28-03-2014, 00:35 #1
[EN] Cable’s Next Big Threat: Loss of Ad Dollars To YouTube
Several of the big ad-supported online video outlets, including Google Inc’s YouTube, AOL and others, plan this upfront season to target some of the ad dollars that currently flow to cable channels, industry executives say.
The web video outlets see a vulnerability in second tier cable networks, and to a lesser extend in the local TV-station market, executives say.
According to multiple media buyers and ad sellers in the Web video industry, digital media companies are looking to draw direct comparisons between their audiences and cable TV networks, a match-up Web video outlets think they can win.
Buyers say Google is likely to be the most aggressive on this front, given YouTube’s massive size and its young demographics that don’t necessarily watch a lot of TV. The company has been selling directly against cable networks, with pitches like “X YouTube net reaches more women than E! or Awesomeness TV reaches more tweens than ABC Family.”
In one pitch, for instance, YouTube cited Nielsen data from November showing that it reached 49% of all 18 to 34 year olds, versus 45% for FX, 44% for TBS’ comedies, 41% for Comedy Central and 40% for AMC.
YouTube also thinks it can capture more local broadcast and cable ad dollars from national advertisers looking to boost spending in certain markets. The company is targeting automotive and wireless advertisers in particularly, said executives with direct knowledge of YouTube’s plans.
TV executives are putting up a brave front, pointing to TV’s reputation for quality and its massive reach. “We’ve had 10 pre-upfront meetings and YouTube hasn’t come up once,” said one.
“I think they’re competitive,” said another cable executive. “But Web video is probably more complementary at this point.”
What’s making online video’s strategy possible this year is the fact that all the big digital outlets, including after a long holdout YouTube, are now able to sell ad inventory using TV-like Nielsen data. That allows them to speak the language of advertisers and marketers, which have long histories of using and trusting television for their ads.
Colleen Whitney, Digitas’ media director for North American video, said her team has already begun previewing presentations planned by most big digital companies for this year’s online ad version of the upfronts, the NewFront, planned at the end of April.
“You are absolutely seeing them sell aggressively against cable more than ever before,” Ms. Whitney said, adding that the YouTubes of the world are creating packages of shows centered around verticals like comedy “and then making the argument that they reach more of a certain demographic than Comedy Central.
Buying ad time on cable channels is cheaper than online video outlets, media buyers note. In 2013, the average cost of reaching a thousand viewers on cable channels is $15.63, while the equivalent price for online video was $23.03, according to advertising cost analysis firm SQAD. Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, said cable’s lower prices helps them.
Still, she said, “there’s been a steady drumbeat toward Web video, which offers more fluidity.”
Ms. Richman noted that major broadcast TV networks have moved aggressively in putting their content on the Web, both on their own sites and platforms like Hulu, allowing them to capture some of the Web video ad dollars. But, she noted, cable has been more cautious online, because it must protect its relationships with pay TV distributors.
The cable versus Web video conversations actually started quietly last year. Some online video outlets said they received requests from agencies to put together potential ad packages at much larger spending levels than they were used to seeing—with the implication that the outlets were being given a shot to steal dollars that otherwise would go to cable networks. The Web video companies didn’t land many of these deals, but it meant that agencies were ready to pit the Web versus cable in negotiations. Industry insiders expect more such negotiations this year.
Another issue, insiders say, is the way that ad agencies are structured. TV buyers are naturally inclined to favor TV. And even when considering web outlets, many prefer those showing traditional TV content. And by the time some TV buyers receive orders from their planning departments, they don’t always have the flexibility to move dollars from TV to the Web, since they’re required to get a certain price or audience level, as measured by gross ratings points.
However, one issue is whether online outlets have enough quality content to satisfy advertisers. TV networks often have an inherent advantage with some of their high profile programs.
“TV offers borrowed equity,” said Andrea Kerr Redniss, executive director, chief activation officer at Media Storm, referring to the halo effect brands are said to receive by appearing alongside ‘cool’ or ‘big’ shows like “The Walking Dead” or “The Good Wife.”
“There’s a lot of tonnage in web video, and not much borrowed equity,” Ms. Redniss said.
Web video outlets, while optimistic, are trying to remain realistic, given the fact that cable networks own so many buzzy hits, and will be formidable.
“Where the numbers match up well, you’ll absolutely see the Web against cable,” said Jason Krebs, head of sales at Maker Studios, which represents thousands of YouTube creators. “But it’s a case by case thing. To say video is just video no matter what screen you’re on is just an easy thing to say. I don’t yet see a dramatic change.”
Copyright 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
28-03-2014, 00:38 #2
Online video ads cost 38% more than cable, report saysCable advertising types worried about losing ground to online video may be heartened to know that cable ads are cheaper than online ads, according to data compiled by media research firm SQAD.
SQAD, based in Tarrytown, N.Y., bills itself as "the largest independent source in the U.S. for TV, radio and digital costs and analysis."
By comparing four media bases--display, cable TV, network TV and in-stream video--SQAD determined "the average CPM for an in-stream online video advertisement in 2013 was $23.03, or 38 percent higher than the average A18-49 CPM for cable TV." The research determined that network TV was the most expensive advertising medium.
The average cost of a primetime cable TV ad increased by 5 percent in 2013 to $15.63. Online, the most money went to TV network websites with NBCUniversal, CBS Television and ABC Television averaging a CPM rate of about $30 for online ads.
