As if the current television environment isn't challenging enough with flat expected revenue, expanding linear viewing choices, audience fragmentation, cross platform viewing, VOD, DVR and commercial ratings, there is apparently a new set of challenges eroding potential ad dollars according to the DPAA at its recent conference.
This challenge to media ad dollars may be coming from the most unlikely places -- taxis, elevators or even gas pumps. In this ever expanding and developing area of digital placed based media, any location where the consumer journey takes place is an opportunity to reach him or her via a screen. And digital placed based media is already recognized by brands and advertisers as providing valuable opportunities to reach their target consumers.
As Jack Haberman at Colgate Palmolive says, "Video is the new day part." That means that viewers are no longer tethered to the home screen, or any one based device, or by any time of day. Prime time can be any time and any place; morning at the gym, lunchtime at one’s desk, commuting in a cab or train.
The proliferation of screens into all aspects of everyday life, both inside and outside the home, presents both opportunities and challenges for media companies, advertisers, brands and data companies. According to Francois de Gaspe Beaubien, chairman of the DPAA, "Consumers are spending most of their time out of the home. People are interacting with screens outside of their homes." That means that there is more competition for attention and more of a consumer driven environment for placing content. And with prescient content owners like HBO deciding to go OTT, it looks more and more like the content delivery chain, like everything else in media today, is fragmenting and morphing. More native advertising, more binging, more multi-tasking is coupled with less reliable measurement, less concentrated viewer attention and less control of the chain by the old television guard.
Who is to Blame?
There is certainly enough blame to go around. Technology certainly plays a large role in this disruption. Jack Myers gave an inspiring talk about how technology is forever changing media habits. He says, “The fundamental culture of our business is changing. Every minute of every day, consumers’ media habits are radically different than they were last year, two years ago, ten years ago and certainly dramatically different than they were 20 years ago.”
But in addition to technology, traditional media’s way of doing business also contributes to the viewers’ changing habits. Ad time within a TV program can be more than 25% of the program run time. Commercial pods are getting longer, encouraging viewers to find ways to avoid ads. BTIG’s Rich Greenfield noted that “Binge viewing drives more binge viewing. We are learning to watch in a certain way. We are training consumers to avoid ads.”
Challenges – Measurement, Privacy and Fraud
However, digital placed media faces a few challenges, as well. For one, there is no standard accredited measurement across all OOH platforms. The current Nielsen measurement consists of audience studies that are conducted as proprietary research with each study funded by the measured network. Nielsen then takes these studies across all measured nets and compiles them into one report that is issued quarterly to the marketplace. According to MediaVest’s David Shiffman, “A few years back, the DPAA issued specific guidelines for their members to follow for audience measurement with the goal to help ensure some standardization in what gets measured and how it is measured.”
There is also the privacy concern. Deutsch’s Anush Prabhu noted that “there is a lot more data available today. We can tell your geo location from your phone, which is cool but also creepy.”
Microsoft’s Natasha Hritzuk added, “Consumers are aware that their data is being collected. It is the lack of transparency as to how we are using the data that is the problem. We need simple conditions that we can opt into and a clear value exchange.”
Fraud is another concern. As Barry Frey, President and CEO of the DPAA remarked, “Kraft has said that 75-85% of their data is fraudulent and they will not use it.”
Companies are responding to this challenge. According to MEC’s Shenan Reed, “We are going to 100% viewable which is higher than the industry standard. We will only pay for something that is 100% viewable.”
Ultimately, the DPAA conference was a high note for digital placed based media. As Frey concluded, "We received terrific feedback on this year's Video Everywhere Summit from many of the record 700+ people in attendance. The sessions covered not only issues specific to the rapidly growing digital place based media sector, but those of importance to the overall media and advertising ecosystem as well. It's always rewarding and exhilarating when so many months of planning coalesce into a worthwhile day for so many people."
Here is a video of some of the highlights of the DPAA conference.
Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through herresearch blog www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com or at WeislerMedia@yahoo.com. Full disclosure: Charlene hosts a street art blog on The Starry Eye blog community
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