8/28/07

Online Video Advertising from (WSJ)

Online video has become the fastest-growing category of Internet ad spending in the past year, according to research firm eMarketer -- so much so that advertisers now frequently complain about the shortage of video content worthy of sponsorship.

Marketers are finding it hard to buy enough space on traditional TV networks' Web sites, which stream some network prime-time programs.

Ad space is available alongside the user-generated videos that draw millions of visitors to video-sharing sites like YouTube, but advertisers are wary about sponsoring videos that might be embarrassing or risqué. YouTube's new ad format, unveiled last week to intense advertiser interest, limits ads to videos from selected partners. While their audiences are tiny -- Geek Entertainment TV says it averages 10,000 to 20,000 viewers a show, though its most popular shows attract as many as 100,000 viewers -- their viewers are loyal.

Such programs also provide content of a consistent quality, in advertisers' eyes. "Marketers are very careful about their brands, and some of those user-created videos can be pretty raunchy...but brands are willing to experiment more with higher-quality videos," says Martin Reidy, chief executive of Publicis Modem and Publicis Dialog, digital-marketing units of ad holding company Publicis Groupe.

New York-based Next New Networks is planning to launch as many as 101 Web TV networks with shows that advertisers can sponsor, similar to the way ads work on traditional TV networks. The company now has 12 networks and recently sold its first major sponsorship, to Lionsgate for the Jet Li movie "War." In addition to banner ads that appear on the different networks' Web sites, promotions can be woven into plot lines or included as short commercial spots. During a show on the Jet Set network about Internet pop culture, the host mentions "War," a trailer for the movie plays and viewers are encouraged to upload videos showing their martial-arts skills. On the Indy Mogul network, which focuses on independent filmmaking, the host shows how to recreate special effects from a scene in the movie when a hand is stabbed.

These shows are an easier sell to advertisers when a single video site hosts several and can negotiate deals for all of them. The "Geek" ad deal with GoDaddy, for instance, was negotiated by blip.tv, a closely held New York video site that also hosts several other series, including "Alive in Baghdad," about Iraq, and "Break a Leg," about show business. Blip.tv splits the ad revenue with the program producers.

Traditional media companies are getting in on the action: In recent months, CBS acquired Wallstrip.com, a daily show about Wall Street culture and pop culture, and Discovery Communications bought Treehugger.com, an eco-lifestyle Web site that produces video segments.

Further adding to these niche programs' appeal for advertisers is that many of them offer customized sponsorships. Some are willing to produce a segment on an advertiser's product or have the program's host mention the sponsor. To promote its fall denim collection, clothing chain Express created a campaign with "Ford Models TV," a Web series produced by modeling agency Ford Models that features models talking about fashion and other subjects.

During two different videos, a male model and a female model talk about how they wear their jeans, each mentioning Express jeans during the segment. "We sent the models a few bags of clothes before the shoot, but we didn't send them a script with lines. We really wanted them telling the story," says Pam Seidman, director of communications for Express. Ms. Seidman says she is pleased so far with the campaign.

To be sure, advertising on niche Web TV shows isn't for every marketer. Not only are audiences relatively small, but pricing models and measurement systems aren't yet established. Most advertisers view the outlets as a testing ground or as one piece of a bigger ad campaign. "I don't know that video sites like this are attractive across the board. They have to fit contextually," says Babs Rangaiah, director of media and entertainment at Unilever, which recently ran a campaign on a Web show hosted by blip.tv to promote a consumer-generated contest in which people were invited to submit ads for a new body wash, Dove Cream Oil.

The Sweet Spot of Online Media Promotion

Looking on YouTube though I noticed that if you go into the community section, many of the featured Groups are advertisers. I wonder if they pay for that. Today they have Rocawear "I Will Not Lose" campaign. Vids with celebrities like Ciarra, Three Six Mafia, and other's "A" list Hip Hop / R&B artists talking about not losing and perservering without obstacles. Which is cool, do gooder advertising.

They also have Listerine FreshBurst man on the street interviews which are not very entertaining and unabashedly self-serving.

YouTube offers deep opportunities for testing advertising production. These days it seems like online is partnering more and more with direct street teams, a mesh of the international and local.