The research does not all bode well for cable.
"In many cases, online premium inventory is still somewhat limited so it's not that surprising that rates are high right now," SQD CEO Neil Klar said in a press release.
If anything, the data may offset some sky-is-falling predictions such as those posited in a Wall Street Journal blog that suggested Web video outlets "see vulnerability in second tier cable networks" and are working on one-on-one comparisons between the Web and cable TV.
YouTube and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) were among the more aggressive online players hoping to ding cable's ad business. The blog post said that Google was the more aggressive of the pair and "has been selling directly against cable networks."
A cable executive conceded that online video advertising is "competitive" but called it "more complementary at this point."
Colleen Whitney, media director for North American video at Digitas, was more succinct.
"You are absolutely seeing them sell aggressively against cable more than ever before," she said.
Amanda Richman, president of Publicis Groupe's Starcom, however, noting the SQAD research, said that cable's lower price still gives it the advantage even though "there's been a steady drumbeat toward Web video, which offers more fluidity."
28-03-2014, 00:40 #3
TV still dominates as top news source in US
Almost 90 per cent of Americans get their news from TV broadcasts, says a study from the Associated Press Institute for Public Affairs Research (API).
While Americans appreciate a local newspaper for local news, TV news reporting organisations are the most common source mentioned across all types of news, but especially so for breaking news, with 61 percent noting some type of TV news organisation—including cable news, local news, or broadcast networks—as the source where they first heard about the last breaking news story they followed. For slower-moving news, there is more diversity in go-to news sources, with more frequent mentions of newspapers and specialty media.
28-03-2014, 14:04 #4
Amazon’s Bold Plan to Start a TV NetworkThe many-legged business beast known as Amazon is growing one more tentacle.
According to the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, Amazon has plans to launch a Hulu-like service that will stream TV shows and other video to people across the net for free. The service will make its money through advertising, and though it could include some licensed content and music videos, the Journal indicates, it seems largely focused on original shows by Amazon.
That makes Amazon sound a lot like a traditional cable TV network. But there’s one big difference: unlike AMC or FX, the Amazon Channel would probably stink.
News of the possible service coincides with the presumed launch of an Amazon TV set-top box next week. This Apple-TV-style device would make a lot of sense for Amazon. Thanks to its existing online video services — its streaming Netflix clone for Amazon Prime subscribers and its huge selection of pay-per-episode TV and movies — Amazon has become a major channel for delivering video into people’s homes. Right now, this happens mostly on computers and tablets. The set-top box can now put Amazon directly onto people’s TVs. But Amazon is hardly in a position to make its own shows a selling point of its new hardware.
Shortly after releasing the Kindle e-reader, Amazon launched its own publishing division. Though the Kindle has transformed the book business, it has mainly done so by selling other publishers’ books. Despite signing a few name authors, the only writers who have seen any real success through Amazon are those who have self-published using Amazon’s tools. In short, Amazon’s technology for delivering books is great. But its track record for producing its own books is lousy.
So far, there’s no indication that TV for Amazon would be any different. Quick: name an original Amazon series. Can’t do it? Despite pumping out self-produced pilots for its own dramas, comedies, and kids shows viewable through its Prime Instant Video app, none have caught on. Meanwhile, Netflix has released must-see original content that has garnered Emmy and Oscar nominations. The difference boils down to culture.
Selling TVs Is Not Making TV
In a recent New Yorker piece on Amazon’s sway over the book business, George Packer describes how Amazon’s early literary pretensions — it did start as a book store, after all — were quickly squelched by the company’s dominant culture of engineering and analytics. By the turn of the century, reading suggestions curated by Amazon-employed humans quickly gave way to the algorithms that power Amazon’s recommendation engines today. As Packer points out, books were never an end in themselves for Amazon or its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. They were just a wedge for entering the more lucrative business of becoming an internet-based pipeline for selling products of every kind.
“Amazon’s identity and goals are never clear and always fluid, which makes the company destabilizing and intimidating,” Packer writes. “What remains constant is ambition, and the search for new things to be ambitious about.”
But ambition is not enough when it comes to making good TV. Though not necessarily loved by Hollywood, Netflix is a pure creature of the entertainment industry. It lives or dies by the deals it makes with studios who both license their movies and TV to Netflix and help the company make its own shows. Amazon, by comparison, is spread thin.
Instead of working deals like Netflix, Amazon seems to be trying to reproduce its success as a self-publishing platform by crowdsourcing pilot scripts and relying on viewer feedback for deciding on what to turn into full-length series. That approach may fit in with Amazon’s techie faith in disintermediation, the idea that success comes from cutting out as many middlemen as possible. And it may work for selling TVs. But it’s not a proven recipe for making good TV. “A monopoly is dangerous because it concentrates so much economic power, but in the book business the prospect of a single owner of both the means of production and the modes of distribution is especially worrisome,” Packer writes.
Worrisome for books, maybe. As a high-volume, low-margin, historically bad-at-business business, the publishing industry has been outmaneuvered by Amazon at every turn. But Hollywood, embattled though it may be by piracy and DVRs and online streaming, is made of sterner stuff. Thanks to its raw commercial instincts, it remains even now the world capital of entertainment. The only way Amazon disrupts that is by making shows people actually want to watch. For now, Amazon has a long way to go.