AOL held its first "Programmatic Upfront" tonight, bringing together a packed house of agencies and brands to hear multiple executives and guest speakers pound home a double message that data and automation are poised to revolutionize advertising, just as they have done on Wall Street. From a purely news standpoint, AOL announced 3 specific things:
1. Clients will be able to buy reserved premium AOL inventory programmatically through the company's AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) beginning January 1, 2014.
2. Major agencies including Accuen, Amnet, Havas Media, Horizon Media and Magna Global have all made programmatic commitments for 2014 (sizes not disclosed), with DigitasLBi, Razorfish and VivaKi considering.
3. New features in AOP including real-time bidding through private marketplaces, cross-screen inventory buying with frequency and optimization, and availability of all ad units for programmatic buying.
Jivox has announced that its interactive video ad platform Jivox IQ now supports content marketing and data driven feeds, both of which can dynamically update ads in real-time. As Diaz Nesamoney explained to me, both are meant to deliver ads that are more timely and relevant to users, across different ad formats and on multiple devices.
Diaz noted that content marketing, which has become a huge industry theme, blurs the line between ads and editorial. With Jivox's new content marketing features, advertisers are able to update their ads/content continuously while their campaigns are underway. The benefit is that ads can change without the traditional step of changing tags. These updated content streams work in 45+ different ad units, such as pre-rolls, display, mobile, etc.
SpotXchange has announced its publisher-side programmatic video ad platform today. Mike Shehan, SpotXchange's CEO told me that key differentiators are strong transparency, improved yield management and deal management controls. Mike said that video syndicator NDN (#6 ranked property by comScore in July) has been using the platform exclusively since the summer and has seen a big boost in its yields.
With the SpotXchange platform, publishers are able to expose and manage select inventory to all demand-side sources such as ad networks, demand side platforms (DSPs), agency trading desks and the SpotXchange marketplace. Mike said numerous features are aimed at alleviating publishers' traditional concerns that programmatic creates possible channel conflict with direct sales efforts.
Startup BrandAds is announcing availability of its BrandAds Bridge product this morning, aiming to provide universal, real-time video advertising analytics. As Avi Brown, co-founder and CEO of BrandAds told me last week, the company is looking to solve the problem of ad buyers having to use multiple analytics solutions, with each one tied to a particular ad buying platform. Ultimately these need to be synched up in order for a buyer to understand a campaign's total results.
Interactive video advertising provider Innovid, and technology giant Cisco have unveiled a new partnership today at IBC meant to deliver interactive, contextual video ads to second screens.
As Innovid's CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter explained to me, the proof-of-concepts at IBC show how Innovid taps in, via API, to a Cisco-powered metadata stream associated with a pay-TV operator's services to TVs and second screen apps. The metadata allows Innovid to deliver interactive iRoll ads to the second screen apps that are synched with ads that are running on TV. A second proof-of-concept also shows this done by location. Second screen apps from pay-TV providers have become a key priority as part of their TV Everywhere initiatives.
FreeWheel has released its quarterly Video Monetization Report for Q2 2013, and among other things, it shows a gap in video ads viewed on smartphones vs. videos viewed on them. Per the chart below, FreeWheel found that although 13.2% of videos were viewed on smartphones, just 5.6% of video ads were viewed on them. Tablets had a gap too, albeit smaller, with 4.3% of video views and 3% of ad views, while the ration of connected TV device views to ads was in-line at 1.2%-1.3%. Only desktop ad views surpassed video views in relative viewership.
An interesting nugget of data in TubeMogul's quarterly research report released last week was that the click-through rate on mobile video pre-roll ads in the U.S. is a robust 4.9%, more than 8 times higher than the .6% CTR that TubeMogul tracked for pre-rolls on non-mobile devices. Of the 5 countries TubeMogul reported on, the U.S. disparity is by far the biggest, with Canada and Australia following with about a 3x higher CTR for mobile vs. non-mobile (see chart below).
Taboola and Kaltura have released the results of a poll taken during a recent webinar they conducted, in which attendees (content publishers and advertisers) were asked about their interest in using paid recommendations/native advertising to build their video viewership. The poll found that while 27% currently use paid recommendations/native advertising, 95% said they would "consider switching from marketing their videos using traditional advertising to paid recommendations/native advertising in the next few years."
(Note a couple of caveats here: the sample size was just 34 respondents, so the results are more directional than statistically significant. Also the webinar itself was focused on content recommendations, so presumably those attending were already interested in the topic.)
