Blurring the Lines

24 Nov

Blurring the lines... TV alone seems static now (photo from

Well done, FOX, well done.

From the article, “Fox to Use Hulu Inventory for Advertiser ‘Make-Goods'” in the November 23 issue of AdAge MediaWorks:

‘Fox has secured agreements with about a dozen advertisers to supply them with inventory from online-video site Hulu to make up for ratings shortfalls on its broadcast network, according to the News Corp. network’s top ad-sales executive. The move is the latest signal that marketers are growing more comfortable with the idea that consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.’

(Read the entire article here)

Simply put, an impression is an impression and a viewer is a viewer.  I couldn’t agree more with FOX’s strategy of all of its available assets to meet an advertiser’s guaranteed delivery– except maybe to make it a part of the initial sell rather than as an option in a make-good situation.  Just think for a minute– how do you consume media? How many of us just watch TV? Or just use the Internet? Or just use our phones?  Or ‘just use‘ one media vehicle for that matter?  I’m going to make a wild assumption here (and please correct me if I’m wrong)– not many of us ‘just useone thing anymore to consume media.  Now it’s more of a question of what we’re not using to consume media.  Our ever increasing connectivity to media across an ever increasing number of platforms gives advertisers so many more ways in which to reach us– it almost seems foolish for an advertiser not to have simultaneous campaigns running across multiple platforms.  Why not reach your audience in every way they consume media?

As the article in AdAge pointed out, ‘The move is the latest signal that marketers are growing more comfortable with the idea that consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.’  Thinking outside of just TV and web, should advertisers start thinking of ‘media’ buys rather than TV/digital/VOD/mobile buys?  If media consumption isn’t occurring in isolated silos (TV only, web only, etc), media buying shouldn’t be occurring in isolated silos.  Shouldn’t a media buy mirror consumption habits and take advantage of all the assets a company has to offer?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert in logistics/operations, but I’ve tried to think of a few benefits/obstacles/solutions for an advertiser to switch to a ‘media’ buy rather than siloed TV only/Web only, etc buys:

1.  If we were to buy TV and web together, that’s a lot more work for our creative teams since we’d have to create different ads. Not necessarily true- Nielsen data suggests that repurposed TV ads running on the web perform just as well or even better than original web ads, so there wouldn’t be a ‘need’ to create entirely new ads.  Nielsen data also suggests that an ad campaign running across TV and web simultaneously vs. TV only or web only (frequency held at a constant) actually sees an increase in engagement and purchase intent…. meaning the ads work together for the benefit of the advertiser.  Ah, synergy!

2.  What about mix?  How to factor in web/mobile/VOD impressions into the traditional mix seen in a TV only buy?  What about CPMs? Once again, I’m no expert, but you determine the mix an advertiser will receive (% of ads in prime, late, daytime, etc.) based on what it will take to get to the guaranteed impressions for the deal.  Here’s where research could come in handy- how many impressions does your website typically get in a 2 week period? A 4 week period? (repeat for other traditional flight times you use)  What about VOD/mobile or any other sellable assets your company has?  Based on research and historical estimates, planners could then build plans that have a mix across all platforms– say 60% TV mix (and within that, mix for dayparts), 20% online mix, 15% VOD mix, and 5% mobile.  We currently build estimates for TV impressions based on historical performance (thank research!), so why not extend the same philosophy to our other media platforms?  You’re not going to ‘just’ decide to give an advertiser a 20% web mix if you can’t deliver- just like you’re not going to promise an advertiser 1 million impressions if historical performance suggests you’ll deliver 500K.  But these other platforms do deliver impressions, and too often these impression are left on the table- why not monetize them?  And to further this point, and to point out the AdAge article again- ‘consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.’  Bingo– an impression is an impression, whether it be on TV, web, phone, etc.   If you have the ad capability and they deliver impressions, why not take advantage?

Now to tackle the question of calculating a new CPM to encompass all the platforms for one integrated ‘media’ buy.  Once again, I’m no expert, but in my media math 101 book, CPM is simply ‘cost per thousand.’ So you have a thousand web, a thousand TV, and a thousand VOD viewers… and if it’s becoming clear (and will continue to do so with improved research), that audiences across platforms are more similar than not, can’t we apply the same math across all platforms? As in, this is the ‘x’ cost Advertiser ‘A’ to buy 1 million impressions across ‘Just Allie’ media (assuming I make it big and have more than just this little blog :))

3.  From the sales point of view- c’mon, there’s no incentive to sell web, mobile, or VOD.  Why would I focus on these smaller properties when I can get a lot more commission from my TV sell? Well, unlike now where the bigger deals (and bigger commissions) are for TV deals, new deals would just be ‘media’ deals.  A $1 million dollar deal across multiple platforms=$1 million dollar deal on just TV.  Last time I checked, $1 million dollar deal was a $1 million dollar deal (same as an impression is an impression and a viewer is a viewer).

Now I know it’s not that simple, but I like to look at life from the most basic point of view and then think of (and try to squash) any obstacles.  Here’s my basic breakdown, summarized even further:

Media companies (big or small) have multiple platforms in which to reach viewers.  Research shows that these consumers are increasingly consuming media across multiple platforms, not just TV.  TV alone doesn’t deliver impressions- ads on web, VOD, mobile, etc. also deliver impressions.  An impression is an impression and a viewer is a viewer. (Since when did 1+1 not equal 2?) Leverage all assets and monetize all possible impressions, not just the TV impressions– good for the advertiser (as noted earlier, Nielsen suggests a simultaneous multi-platform campaign increases engagement and purchase intent) and good for the media company (nothing left on the table).  If research shows you can reach that same desired consumer (remember hyper-targeting) across all platforms, why would an advertiser not want to hit its target across all possible platforms?

What do you think?

UPDATE: Whitepaper from Nielsen/YuME: Share-shift Analysis, TV + Online Video: The Best of Both Worlds, February 2011

Excerpt: ‘Online video ad spending increased by 40%1 in 2010 as an increasing number of advertisers embraced the medium. Even with explosive growth and mass-market penetration, online video still represents only a small percentage of marketers’ overall media mix. Media planning across different media continues to be a challenge; but if video buying is planned holistically, independently of the screen on which it appears, the results are significant and compelling. YuMe set out to demonstrate that reallocating 5%, 10%, or 15% of a TV buy to online video can not only improve reach, effective reach, and frequency, but can also lower the overall campaign CPM. YuMe’s Online Video Share-shift Analysis proves that online video campaigns complement TV campaigns, and that the combined effect is more than the sum of its parts.’


One Response to “Blurring the Lines”


  1. Get Wild. « justallie - November 29, 2010

    […] television (a favorite topic of mine- advertising deals needs to adapt to how people actually watch TV) .  Viewers watch a substantial amount of television during playback- and Nat Geo is smart enough […]

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