 - Part One...

It was standing room only at the IAB Canada Video In Canada Event in Toronto yesterday. Hundreds of marketers attended the event to get some insight into the current state of online video marketing in Canada.

I've split my report into 2 posts. Here is the content that was covered in the morning.

Canadian Online Video Stats

Canadians are world leaders in video consumption. Paula Gignac, President of IAB Canada connected this to our high early penetration of cable. Although the consumers are showing tremendous growth in video consumption, only 1% of media budgets (at last count in 2008) are allocated to online video. Sound familiar?

Here are a couple of comScore charts on Canadian Online Video Consumption:

Discussion on the recent ACTRA agreement.

Chris Williams, Managing Director, Media Contacts presented a street level breakdown of what the agreement means to marketers in terms of dollars citing that the biggest advantage to getting involved in production is the reduced cost of talent. Prior to the agreement, residual fees for commercials made for new media increased proportionately to the number of web sites the production would be viewed on. Today, the cost reflects the nature of Web 2.0 and as such, is reduced to the same one time fee over a one-year period. Shorter run times are prorated accordingly. For further information on costs, contact your local ACTRA office.

Applying a GRP to Online Video – Comparing Apples to Apples

Peter Farfaras, Solutions Specialist at Sympatico/MSN led a discussion with Peter Vaz, VP Director Digital Communications, M2 Universal Digital and Darren Hardeman, Group Director at Mindshare Excelerator Media about the demand across buying communities to apply standardized measurement to video.

There was some discussion on the agency perspective of how online video is purchased. Hardeman pointed out that most agencies are becoming fully integrated leaving the planners responsible for all media planning and buying. Darren also talked about the retrofitting factor of applying GRPs to the digital planners' learning curve. To date, digital media has been bought without the use of traditional measurement definitions, GRPs need to be learned.

Vaz discussed the value of having cross-disciplines collaborate to present solutions to their clients. One of my favourite lines was “I think we need to remember that digital specialists don’t know everything and that there is value in the experience other, more traditional disciplines bring to the table”.

The discussion revealed just how early we are in the development of truly integrated media plans. Clients are becoming more savvy and are demanding more metrics to justify their spending while agencies are grappling to find effective ways to show value prior to the investment. The bottom line was that we are working towards finding a standardized way to calculate online video so that it can be monetized and marketed accordingly. We need to apply a media score to every element of the media mix and video is just another piece of that pie.

Farfaras noted that in 2009, we are seeing some movement and collaborative efforts to identify the viability of Video GRP calculations.

A great example of these models comes from YuMe and Mindshare. The two companies just (April 6th, 2009) announced their partnership to launch a “GRP audience measurement metric for video ad campaigns.”

Here’s a snap shot at the formula:
  • GRP= Reach x Frequency x 100
  • Frequency = the number of times that the average household or person is exposed to the advertising schedule
  • Reach = Target audience segment/Target Universe size
  • The denominator for reach is the universe size such as the number of video viewers online or total US population.
  • The numerator is actual impressions delivered or the target audience reached.
Here’s an example using the formula:
  • A campaign delivers an average frequency of 4 to 100,000 people 18-34, and there are 4,000,000 A18-34 year olds in the US population.
  • GRP= 4 x (100,000/4,000,000) x 100 =10

Online Video Ad Formats – Creative is King

Renee Hill, President, eye Return presented some interesting usage of video in ads that have been recently been served through eye Return.

Hill offered some visual examples of engaging creative that nicely showcased the use of video. Here’s a great Cirque du Soleil Example

Here were some of the tips shared with the audience:
  • If consumers engage with your ad – your job is done
  • Play the video without sound before any interaction - entertain while it’s loading
  • Short captivating loop – encourage further interaction
  • Encourage click with a mouse over using animation – show large play button, freeze the video play – give the consumer direct rewards for interaction
  • Engage the user with the first frame – show the value proposition faster
  • Use video created for the Internet (resolution and formatting issues)