StudioNow, which produces custom video through its network of video professionals, has launched a new program dubbed "EXTRACREDIT." As Leslie Darling, StudioNow's SVP of Sales and Marketing explained to me, the program formalizes activities StudioNow has long been involved with, creating custom videos for online ad campaigns and brand marketing. StudioNow estimates it created video to support over $75 million in video campaign buys in 2012.
Now, with EXTRACREDIT, StudioNow is looking to formalize how it works with media companies, agencies and brands. Leslie sees StudioNow helping support campaign buys with its production services gaining a dedicated portion of the campaign's media spend. Leslie believes this can be a differentiator for all parties and creates unique new value in the ecosystem. In other words, to the extent that brands want to create and run different video online than their 15 and 30 second TV spots, StudioNow is there to help.
TV advertising and online video advertising are taking a big step toward being integrated today, as a result of a deal that Extreme Reach has struck to acquire DG's TV ad business for $485 million.
The deal brings under one roof the 2 big operators of networks that deliver ads to TV stations. In its latest annual report, DG said it delivers ads to approximately 5,900 broadcast and cable TV stations from 7,400 different media agencies. Earlier this year Extreme Reach told me that it delivers ads to 7,000 TV stations on behalf of 3,000 different agencies and advertisers. With the deal, DG will re-focus its efforts exclusively on online advertising, via its MediaMind platform, which it acquired in July 2011, along with numerous other smaller online advertising assets.
More interesting here for observers of the online video advertising space is that Extreme Reach will be in an even stronger position to pursue its strategic priority of integrating the delivery, tracking and reporting of "TV" ads and "online video" ads. I'm using quotes, because, as consumers have massively adopted connected/mobile devices and then use them to view premium video content, the distinction between the terms "TV" and "online" is becoming less meaningful. In other words, video is video, regardless of consumption device.
I'm pleased to present the 191st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This was a big week for online video advertising, with 3 key milestones: AOL's acquisition of Adap.tv for $405 million (the biggest of CEO Tim Armstrong's tenure), YuMe's IPO, and Tremor Video reporting solid 2nd quarter results, in its first quarter as a public company.
As I explained earlier this week, the success of AOL-Adap.tv is riding on 3 key market trends, the shift from linear TV style viewing to anywhere/anytime/any device viewing, the democratization of video production and distribution which has led to a plethora of online originals, and the influence of technology in the ad buying/selling process. AOL is seeking to capitalize on all this through Adap.tv's programmatic platform.
Meanwhile Tremor Video, whose stock has had a bumpy start since the company went public in early July, posted a strong 2nd quarter, with revenue growing by 41% year-over-year. As CEO Bill Day explained on the earnings call, key to this was a focus on premium performance-based in-stream video advertising, which grew from 20% of revenue in Q2 '12 to 34% in Q2 '13. Mobile was also a big contributor to the quarter, rising from 4% of revenue to 13% of revenue. Bill noted the company is highly focused on providing transparency and analytics around traditional brand metrics such as brand lift, engagement, completion rates, etc. to engage buyers.
More broadly, as Colin observes, online video is giving brands and content providers more flexibility to insert product placements and other deep product integration. I agree, though for the foreseeable future, I see the vast majority of online video ad revenue coming from more traditional pre-, mid- and post-roll advertising.
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)
(Note: YuMe and Tremor Video's VideoHub are VideoNuze sponsors)
This morning AOL announced its biggest acquisition to date under CEO Tim Armstrong, buying Adap.tv for $405 million. The deal says volumes about the future of video generally and video advertising in particular. It also underscores the key role that AOL intends to play in helping shape the future.
To understand the deal, it's important to understand 3 of the most important trends in video today: 1) the shift from linear TV / living room viewing to anytime/anywhere/any device viewing, 2) the democratization of video production and distribution enabled by online delivery and 3) the growing importance of technology/data in the ad buying/selling process. Taken together, these trends portend a future of of massively scaled, yet highly personalized video viewing, monetized through targeted, higher-impact advertising.
Like a lot of you, I spend a lot of time online, and a good amount of it is watching video. As I've often said - at VideoNuze's Online Video Ad Summits and elsewhere - advertising is critical to online video, because, with the exception of paid services like Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, etc, the vast majority of online video is free and ad-supported. Despite how important advertising is, I'm constantly amazed at how untargeted so many pre-roll ads still seem to be.
