As we see continued migration of advertising and sponsor dollars from the passive “lean back” world toward interactive “lean forward” experiences, you have to wonder how brands will continue to engage audiences across a wider set of content choices, platforms and devices.
Seems like pundits everywhere are weighing in on battles over the online ad share. (Consumers are having their say, too.) The lines are being drawn between Internet and tech giants like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Verizon, Comcast & AT&T. The three latter players have their ad footprint in both worlds while the other pure plays are in a connected greenfield. It remains to be seen who will attract the most aggregated eyeballs or whether those anchored in traditional linear advertising will see it as a burden or boon.
But take note: not a single broadcaster shows up on the list. Needless to say they’re trying to figure out their next moves against upstart programmers and distributors like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu but seem to be missing the boat when it comes to making money from delivering ads to connected consumers.
What’s interesting is that they’re all fighting for a finite number of dollars. Most are racking up standard CPMs for standard placements, some are making those placements more valuable with better information on who is watching what/when and a few are trying to figure out how to make those placements exponentially more valuable by collecting more attributes on users and targeting the ads to them more effectively.
The pot of gold seems to be at the crossroads of placing more targeted and intelligent ads with more immersive video content. The content today seems polarized. It is either produced (like TV or Movies) or UGC (like YouTube or Instagram).
There’s an exception in certain types of sports, where you can have low production value yet still have a compelling viewing experience.
Yahoo’s move to acquire rights for one NFL game is testament to the new business models to be explored and new markets to be exploited. The experiment proved that there are connected audiences out there globally for content where broadcasters and rights don’t reach. We’re certain to see more of these experiments and eventually real business models that prove the connected consumer can create new subscribers and new ad revenue from more immersive and interactive experiences.
The race is just beginning and the winners are far from certain. What is clear is that content volumes will need to grow and at the same time be compelling enough to attract audience. There will have to be more of it with distributors fighting for those finite sponsor and ad dollars. The challenge for producers is to create increased volumes with finite production funds or for UGC to get more compelling through more automated and apparently produced content.
Multi-camera experiences, visualized data and social media (editorial) are just a few ways where UGC or prosumer productions can become more interesting and immersive. These tools can be embraced by all levels of producers but are particularly attractive to those in new media.
We are entering an interesting time where ever-accelerating technology changes challenge the business norms. The once dominant media companies are struggling to meet growth expectations. Old and new collide in an attempt to attract finite audience and advertising dollars. The fragmentation is creating new opportunities for those who innovate, continue to move and create, not wait for opportunities.
Meanwhile, we’re watching an old familiar landscape change – and get brighter for those willing to see the light.
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