Industry News

Nielsen at a Tipping Point? Accelerating Change Confronts Methodical Researchers


Nielsen's TV measurement first faced a major crisis of confidence more than 20 years ago, amid growing skepticism from networks and surprising ratings fluctuations. "When those numbers became unreliable, inconsistent, inaccurate, unexplainable," a TV researcher said in 1992, "they just threw into chaos almost everything we did, because they were the basis on which the business was built."

There were other challenges before and since, including the controversial introduction of "people meters" in 1987 and audience fragmentation stemming from the cable boom and the arrival of the VCR. Challengers arose, like AGB, a company that pioneered people meters in the U.S, as well as broadcasters themselves, which invested in an alternative form of measurement in the mid-90s.

Remarkably, the company survived all of those tribulations and remains the primary measure by which TV advertising is bought and sold. But this status, which it has held since the 1950s, is once again in jeopardy, and this time its reigning dominance isn't a sure thing. For the methodical research company, the accelerating pace of change in media may finally be getting out of hand.

While the decline in live TV viewership has worried networks and advertisers for decades, that shift away from Nielsen's core competency is increasingly pronounced: As Nielsen reported just last week, Americans watched 12 fewer minutes of live TV per day in the third quarter than they did a year earlier.

And by the time Nielsen develops, tests and deploys ways to measure viewing on an emerging platforms, consumers are now likely to have moved on yet again. Nielsen today is hyper-aware of the need to change -- and the inherent dilemma. Clients griped about its delay in measuring mobile, but if it had moved strongly into mobile two years ago, said Nielsen's exec VP of global digital products Megan Clarken, "We may have been measuring Blackberry today."

"I call it the burden of responsibility," Ms. Clarken added. "We are responsible for $100 billion worth of advertising, so we need to be really careful with what we do."

That may be true, but what does that say about Nielsen's ability to keep up?

Over the past 18 months Nielsen has been frantically hiring experts in digital, product architecture, programmatic and planning. Under Ms. Clarken, the product team is restructured every year to align with the organization's focus areas for the following year. And at any one time, Nielsen has dozens of programs going on behind the scenes, from hardware prototyping to developing open data delivery frameworks.

According to Ms. Clarken, the primary goal is to measure content and advertising no matter when it's watched or on which devices. She said the company will be delivering true cross-platform measurement by the end of 2015, which to her means closing the gaps on connected TVs, Rokus and platforms like Netflix.

Clients are meanwhile turning to competitors like Rentrak to shake Nielsen and potentially dismember its monopoly. They aren't taking Nielsen's promises for cross-platform measurement very seriously. Why should they?

Nielsen first announced plans to measure viewing over the internet, cell phones and TV sets outside of the home in 2006. But PC measurement wasn't deployed until around 2009, mobile TV measurement only became available in September and Nielsen still isn't measuring out-of-home viewing.

Ms. Clarken said she can only account for Nielsen's current commitments and that the company has delivered on its promises from the past year.

"Nielsen is wedded to a legacy approach," said Lyle Schwartz, managing partner-director of research and marketplace analysis at the ad-buying giant GroupM. "Nothing they have showed me gives me confidence in what they can do in the future."

Nielsen executives said the company could better communicate its strategy. "We have done a lousy job of helping the industry at-large understand what can be measured," said Steve Hasker, president-global product leadership, Nielsen.

Gaping Holes

Clarifying what Nielsen can and cannot measure is certainly laborious. Depending on who you ask at the company, the explanation can even be misleading.

"There's issues with clarity -- three different groups tell me different things and each doesn't know what the other can do," Mr. Schwartz said.

It's true that Nielsen can track many devices in some capacity, but caveats are the rule.

PCs, for example, are measured using a representative panel, which is criticized as being too small to accurately gauge fragmented audiences. Nielsen is working to implement direct measurement of viewing on computers, but there's no timeline for when that will be complete.

And while Nielsen said in September it is now capable of measuring mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, industry executives said that's not exactly accurate. The software that must be implemented is filled with bugs, according to these executives, and tests of the system have been postponed several times. For some networks, implementing the software has also required hiring additional manpower.

One cable TV executive predicted there won't be a true picture of mobile ratings until summer or fall of 2015.

Connected TVs and over-the-top devices like Roku and Apple TV, are also largely missing from the picture.

Nielsen made headlines last month for plans to begin measuring streaming-video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. But it won't report broad viewership data from those platforms any time soon.

It is not measuring Netflix originals like "House of Cards" or "Orange in the New Black," Ms. Clarken said.

What Nielsen will do is provide participating clients data on their own shows' peformance on streaming platforms.The company's primary focus for 2015 is figuring out how to present a complete picture of the viewing that takes place on these devices and platforms across all programming.