I'm not claiming anything close to a statistically significant study here. But because I pay relatively close attention to pre-roll ads, I have a pretty decent handle on how relevant the ads are or aren't, at least to me. This morning I saw a perfect example. Tempted by a tweet, I watched a video on Boston.com of a truck flipping over on a local highway. I actually watched it 5 times to see what would happen with the pre-roll. Each time, one of 3 versions of an ad for cable operator Charter Communications played. All nice ads, however, Charter only operates in the Worcester, MA area and further west, not even close to where I live, which is served by Comcast, Verizon and RCN. Why am I seeing this ad over and over again when I can't even buy their service?
Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the Video Ad Effectiveness Summit in NYC, presented by Nielsen and Beet.TV. The afternoon was broken into 3 panels of 3-5 executives from the media, publishing and agency worlds, all of whom are all deeply immersed in online video advertising. The discussions were expertly moderated by Beet.TV's Andy Plesser and Furious Minds' Ashley Swartz. I took a bunch of notes, which I distilled into 3 key themes that I thought emerged from the discussions.
Topics: Beet TV
Video ad tech provider Dynamix has rolled out advanced reporting and analytics in its STREAMx platform, enabling advertisers and publishers to track at a deeper level the performance of dynamically-created video ads. Dynamix's core capability is creating and delivering unique in-stream video ads and engagement opportunities based on data such as location, device, user behavior, etc.
Three items last week brought to mind one central question I've long wondered about: can traditionally free, ad-supported online video providers make the leap to a paid, subscription model? The first item was a long piece in Variety that chronicled the struggles the first set of YouTube content partners trying subscriptions is having upselling their free viewers. Second, Reuters broke the news that Machinima, one of the biggest online video players (and a big YouTube partner) is planning to go it alone in creating its own subscription service to complement its free, ad-supported offering. And third was the milestone news that Netflix, by far the most successful online subscription service, garnered 14 Emmy nominations, including 9 for "House of Cards" alone.
How do these all tie together?
At the recent Online Video Ad Summit, MediaCrossing's CEO and founder Bill Lederer led an in-depth discussion of programmatic video with executives from Yahoo, Horizon Media and Adap.TV. For those not familiar with programmatic, it's essentially the use of technology to automate the buying and selling of media. Programmatic has become a significant factor in the online video advertising space as an augment to content providers' direct sales efforts. If you need a soup-to-nuts understanding of programmatic and its potential, this session is a great primer.
The video is below and runs 35 minutes, 22 seconds.
These days everyone has their own favorite device on which to consume video. While improved convenience is great for content providers and advertisers, the resulting fragmentation also causes huge headaches developing for multiple devices.
In a session at the recent Video Ad Summit, executives from Adobe, AOL, Scripps and TheBlaze shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities of surging video consumption across devices, how to generate an ROI and what it all means for advertisers.
The video is below and runs 22 minutes, 14 seconds.
TVs connected to the Internet - whether through set-top boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players and/or as Smart TVs - are one of the hottest trends in the video landscape. Connected TVs allow viewers to have all of the traditional lean-back, long-form experiences they're accustomed to, but with online video/over-the-top's benefits of convenience and selection. Connected TVs crack open pay-TV operators' grip on TV delivery and give advertisers new opportunities to engage audiences.
Nonetheless, it is still early in connected TVs' evolution, and at the recent Video Ad Summit, we dedicated a session to debunking 5 key myths that have grown up around connected TVs and video advertising. Moderator Tom Morgan, CEO and co-founder of Net2TV, led a discussion of these myths with executives from LG, Media Storm and YuMe, which was based on thought-leadership from YuMe (full presentation available here).
The video is below and runs 30 minutes, 21 seconds.
For many viewers, a pre-roll ad is just a 15 or 30-second interruption before the content plays. But now advertisers can make their pre-rolls full-blown interactive experiences with multiple engagement opportunities. At the recent Video Ad Summit, Patty Everett, Associate Media Director at Turner Media explained how, using a sample campaign to illustrate her points in discussion with Jack Flanagan from Innovid.
In the session, Patty details how an interactive pre-roll for Cartoon Network's Hall of Game awards drove awareness, voting and ultimately tune-in. Patty also explains the key challenges in developing interactive pre-rolls and what advertisers need to do to succeed. Advertisers and publishers looking to get more out of their pre-roll will get great insights.
The video is below and runs 13 minutes, 20 seconds.