Learn How 2 Do an Online Vid Show from Blip.tv

Blip.tv's Learning Center offers instructions on how to produce a video show from concept through ad sales. Blip.tv defines a show as a "series of online videos that are tied together by consistent branding, style, and release schedule." Many of the most popular online programming is offered by Blip.tv including Galacticast (Sci-fi Satire) and Geek Entertainment TV (recently featured in Wall Street Journal).

8/27/07

MySpace Could Lift Ban on Commerce

MySpace Could Lift Ban on Commerce
MySpace bans commerce between its members, because it doesn't want to jeopardize the corporate advertising that accounts for the vast majority of its profit. Allowing its members to promote their wares would only clutter up the place. But behind the scenes, the issue is being hotly discussed as Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's chief executive, and his team of top executives at the biggest property within News Corp.'s Beverly Hills-based Fox Interactive Media grapple with the imperative of squeezing more money out of MySpace. The Los Angeles Times reports. more »

8/26/07

Slate V: Review


Slate stepped into the video space in a big way by launching SlateV, a robust collection of videos created by Slate. The front page offers the newest of these videos like "Video Bushisms", "Grading Hillary's First Spot", and "Dear Prudence" an animation of their advice column.

The animation and special effects on the videos is incredible, creative and original. Unfortunately the editors themselves are boring, probably in comparison to the lively visuals. Understandably most of these editors are more comfortable in a text based context. "Editor's Choice", has some great, interesting vids such as examples of advertisements for soap made by Igmar Bergman when he was short on cash. Unfortunately, the tone of the narrative makes it feel like a classroom lecture. A blog page "Did You See This" is there roundup of the best in web video, pulling vids from YouTube, LiveLeak, CollegeHumor, etc.

Hopefully they'll figure out how to make the narrative as arresting as the visuals. The whole thing is sponsored by Infiniti whose banner ads are not video and while quite obvious, non-intrusive. They used Brightcove technology.

3 Spheres of Web Strategy from Owyang


Jeremiah Owyang is the Director of Corporate Media Strategy (serves as a Social Media Resource for Fortune 1000 clients) @ Podtech.net.

He notes that Web Strategy must take into account the goals, needs, and roadblocks of the three spheres, Community, Business, and Technology. In his blog entry he provides a description and the skills needed to represent each of the three groups.

Summer TV Season Summary

VH-1
Scott Baio is 45 & Single
It's not that uncommon for 40 somethings to be single. For some reason when men are single it's a big issue while when woman are single it's not, it's understood.
E!
Sunset Tan
Simple Life

CBS
Big Brother

USA

Psych

Burn Notice

Mediaweek 8/21/07

USA also continued to bring the noise with its original series, snaring 4.54 million viewers Friday night at 9 p.m. with a new episode of Monk, while holding on to much of that audience in the 10 p.m. slot with Psych (3.81 million). On the previous night, USA’s summer hit Burn Notice delivered 4.23 million viewers. Prime time’s silver medalist was TNT, which averaged 2.2 million viewers, thanks to The Closer and Saving Grace. With 4.68 million viewers, the Holly Hunter drama retained 64 percent of its Closer lead-in. TNT also took second among adults 25-54 (945,000), while placing fourth among 18-49s (810,000).

MTV: averaging 3.69 million viewers on August 13 with a special one-hour season premiere of The Hills. The return of Lauren “L.C.” Conrad and her cabal of peroxide-tressed frenemies absolutely owned the younger adult demos last week, averaging 2.28 million viewers 18-34 and 2.64 million 18-49s. Back on the scripted side of the slate, Army Wives kept the home fires burning for Lifetime, averaging 3.81 million viewers in the penultimate episode of its first season. The show, which stands as the season’s most-watched original drama among women 18-34, also generated an impressive number among one of the general demos, finishing in the top 10 among adults 25-54 with 1.88 million.

8/25/07

Facebook: Is it an Ad or News from Friend


Facebook isn't a news source, it is a social networking tool and it is debatable on how differentiated advertisements need to be from the user generated content. Facebook is a multimedia tool with video and music but the majority of its content is text. If the company employed journalistic Editors there would be a big wall separating the business side from the editorial side. The business side would push for anything that made the ad more effective and the editorial side would push back to insure editorial integrity by completely differentiating advertising from content. Most Editors take this very seriously and don't want there to be a hint of conflict of interest.

