Welcome BrightLine, our newest MediaBizBlogger.

This is the first in a regular monthly series of blogs that will be posted under the BrightLine, LLC banner. These blogs will share some of the powerful audience data and research insights BrightLine has aggregated from their nearly 500 interactive TV campaigns created for the industry’s largest advertisers.

I have been working as an Advisor to BrightLine for over two years. They are one of those "overnight success stories" that has quietly been in business for almost ten years. BrightLine builds TV ad solutions and brand experiences that are akin to mini-websites, but they reside on dedicated cable or satellite TV channels, gaming consoles, connected TV’s, over-the-top systems and other locations. The viewer can then navigate through the experience with their remote control and engage with various forms of branded content. In a nutshell BrightLine combines the broad reach of TV with the engagement and accountability metrics of the web.


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 What has impressed me most about BrightLine is the performance metrics of their campaigns. I was truly amazed at their audience interaction rates, dwell times, pre/post campaign lift in brand KPI’s and other brand metrics. This data, aggregated from set-top boxes and other third party researchers, is incorporated into BrightLine’s design system, which, in turn, informs their creative team as they develop future campaigns.

BrightLine, with its depth of experience, is in a unique position to share their behavior data and insights on how different target audiences interact, engage and are influenced by video content. The research team at BrightLine will do so in a monthly blog, and I, too, will offer some of my observations from time to time. That brings me to topic #1… the metrics and currency of the $70 billion TV business.

For 50+ years TV vendors have been selling their clients increments of TV time (:15’s, :30’s, :60’s, etc.) based on grp’s and cpm’s. These measures are calculated based on the industry recognized Nielsen sample, and more to the point, these measures reflect only "opportunity to view". Advertisers buy a commercial spot in or around programming, and so TV audiences have the "opportunity to view" it. Pretty simple, and arguably, effective in simpler times.

The "opportunity to view" rationale was adopted at a time when sponsors still funded half-hour shows or aired :60 spots. The family unit would gather around the one TV set in the household and watch together. In a world where there were no remote controls, DVR’s, and other electronic devices; in a world where non-programming interruptions were only a few minutes per hour and not the nearly 20 minutes per hour that exists today; in that world I can accept the "opportunity to view" metric.

But today? Is that the best we can do? I realize there are some research companies and media agencies that are working to improve this, but by and large, "opportunity to view" translates to grp’s and those are used to compute the same currency we’ve been using for 50 years… "opportunity to view" cpm’s.

For all the criticisms of Nielsen over the years, for the concerns over ratings erosion and C3 measurement and cpm inflation, the greater concern should be about the devaluation of our industry’s currency. Because of all the distractions for viewers today, I’d say the "opportunity to view" is half of what it was 50 years ago.

I honestly think it is too daunting a task to change the industry’s currency. There are some companies that have the measurement insights to push the boulder up the hill and at least measure ENGAGEMENT. This is not a new concept. Everyone nods their heads. There have been attempts, many attempts, over the years to do this. In a round-about way some media owners are simply charging a cpm premium for engagement… think branded content companies. However, would anyone argue that an Engagement GRP or (e-GRP) is not more valuable than an "opportunity to view" GRP?

So, in the upcoming BrightLine blogs, much of the conversation will be focused on the power of Engagement (e-GRP’s), how we define it, and how we measure it. BrightLine has the data and the case study results to start this conversation. Then, sometime in 2014, maybe we push the boulder further up the hill and begin the conversation about i-GRP’s and measuring INFLUENCE.

Steve Grubbs is President and founder of Second Act Media consultancy. Second Act Media is an advisor to companies working in the media, marketing, entertainment and sports industries. Steve can be reached at steve.grubbs@secondactmedia.com.

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