Everything You Need to Know About the Future of TV Advertising is in the New NBA Deal

The NBA reached a new 10 year rights agreement with Disney/ESPN and Time Warner/Turner over the weekend that will at least double and possibly triple the current annual rights fee paid to the league. The most interesting aspect of the deal is the de-bundling of at least some games from cable TV packages. From the Wall Street Journal:

“The league also laid plans in partnership with ESPN for a new online video service that would show live regular season games, the people said. In a significant move for ESPN, which derives its huge profits from the pay-TV ecosystem, that service will be open to people who aren’t cable or satellite TV customers.”

This is a big risk for their current business model as they derive around 60% of their revenue from cable TV providers as part of your cable package. However, it is where the market is going and the potential revenue from a la carte purchases (buying a game or a package of games) and more targeted advertising could bring in much greater revenue that the current business structure. What happens when people can consume content without a cable package? What could make up the revenue shortfall?

First, these assumptions can be made about where the market is going:

  1. Video on demand is driving content consumption. This can be live or recorded and through an internet or cable connection. The channel and time driven tune in window programming format is on the way out.
  2. More targeted advertising through programmatic buying platforms has re-shaped how internet advertising is purchased. Big spending advertisers will demand that TV eventually be sold the same way. 65% of advertising on the internet is now purchased on a performance based model.

cable revolution.001

As smart set top boxes evolve, “smart TV” penetrates more households and more content is consumed on mobile devices the opportunity for hyper-targted advertising through TV/video will become the standard in the marketplace. The tools marketers that use to build deep data profiles constructed by piecing together a consumer’s engagement across multiple touch points that live in the cloud driven by Adobe, IBM, SalesForce, Oracle and SAP will drive more change in the $75 billion dollar TV advertising business than anything else in the last 60+ years.

Rethinking the Video Ad Unit

I firmly believe that video is the best way for brands to engage their audience. With the convergence of internet and TV, programmatic buying platforms, marketing cloud solutions that create deep consumer profiles and branded content as a pillar of a solid marketing plan I think it is time to re-think how we look at video ad units and consider everything branded content to sell your story. Each of these units has a place in the consumer’s journey and some make more sense for a brand depending on what you are selling and how considered the purchase is. Free organic reach is quickly going away so thinking about your content creative in the context of everything as a paid ad makes more and more sense. Here are the definitions I am going to start to use:

  • Less than 1 minute – Short Form
    • old definition “TV ad or pre-roll video unit”
  • 1 – 25 minutes – Long Form
    • old definition “branded video”
  • 25 minutes+ – Programming
    • old definition “infomercials”

In the context of a campaign you might buy short form to generate awareness to drive the consumer to long form to complete the path to purchase. If you think of this as one big story across multiple media platforms creative consistency across all of the touch points becomes even more essential for the story to make sense.

Is Google Creative Labs the best ad agency around?

They don’t have any clients aside from their parent company but Google Creative Labs is coming out with the most engaging TV ads around these days. They connect emotionally to deliver a memorable message.

This ad for Chrome debuted on Saturday Night Live in conjunction with her appearance with Justin Timberlake. I don’t know if made more people switch from IE, Firefox or Safari but it connected the Google brands with a large, desirable audience….and I bet they didn’t pay Lady Gaga to appear as it is essentially a 1:30 commercial for her new album.

When my wife saw this spot for a Dad who tracks the childhood of his infant daughter through a suite of Google products made my wife cry. I was happy it wasn’t for diamonds or a car because I probably would have been shelling out for whatever they were selling.

The next spot “It Gets Better” probably demonstrates the power of the web to connect people (using Google products) and change a life more than all of the articles on TechCrunch ever could. I saw a few people post on Facebook how emotional the ad made them, an important timely message that delivers in 1:30.

Emotional advertising used to be the sole domain of Apple in computers (do people still use the word computer?) and electronics but Google is making more creative ads. I think a lot of people in the advertising industry wondered what they were up to when they put together their all star team for their in-house agency. I guess they wanted to make cool ads….imagine that.

How do you justify spending $3M on a Super Bowl commercial?

It is always an interesting thing to debate  – is a :30 Super Bowl spot worth the money? I think it depends on how “mass” your brand audience is (that is why beer and cars dominate the game) and of course how good your creative and integration across social platforms is, but it can be a good and sometimes great investment. Here are some things you must consider that are unique about the Super Bowl as an event:

  • Over half of the US population tuned into the game at some point yesterday – 162.9 M – where else do you get that sort of mass audience this day in age? Nowhere.
  • The average audience was 111M so lets say you paid $3M for your spot for the sake of simplicity that delivers a CPM of about $27. That is 3-4 times what you normally pay for broadcast TV but well worth it and at a smaller premium over what the NFL gets throughout the season being a live sports event. The “Force” spot for VW had 15M views on YouTube in two days, prior to even airing during the game.
  • Nobody DVRs the Super Bowl and it is only time people are excited about watching commercials.
  • The social aspect of the ads now can deliver an additional 50M or more impressions from places like YouTube, the massive TV news and print coverage, etc. everyone is an armchair ad critic following the game.

So how do you maximize your spend if you have an extra $3M lying around?

  • Put together a spot that is actually creative and smart. What was so compelling about the VW ad above? It wasn’t the features and benefits of the Passatt or it hugging tight corners on a mountain road. It was embedded on YouTube a couple of days before the game, people passed it around because of a great emotional connection that it triggered, not sophomoric humor which has no long tail.
  • Make sure your spot is for something new and is easy to find using social media and search after it airs. Use this as your opportunity to tell the second chapter in the story. All great advertising campaigns build on a message in a linear way over time.

Wild Within

Steven Rinella

I have been busy with my twin girls who are almost 9 months so blogging here has been sporadic.  I do post odds and ends at robsheard.com if you are interested.  I had to write about a new show, last night I caught the premiere episode of Steven Rinella’s show Wild Within.  It is produced by a company called Zero Point Zero which produces my favorite show No Reservations with Anothony Bourdain.  It is unlike anything else on TV, it is a bit of an adventure show, a hunting show, outdoor lifestyle and cooking show all in one.  This is isn’t a hunting show on ESPN 2 at 6AM on a Sunday morning with rednecks and souped up pick up trucks lure deer on a game reserve.  My brother and father are avid outdoorsmen and I grew up hunting so I enjoy watching Steve and his family live out a lifestyle I wish I could.  People love to say “eat local” and know where there is food is coming from which is of course noble but no where near hunting and foraging for all of your meals.  I would be most interested in hearing the opinions of this show from people who are anti-hunting.  If you have never tried eating wild game you are missing out on some of the most flavorful and robust flavors that cannot be duplicated in domestically sourced or farmed meat.