Above is a screen shot of the news feed I receive from my friends on my Facebook account. The Army ad I circled is troublesome. It does not look different at all from the messages that I get from my friends which is accented by the fact that its from a very controversial advertiser. Should social web sites be held to editorial standards? Advertisers and media are still searching for the holy grail of online advertising aside from the crack cocaine of paid search text links. I wonder how effective this type of integrated advertising is and whether it costs more than a straight banner buy. To be fair there is a small, light grey "sponsored" tag adjacent to the header but my eyes passed right over it.

While philosophically the Army is an emotionally charged advertiser, it's also one with deep pockets and good agencies that make great ads. Advertising agency creative departments want to create good content to develop an intimate relationship with the consumer. The above ad has a video which is ultimately much more interesting than a banner ad so while I think its probably an effective sponsorship opportunity, I wonder if it's ethical.

8/24/07

PlayboyU, Bunnies got Bounce

PlayboyU announced the launch of a college only community on Ning. Owen Thomas of Valleywag told CNBC doesn't think the bunny has any bounce, but I disagree. Basically because there is a need for "gated communities" online especially among students as everyone essentially invades their Myspaces and Facebooks. The front page successfully conveys the sense of an exclusive club and Mashable has screenshots of inside pages which look very robust and uniquely designed. The front page also stresses that the visitor is "not allowed" and you have to apply with an ".edu" email address to get in. People respond well to being told that they can't have something, it makes them want it. And the fact that you have to be in college (or at least have an .edu email) makes it prone to socially desirables. Myspace and the dating sites have gotten so big that it's essentially impossible to trust the people you meet there and Facebook is being invaded by old (post 22) people including parents, employers, teachers and all the people a college student would like not to have access to their personal (fun) relationships.

The big winner here is Ning, which sadly has a very forgettable and meaningless name. There is a need for targeted, customized smaller social networking sites and the PlayboyU community gives it a big jolt of credibility. And because they've launched many communities already they know what to watch out for. I belong to a few communities on Ning, the largest being and the Playboy pages look a million times slicker. Both Myspace and Facebook have group functions but it's secondary to the individual memberships. Ning makes it primary.

Kendra, the youngest of Hef's girlfriends and one of the stars of "Girls Next Door" has a huge presence on Myspace and has used it for a host of marketing opportunities. The strength of the brand offers a multitude of promotional rewards to being a member of PlayboyU.

8/23/07

'Anchorwoman' Cancelled After One Airing

The TV biz is on a crazy rollercoaster.

Fox cancelled 'Anchorwoman' after one airing. It was a cheesy premise: former swimsuit model becomes anchorwoman at a Texas TV station. Mmmm, let me think, kind of like the TV Guide show. Apparently only 2.5 million people tuned in (so-so cable numbers) which was a dramatic decrease from 'So You Think You Can Dance' numbers of the prior week. The unaired episodes will be available at Fox's nifty new Myspace page which called 'Fox On Demand.' Brownie points for synergizing.

Fox On Demand has a healthy selection of full episodes of Fox's programs on and off air. The promo page for the show hosted on the fox.com server although it looks like a Myspace page is full of glitz and cheescake. This show was described as a "scripted reality show" which means the characters didn't have enough entertaining things to say so someone else wrote the lines for them, which is sad and always looks fake. Kiss of death alert. They're going to run repeats of 'Til Death' in the time slot.

I just think it's mildly shocking that Fox has 6 shows in the can and is pulling the whole deal. It also surprised me when they pulled 'Drive' after two nights earlier this year. I enjoyed the back to back episodes when they aired and was very disappointed that they ran out of gas. I haven't yet gone back and watched the episodes I missed, available at Fox on Demand.


Related Stories:






YouTube's "New" Ads















In the past few days there has been a bunch of buzz surrounding online video advertising because Google's mega-mammoth brand in the space, YouTube, (which they bought 10 months ago for $1.65 billion) initiated "semi-transparent overlay ads". With room for variation it's a banner that appears at the bottom of the video screen and offers the option of linking to the advertiser's web site. YouTube calls them "In Video"

Above is a screenshot of an ad for the movie "Hairspray" on a Ford Models TV video. Hairspray, hairdresser, young women, that's targeting. Unfortunately the screenshot is one that appeared in the New York Times because I couldn't find an example of an ad on the YouTube site. Personally I think the web site for Hairspray the movie a much bigger brand than Ford Models TV but that's beside the point. FordModels.tv is one of about 1,000 large and small media partners that have licensed their videos to YouTube and will split the ad revenue.

