Television broadcasters have been premiering their new fall lineups at the Upfronts for the year. There are parties, stars, glitz. There are also a major deals in the making with 70% or more of premium inventory sold, the rest during the scatter market.
But look at the 33 presenters scheduled for the Newfronts. This is the fourth annual NewFronts marketplace, which is, as the IAB says, “spotlighting the best in upcoming digital video programming for marketers and media buyers trying to reach engaged audiences. The eight-day lineup will consist of a series of presentations from prominent media brands, showcasing innovative content from some of the biggest names across the entertainment landscape.” Check out the agenda here.
The lineup includes traditional media companies like the NYT and Time Inc, joining Buzzfeed, Hulu, Yahoo, and more. Their “programming” is a mix of high quality content, with major star power alongside breakout YouTube Stars and user generated content. Just like the broadcasters they will be showing off their new video programming, so will these companies. But wait, aren’t some of these print publishers? Isn’t some of this unknown talent? Aren’t some of these just websites? Don’t be surprised that a print publisher could create video content or that an amateur make-up artist can draw a huge audience on YouTube!
Marketers expected to spend $7.77B on digital video advertising this year. It’s still dwarfed by the TV market of $70.59B, but marketers no longer can only get high quality sight sound and motion only on TV.
While there is still a traditional tune-in audience, especially for big live events, viewing is hardly linear anymore and that means marketers need to think about alignment with the right audience wherever they are. Media is blurring across lines. HBO is available on Amazon while Conde Nast and Time Inc. are creating and curating content, and AOL is doing original shows. Yahoo hired Katie Couric. Nielsen announced their intent to measure Netflix. What all this points to is the consumer wants content where they want it, on their choice of platform, device, and on their timetable.
Marketers need to adapt to this reality not only by really learning to leverage digital with the same kind of precision and scale they have in direct mail and email, but by becoming experts at the kind of creative, timing, etc. that resonate on digital, mobile, addressable TV.
It also means that marketing decisions which may have seemed easy years ago (the often-lamented, “but there were only 3 networks!”) are not easy now. The major draws like the Super Bowl, Oscars, and the recent Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary still pull huge live numbers, but they are the minority, and as we saw with this year’s Oscars, in some cases they have a shrinking audience.
The migration of eyeballs, mindshare, attention, time and talent across platforms means that marketers more than ever need to spend their dollars wisely by targeting the right person where they are, and were they are likely to be the most receptive. Marketers need to think consumer-centric, cross-platform, cross-device, and data-driven to find the right audience. Marketers can align with great content on multiple platforms now, and much of it on demand. The old models of time, scarcity, and must see TV are over.
The age of fragmentation, plus top notch talent you may have only been able to see in a Cineplex or on network TV, is now also available online, mobile, cable, blogs, social media etc. With all these options does it matter anymore to reach a “live” audience? Does scarcity really exist? Can’t I just reach these people anywhere? A “live” audience may be important to you if you want to align with the event, and if you want to draw immediate eyeballs. No one watches the Super Bowl the next day.
Modern marketing is all about recognition. To succeed in today’s complex, multi-channel marketplace, savvy marketers must recognize consumers consistently across all touch points, offline and online. This the secret to success is the consistent application of consumer data across channels, devices, and media.