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By Sorosh Tavakoli, CEO, Videoplaza
The multiscreen reality is now
TV is everywhere in today’s ‘always connected’ reality as consumers increasingly consume video on a variety of screens, from mobiles and gaming consoles, to tablets and smart TVs. With video consumption on non-PC devices continuing to rise dramatically, we’re seeing a stronger emergence of IP-delivered video, or the ‘New TV’. As such, video advertising has had to move well and truly beyond the realms of the PC, and the industry is going from strength to strength.
In the UK, online advertising enjoyed double-digit year-on-year growth in the first half of 2011 alone (IAB). And the statistics underscoring the connected device explosion reinforce the advertising opportunities up for the taking. Research firm IDC expects that, by 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the Web through mobiles devices than through PCs, while Morgan Stanley anticipates there will be 10 billion non-PC, connected devices by 2020. Of our own traffic via our ad management platform Karbon, nearly 10% of the advertising inventory comes from non-PC devices and we expect this to increase to 50% within the next 2 years.
This boom provides a mouth-watering opportunity: viewers can be reached across a range of different platforms and at almost any time. As today’s audience migrates towards new platforms, publishers have little choice but to shift their focus accordingly if they want to both maintain and drive greater audience.
Balancing challenge with opportunity
The publisher’s dilemma is determining how to retain and monetise their audience across the growing number of screens. Media owners need a clear strategy to support this: in today’s multi-device climate, publishers need to get to grips with an increasingly complex technology landscape, including Flash and HTML5-compatible devices. For example, supporting HTML5 video is vital to ensure advertising reaches iOS and Android users. A platform like IPTV presents a different set of challenges, being a closed and proprietary environment.
3 steps to a successful multidevice approach:
Figure out your content strategy. Deliver strong, engaging content, optimised for different device experiences. For example, short-form content works well for mobile when users are in ‘lean-forward’ mode, whereas long-form works well for Smart TVs, for a more ‘lean back’ experience. A key consideration is the need to optimise ad loads for content types. Think about user behaviour on different devices and adapt your ad loads for these different experiences accordingly. For example, short-form mobile viewers tend to bear one pre-roll versus the four-five pre-rolls watched by a long-form Smart TV viewer.
Manage how audiences are traded. Adjust your sales approach for the New TV. In some cases you will sell one audience across all screens, particularly where some device audiences are small and less attractive to advertisers. For example, advertisers will want to target the Desperate Housewives audience, regardless of which device the average viewer is using to watch. In other cases a specific device may command a big audience and a higher CPM and it may make sense to sell that audience alone. Flexibility in your approach is key.
Invest in the right technology. Working with the right technology partner can solve a number of challenges. Ad operations workflow, for example, can be hugely simplified by cross-device asset management, i.e. having technology which understands different devices and delivers the right file format to the right device every time. As a result, ad operation teams don’t need knowledge of every device platform and can instead focus on trafficking campaigns for advertisers. Revolutions are occurring in video consumption and advertising technology and advertising is increasingly being automated and underpinned by technology. Working with the right technology is critical for media owners to be competitive and should ideally be a close, local partner who understands the specific dynamics of your market.
Make the most of the New TV opportunity
Now is the time for publishers and content owners to gear up to take advantage of the multiscreen opportunity. Non-PC video consumption growth will soon outstrip that of the PC and there are undeniable opportunities with Flash, Silverlight, HTML5, iOS devices, Android, Sony Playstation, Samsung Smart TVs, and closed IPTV environments. The moment is now for publishers to invest in a multi-device strategy to drive reach and attractiveness to advertisers and, ultimately, to remain relevant in this fast-changing market.