The sponsorship model isn't new, look at blip.tv who split their advertising revenue 50/50 with the shows they host on their site. Nor is the creative, one of the online video advertising pioneers VideoEgg claims to have engineered it. VideoEgg is an ad network of varied video sites with a robust and impressive web presence. They offer much better samples of this type of advertising.

YouTube/Google charges the advertisers $20 for every 1,000 times the ads are displayed (CPM = cost per thousand). The revenues are then split with the media partners. Interesting that on YouTube unlike other online ad placements the amount of times each video has been viewed and how viewers feel about the video is public knowledge. The YouTube audience is incredibly fragmented, it's quite an accomplishment to be as popular as LonelyGirl for example.

This particular Ford Model TV video has been seen 304,661. So, if YouTube/Google the ad placement for the entire 304,661 times Hairspray would have only spent $6,093 but the video is 3 months old. So who knows how many people viewed it yesterday but there were 15 comments about the advertising itself. Many were upset that they couldn't see it. One commenter said there was t he possibility of interesting juxtapositions of advertising on content based on Google AdSense key words, like Nestle on Chocolate Rain (a viral video that made the rounds recently).

With 55.1 million unique visitors who spent an average of 49 minutes and 59 seconds on the site during July, YouTube is the most popular online video site, according to Nielsen/ NetRatings NetView. YouTube has spent months testing different ad formats to figure out which models wouldn't alienate its viewers. It found that viewers abandon videos that include pre-roll ads at a rate of more than 70%, so it ditched pre-roll commercials.

8/12/07

Consumers Switch to Digital (Mediaweek)

Katy Bachman

AUGUST 08, 2007 -

For the first time in a decade, consumers spent less time with media in 2006 than they did the prior year according to a study released Tuesday by Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Media usage per person declined 0.5 percent to 3,530 hours driven by “the continued migration of consumers to digital alternatives for news, information, and entertainment,” the study concluded. (So digital isn't media?)

“We are in the midst of a major shift in the media landscape that is being fueled by changes in technology, end-user behaviors and the response by brand marketers and communications companies,” said James Rutherfurd, executive vp and managing director at VSS. “We expect these shifts to continue over the next five years, as time and place shifting accelerate while consumers and businesses utilize more digital media alternatives, strengthening the new media pull model at the expense of the traditional media push model.”

As a result, spending on alternative advertising, including Internet, mobile, videogames and digital out-of-home, among others, grew 36.6 percent to $26.53 billion in 2006. Traditional advertising spending, however, grew only 2.4 percent to $183.21 billion.

“Leading national advertisers have accelerated their diversion of dollars from traditional print and broadcast media to alternative digital platforms to combat media and audience fragmentation, increased consumer control and multitasking, and the growing impact of advanced technology on conventional media models,” Rutherford said.
  • Compared to traditional media, digital alternatives require consumers to invest less time. Consumers typically watch broadcast or cable TV at least 30 minutes per session, compared to the five to seven minutes spent viewing video clips online.

  • Consumers are also migrating away from advertiser-supported media, such as broadcast TV and newspapers to subscription platforms, such as cable TV and videogames, the study found.

  • Time spent with consumer-supported media grew 19.8 percent in 2006, while time with ad-supported media fell 6.3 percent.
VSS forecasts the fastest-growing media segments over the next five years will be pure-play Internet and mobile services, branded entertainment, out-of-home media, outsourced custom publishing and public relations. Total Internet advertising is expected to reach $61.98 billion in 2011, surpassing newspapers as the nation’s largest ad medium.

8/6/07

Bizness & Marketing Blogs

eBiz MBA : Cool site, apparently in Beta. Divided into 4 main topic areas, Administration, Marketing, Products & Sales. Front page has relevant top tier articles (Wired, NYT, etc.) about social marketing, advertising, etc.