After all the measurement talk, Renee ran through the metrics that are available today. They include:
  • Time spent on ad
  • Time spent on ad before conversion
  • % of video played
  • % of video played before conversion
  • ad views before interaction
  • ad views before click
  • automatic optimization based on any metric
  • any action within an ad ie. CTR, video play time spent, interaction etc.
  • any post impression conversion point, ie. Purchase
and my personal favourite…
  • Real-time dynamic benchmarks by vertical to compare your campaign performance against billions of other ads.
My questions/observations on these sessions...
  • It occurs to me that the topic of online video is one that can take up 5 minutes in top line discussion or 2 full days of conference sessions and workshops.
  • Is engagement really an indicator of intent to purchase? Video networks like VideoEgg have created a cost per engagement model - is this the answer? I reflect on the amount of video content I consume each month - at least 80% of it is completely untargeted. The chart above shows that the average Canadian video consumers viewed 147 videos in January - how many carried a brand message? How many were intended for the recipient?
  • What about clickable content within the videos and the influence that players like have brought into the market?
  • While the debate on agencies focused on the measurement of video in general, what about the finer details of video advertising like product placement?
  • We swept over cookie deletion during the sessions but when it comes to reach and frequency calculations, these are a critical factor.
Stay tuned for what the broadcasters had to say…and more questions/observations...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Twitter as a Cross-Platform SEO Tool...

I’ve had some discussions within the media planning community about how Twitter can be seen as an extension of the search marketing discipline.

There’s still a lot of head scratching going on about the use of Twitter and it has yet to be embraced by SEM specialists as a search related practice. For obvious reasons, it took an abrupt landing into the social media landscape but looking closely, it’s got all the ingredients of an effective search media tactic.

Amidst the rising conflict about ghost writing and how the network seems to be rejecting the thought of using the platform as a feeding frenzy for publicity, there’s something to be said about moving in the right circles with the right messages. Hiring people to spam a large following of 10,000 plus with random messages is one way to do it. But there are more sophisticated ways of creating dialogue and connecting with the right targets using different writers.

I think it’s ok for one brand to show its range in voice. The tone that a brand x uses with males will be different than the tone used for women. Going a bit deeper, if brand x decides to work heavily on an environmental strategy; there’s a whole new rulebook of communication that needs to be followed. For this to be executed properly, brand x needs to consider setting up more than one @ handle.

It’s not as easy as AdSense in that you can select keywords and attach relevant messages. It’s more about finding groups or clusters in a more literal sense. Rather than focusing on the static ranking algorithms offered through Google, Twitter works more in the recency realm. Once a community is established, relevancy and recency create a potent media opportunity. For now, search results are available on engines like Twitter Search, Hashtags and OneRiot. Tomorrow, the distribution of search may multiply across the net.

Targeting on Twitter is fairly rudimentary right now. It takes some time to set up your broadcasts. As in any cultural situation, it’s important to spend some time observing before jumping in and assuming immediate acceptance. Pay attention to the varying target audiences; understand the topics of discussion and the tone of communication.

Varying strings of tweets across communities act in the same way as SEO campaigns do. Relevant content, frequent updates and link sharing all come into play. Twitter’s distribution across other platforms like Facebook give it an edge of Google because the links are directed straight from point a to point b but have the added benefit of pre-qualified intent for the context.

As long as brands continue to provide value to communities, it won’t be seen as the spam that seems to be surfacing today through mass tweeting into an abyss of followers that are in many cases, only following for the sake of belonging to a “mass tweeter followship”.

Oh, and it’s free…for now…

Friday, April 3, 2009

Can Twitter Become the Ultimate People Search?

These days it seems you can’t read an off-Twitter comment thread without individuals referring to each other using @. At first glance, it looks like a neat way to imply that the commentators are immersed in the world of Twitter. I’m thinking about the significance of this type of labeling from a search perspective.

With all of the recent updates that the micro-blogging monster has developed in the area of search, it’s not hard to imagine a world in which one could search a handle to get a 360 degree perspective of a user. @ handles are tied to personal commentary, articles of interest, and social connections. All of these elements are publicly available on the Twitter network.

Organizing the rest of the web in the context of individual “tagging” can’t be far off…