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Published: April 30, 2008 at 12:56 PM GMT
Last Updated: May 16, 2008 at 12:56 PM GMT
An industry Who's Who of both the traditional and digital media communities joined us yesterday for the JackMyers Future of Media and Advertising Breakfast. Industry leaders spoke out about the issues confronting marketers, agencies and media companies as they deal with the rapidly expanding universe of online video content and the escalating convergence between traditional and digital media, as evidenced by the re-introduction of The WB as a digital video content brand and by Disney Chairman Bob Iger's recent comment that the ABC-TV Network has evolved from a distribution platform to a content studio.
Our coverage of Jack Myers' panel discussion with Sarah Fay, CEO Of Aegis North America; Dina Kaplan, COO of blip.tv; Shane Steele, former director of interactive marketing for Coca-Cola; Jack Haber, VP Global Advertising and eBusiness of Colgate Palmolive; and Albie Hecht, CEO of Worldwide Biggies can be read at www.JackMyers.com. The industry leaders shared more in-depth points-of-view on the state of the media and advertising industry in separate interviews with JackMyers Media Business Report.
"The business feels scattered with no easy solutions in terms of where advertisers are going to go. Advertisers and consumers have a fragmented universe of options," commented Steele, who is now consulting for digital media companies. "Consumers will continue to look for less interrupted media experiences, and advertisers will need new models that don't fall back on old interruption model," she adds.
"The measure of success and popularity of content needs to be different today," agrees Hecht, who founded Worldwide Biggies as a digital content production studio after a successful career at Nickelodeon. "Advertisers," Hecht comments, "are taking leaps but still looking at cost-per-thousand metrics. Innovative campaigns offer more immersive campaigns and activation. We consider six proprietary user engagement metrics: learning, watching, playing, collecting, playing and creating. These range from passive to active and we want to activate all of these metrics with every program series we launch, and will not green light anything that doesn't deliver on at least four if these metrics."
Colgate Palmolive's Haber believes "anyone who is sitting still is losing. It's a complete new landscape. Everything is up for grabs and trying new things is what people should be doing." The big issue on Haber's mind is "how do we do advertising now? What resources do we have? Do we use a traditional agency, do we use specialized shops, or do we fuse [our advertising business] together?" Pointing to the digital extensions being developed by major traditional media companies, Haber believes "we can't just look to existing media properties for their digital extensions. You don't need Hebrew National Mustard because you buy the hot dog."
Haber acknowledges traditional media companies are trying to respond but suggests "quickly enough" would have been years ago when they were denying and not doing anything. He also warns that media companies and marketers need to be protective of their brand equity as they move into digital extensions and branded entertainment ventures. "It's not about whether business objectives are met. It's all about the consumer; if it works for the consumer, ok, but [these initiatives] can potentially harm brand equity."
Fay, who last week was elevated to head all Aegis North America businesses, including Carat and Isobar, replacing David Verklin, argued marketers need to re-envision themselves as content players. "Many are building content management systems for their websites, implementing marketing programs as productions, transitioning databases into audiences, and drawing consumers into brand experiences through content. They are totally changing their consumer vision and focus."
Marketers are becoming receptive to developing new forms of content and are interested in inserting their messages into the context of programming, Fay believes. "With the growth of TiVo and DVR players, more and more brands are looking for ways to get the message through with more impact and to become more relevant to consumers… with real meaning around the brand message," she points out.
Steele agrees marketers need to figure out ways to get consumers to opt-in to their brand messages. "Advertisers need to get consumers engaged in their content," she says. "The interruptive model doesn't work. They need to facilitate experiences for consumers that convey the brand message."
Kaplan, sees a significant change in the business as "the lines are blurring between professional and independent content producers. Networks used to control what would get on the air; now you might find a Revision 3, Next New Networks or Worldwide Biggies show you like as much as a network show." She also points to series launched at blip.tv such as zefrank and Amanda Congdon.
The challenge, Kaplan admits, is monetizing this content and "convincing people at the brands and agencies there is more to viral videos than cats flushing toilets. They can reach people in ways not possible before. Consumers are engaged with other consumers in online conversations and web video is an important new trend." Kaplan believes it will take at least until 2010 before video content developers will have a clear picture of the economic potential, but several of blip.tv's content producers, she says, are generating revenues and are profitable.
Kaplan believes consumers will increasingly be viewing content across TV, the computer, mobile devices and personal video displays and that content will be available across an array of platforms. "The era of destination sites is over," she says. "The belief you need to build a site that is all things to all people is over and it will sound silly in a few years." Even Hulu, the joint venture of News Corp and NBC, she points out, is doing extensive distribution deals to make their content available wherever consumers want it.
Hecht, who is creating character based intellectual properties birthed on the web and that have multi platform DNA for TV, film, gaming and licensing, acknowledges content distribution is now based on ease of use and fleeting advantages. "Branded entertainment is complicated but when are advertisers going to get over cost-per-thousand?"
Fay adds, "online video is highly desirable from the advertisers standpoint, as long as consumers are accepting the advertising. We can deliver an uninterrupted commercial message or at least understand how much is watched. Digital video is the best form of video for improving brand awareness, purchase intent and other metrics by a wide margin. You have the consumers' attention and we have great opportunities to deliver value for our clients."
A special thank you to all our sponsors: Teletrax, FreeWheel, Vibrant Media, DGA Search and Incognito Digital.
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