What keeps ad execs awake at night?

3 09 2007

Great selection of quotes in this Adweek piece, including Carat CEO Sarah Fay:

“Advertising avoidance. I sit on TiVo’s advisory board and the statistics are ominous: 50 percent of TiVo owners skip nearly all advertisements. Their IRI panel shows this is affecting purchase behavior significantly. This behavior also indicates a general rejection of advertising. The marketing industry has to be faster in catching up with the consumer and innovating to counter this trend.”

YouTube: and now the monetisation begins

22 08 2007

The long march toward Google attempting to monetise YouTube commences today, as the company unveils its contextual advertising strategy for clips on the site.

YouTube has shunned pre-roll ads, used by many of its competitors on broadcast and portal sites, electing instead for animated, transluscent overlays across the bottom of its video player console.

Ads appear 15 seconds after a clip has started playing, inviting viewers to click on the overlay. If clicked the original content pauses and the ad begins playing in the video console, if not the overlay disappears after 10 seconds (presumably to be replaced by another).

Reports range from 20 to 50 charter advertisers signed up for the launch of the new InVideo service, including BMW and NewLine Cinema. The rate card for InVision ads starts at US $20 per 1,000 times the ad is displayed

But Google doesn’t see it as a panacea, as Eileen Naughton, its director of media platforms told Reuters:  “In the history of Google, there has never been one ‘answer’. It’s not the end-all, but it’s a very promising format that we are ready to bring to the market.”

It’s less of a surprise that most ads will be paired with professionally-produced content, such as Warner Music Group videos, though Google is dipping its toe in the water of ads wrapped around consumer-generated content.

Now begins the task of Google making its $1.65 billion investment in YouTube pay off (not that it needs to pay the money back to anyone!)

Edit: early reaction to the new ads.

Advertising and the digital tipping point

20 08 2007

Nearly a quarter of WPP Group’s first-half 2007 revenues — US $1.3 billion — came from digital and direct services, reports Media Post. And for group chief Sir Martin Sorrell that’s not enough: he’s aiming to build this to a third of aggregated revenues.

BBDO ad chief: don’t slash budgets, opportunity knocks

17 08 2007

John Osborn, CEO of Omnicom-owned ad agency BBDO, which boasts blue chip U.S. names among its client list, has made an impassioned plea for companies not to pull back from new and experimental forms of advertising.

“In tight economic conditions, some of these new mediums are exactly what we should be looking into,” he told Reuters. “I think they are incredibly targeted.”

At face value, Osborn’s comments are aimed at self-preservation, but peel off a layer or two and it’s plain to see that there is a risk of advertisers pulling back from emerging markets such as online video, where new technologies can make commercials more addressable, thus with potential for greater consumer impact.

In related news, Silicon Valley Insider speculates on how carnage in the mortgage business could have a very real and immediate impact on the online ad sector. Up to four out of 10 of the Nielsen-ranked top 10 online advertisers, accounting for US $141 million of annual spend, are either mortgage providers or dependent on a buoyant personal lending sector. 

To pre-roll or post-roll, Google speak (but in muted tones)

1 08 2007

Much discussion in the TV and ad industries focusing on the type and duration of online video ads which work: nobody quite seems to know yet. So interesting to observe, that neither do Google (or if they do, they’re remaining tight-lipped about it).

NewTeeVee quotes Google’s Susan Wojcicki, vice president of product management:  “We are still in the process of trying different things… There is going to be a lot of experimentation. We shall see how and where the market evolves to.” The report goes on to say that Google’s current focus is on in-stream ads but it is looking at different overlays or ways to put ads at the bottom of the video, banners around video, or or even simply opting for ads that are companion banners to the video clips

Microsoft and Google future TV patents

1 08 2007

ars technica reports on a couple of recent patent applications from Microsoft and Google, covering targeted TV advertising and corresponding web content respectively.

The Microsoft patent would use information about an individual’s preferences to deliver behaviourally-targeted commercials on-the-fly. [Eek] It goes further… Information would also be cross-referenced with a user’s online address book, calendar, purchasing history etc. to deliver a more personalised experience.

Meanwhile the Google patent outlines a system that would record ambient noise from a television while the viewer is watching, pick up relevant tidbits that the viewer might be interested in, and either pull up pages or generate them on the fly for the viewer to check out. One example given in the patent describes a viewer watching Friends who may want to gossip with others online about Monica’s pregnancy. That person would typically have to go to the computer, perform a Google search for “Friends,” then sift through the results to find a discussion forum of some sort. This, Google says, “would diminish the passive experience offered by mass media.”

Instead, the system would listen to what is being played on the TV, compare it against a database of previously-generated audio fingerprints, and automatically pull up the relevant web pages for the viewer. It could even put together dynamically-generated pages with various things like news stories, discussion boards, and social networks based on the content being viewed.

Ominously, both technologies rely on a sort of camera being mounted on or near the TV screen, to detect facial characteristics of whoever is viewing [how will they persuade anyone to install one of these?]

The end of TV (…just not quite yet)

31 07 2007

When is the end of TV not the end of TV? When it “changes significantly over the next decade,” observes Ben Macklin, senior analyst with eMarketer and author of the new report US TV Trends: The Impact of DVRs, VOD and the Web.

TV ad revenues showed positive growth during 2006, states the report:



A forecast which is broadly mirrored by U.K. numbers published yesterday by Zenith Optimedia, which predicts modest growth of 2% for TV advertising during 2008 and slightly flatter growth of 1% to 2% from 2009-2012. Significantly, it asserts that growth across ITV’s portfolio of digital channels isn’t enough to shore up the decline in revenues for its primary ITV1 network. Unlike the U.S., however, U.K. TV airtime is the cheapest it has ever been since 1995 or the early 1980s.

Returning to the eMarketer forecast, it predicts that by 2011 as much as half of U.S. viewers will have access to timeshifting technologies, such as VOD and DVRs, combined with greater viewing of video online:


… Leading to more ad spend moving online:


In a related report, Media Post poses the question: will this year’s ad negotiations be the first digital upfront? No, according to the straw poll of one: MediaVest’s Christine Merrifield; though interest in VOD is on the rise.