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Posts Tagged ‘Online Video’

Engagement matters more than ever in these hyper-connected, hyper-distracted times. As a connected culture, we want to know, we don’t want to miss, we can’t wait to forward the next sparkly, shiny, useful message thing that comes our way.  And yet a recent poll from Interpret regarding online video viewing patterns proves that even this always-on medium bows to the dominance of dinnertime.

Yes dinner, that lovely day-ending repast that delineates “on” from “off” and “work” from “play” stands out as the sole time of day when the consistent consumption of online video takes a break.  From 6pm-9pm, we set aside the keyboards and pick up forks and spoons.  As a human being, I find that deeply, deeply reassuring.

Come Back After Dinner

Come Back After Dinner

Because how many times have you ridden an elevator where everyone scanned their Blackberrys and iPhones, desperate to fill the silent, yawning moments between floors?  How often have you noticed people sitting outside on a beautiful Summer day, focused solely on their laptop?  On a recent vacation, my own family spent more than one hour together, each of us tied to a different computer.

So the fact that online video must wait for mealtime?  That’s fine with me, just fine indeed.  LOL cats and Colbert clips can wait a half hour.  Despite being woefully underrated, analog conversation is still a skill worth developing.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79
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We’re still watching.  Actually, we’re watching more than ever.  The three-screen audience for video content has never been larger or more active, that is, if you define ‘active’ as sitting still and watching other people do things.

...And Everyone's Watching

...And Everyone's Watching

For advertisers, that’s terrific news. But candidly, it’s even better news for traditional ad agencies that long specialized in television production. Because despite the flurry of new formats and technologies, the fundamental consumer desire to watch video thrives unabated in a platform agnostic manner.  Clients who ran to new media shops based on the strength of their technical prowess alone may want to reconsider; the viewers are there, but you can’t assume they’re an eager advertising audience.  It takes compelling content to earn an audience, and that starts with story.

Two recent posts on this subject actually make for an interesting compare and contrast. Last week, Chris Rohrs, the president of the Television Bureau of Advertising (find their rather hideous website here), posted a persuasive editorial in Adweek where he cited recent Nielsen       time spent data that registered the highest numbers in their nearly sixty-year history.  Nielsen suggests the average American household spends eight hours and twenty-one minutes in front of the TV every day, with the precious Teen demo logging nearly three and a half of those hours.

He went on to cite a March study from Ball State’s Center for Media Design, hailed as the “largest observational look at media usage ever conducted.”  Rohrs takes great delight in that study’s finding that ninety-nine percent of TV viewing in 2008 was done on a “traditional” TV with less than 5 percent of that viewing using DVR playback.  Web video from YouTube, Hulu and all other Web/cell phone media accounted for less than one percent of all viewership.

Obviously Mr. Rohrs has a bias to present but still, he uses these facts well to rebut the conventional bromide of so many new media advocates: “television is dead.”

Of course it isn’t Chris.  Say it with me, won’t you?  “Television is not dead, it’s just diversified.”

And that’s the point Gavin O’Malley made yesterday on MediaPost: viewership on all three screens has never been higher.  Special events added extra fuel to online viewership numbers as people watched the Inauguration and the Final Fours from their desktops.  Again citing Nielsen, US online video usage grew thirteen percent year-over-year while mobile jumped more than fifty percent.

The two mens’ numbers around DVR use seem to conflict but the undeniable truth is that we are watching more video than ever…which must have something to do with this great nation’s rampant obesity, but that’s another blogpost.

Call me self-interested but my takeaway from all of these findings is that agencies deeply schooled in television production can no longer be cast as behind the times.  The collective skill and experience all that commercial production engenders gives us a leg up over any putative content provider, particularly if we’ve moved aggressively into new media anyway.

Like so many things, the means don’t matter nearly as much as the ends.  Facile skills on specific platforms mean nothing if the content isn’t there.

Stories, drama, ideas always come first.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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We Like To Watch...

We Like To Watch...

Yesterday was Day Two of the Advertising Age Digital Conference in New York City and the person whose presentation generated tweets that really caught my attention was Jen Walsh, Global Director of Digital Media for GE. Among the dozens of topics she covered, the ones that stuck out to me–at least among the posted tweets that our own Stephen Riley culled–were how GE’s data proves that online video-based ads telling their story generate interaction rates that are off the charts.  Further, among online ad formats, GE found their sweet spot when they used video to tell larger stories in a 300 by 250 unit (the one that most approximates television’s 4:3 video ratio).  It was such a strong performer that ultimately, they dumped all other units in favor of this one.  Finally, when it comes to online video, Ms. Walsh believes that to get a true sense of that unit’s value, you must look beyond mere click-through rates and consider time spent and qualitative tracking of control vs. exposed audiences. 

Many organizations champion online video and it’s ability to present a more dimensionalized brand message to highly-targeted audiences.  And I agree.  With the technological innovations in cable television, even offline video advertising soon plans to offer targeting down to the individual set box level.  When this happens, advertisers will no longer buy time slots, but demographics.

Aside from the practical challenges of hyper personalization and fragmentation, this is good news for those of us who earned our stripes on creative video production.  Telling a compelling, engaging story with video remains one of the most primal and powerful communication mediums today, even if the various technologies and formats have evolved.  Increasingly, we must tell those stories on two screens–HDTV and internet video.  Soon, that list will expand to three, as the mobilenet delivers ever better video content.

All of which demonstrates once again how our business has changed.  Yet convergence simply demands that we learn to adapt our video-based stories in a manner that respects the idiosyncracies of the various platforms.

Because ultimately, digital and mobile are merely regional dialects–they are not entirely new languages.  Creative people still need to lead with ideas.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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