There's also still no way to measure viewing that occurs outside of the home at places like bars, airports or gyms. Nielsen ran a test of out-of-home viewing in Chicago earlier in the year, but Ms. Clarken doesn't have a time frame on when that might be measured on a larger, national scale.

Still, she stands by the promise that most of these holes will be filled by the end of next year.

So Little Time

That's not fast enough for impatient TV networks, who according to analyst estimates pay $100 million annually for Nielsen's service. (Ad agencies pay a fraction of that.) The networks want Nielsen to modernize its core measurement system, and lament the amount of resources required to maintain its audience samples.

"If you were to start over you wouldn't be spending so much money on maintenance of the panel to keep it up and running, you'd be trying to build for the future," said David Poltrack, chief research officer, CBS.

"The people meter was introduced in the 1970s when people sat around one TV set in the living room," said Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development, NBC Universal. "How relevant is that now?"

A glitch in Nielsen's TV measurement, revealed in October but dating back to March, also irritated old doubts. While it didn't have a meaningful impact on ratings, what disturbed network and agency executives was how long it took Nielsen to identify the problem, begging the question, what else isn't being caught?

The company described the glitch, moreover, in an unusual conference call with press that executives began by criticizing Rentrak, suggesting a bit of sensitivity about that company's recent moves. "They can't do program measurement," Mr. Hasker said on the call. "They can't measure digital or tablet consumption. They can't deliver overnights. And they have no tools to measure out-of-home viewers." In other words, don't think they can replace us.

Alternatives

Nielsen's panel is actually highly regarded in the industry, and its dominant position often merely makes it a go-to scapegoat. Mr. Poltrack said if there's one thing Nielsen does know, it's how to manage a research panel. "Companies have tried to challenge Nielsen, but found they haven't been able to do it better," he said.

"On a national level they are taken for granted," said Artie Bulgrin, senior VP-global research and analytics, ESPN. "Their national TV currency is among the best in the world,"

Rentrak has been trying to carve some space for itself with set-top box data from more than 14 million households, allowing marketers to more effectively target specific audiences. WPP and Publicis Groupe's ZenithMedia have both recently struck deals with Rentrak to use the service in planning and buying advertising, the coverage of which sparked Nielsen's conference-call attack.

For all that, no one is expecting Rentrak to truly challenge Nielsen. "The No. 1 always gets the brunt of the complaints, but this doesn't mean others don't have issues," said Sam Armando, senior VP-director of strategic intelligence, SMGx.

Rentrak doesn't break out demographics, and there are also concerns that the data isn't wholly representative. It could be flawed, too, if set-top boxes are on but the TV is turned off, according to media buyers and TV executives.

Rentrak poses some risk to Nielsen at the local level, where Nielsen is still using paper diaries in some markets. And while it won't likely be used as a currency, Rentrak is considered a valuable selling and planning tool for TV networks and agencies. Rentrak is also looking to release overnight ratings in several markets in the next few months, and recently was granted patents for its method to calculate exact commercial ratings.

While both industry insiders and Wall Street have been skeptical on Nielsen's future growth, analysts are confident in its future. Nielsen's profit declined 30% in the third quarter to $91 million, but that decline was largely due to a refinancing of its long-term debt. Revenue climbed 13% to $1.57 billion.

Perhaps the biggest problem for Nielsen's live-TV tracking is splintering audiences, which make it less likely that its representative sample of about 22,300 households can correctly gauge viewership for smaller channels.

"Because of the fragmentation of audience and how people watch content, the current sample is being pushed to the limit," Mr. Schwartz said. "It needs a much bigger sample and I don't know if they are going to get that."

Ms. Clarken said Nielsen is working to expand the size of the panel. The panel could eventually include about 100,000 households, but exactly when that might happen is unclear.

Nielsen is also considering how to supplement the panel with direct measurement from data sources like set-top boxes, she said, but that's another effort with no announced time frame for adoption.

No one is calling for the demise of basic ratings; there's an agreement that there will always be the need to know how many eyeballs are watching a program. But TV measurement will be a combination of the panel approach and directly-ascertained "census-level" data.

The lack of clarity about when several integral pieces of the puzzle will come together has made the industry skeptical of Nielsen's ability to operate in the fast-paced media ecosystem.

Ms. Clarken argued Nielsen isn't always playing catch up. "Sometimes we are way too early, with OCR [Online Campaign Ratings] for instance," she said. "It was conceived in 2003 and we had a product in the market called Advertising Intelligence and it just fizzled. It didn't work because the advertising community didn't understand digital advertising enough to understand they needed to have accountability measurements."

Alphabet Soup

Despite the plethora of demands the industry is placing on Nielsen, and the sheer amount of work that's ahead of them, when asked what the company's biggest challenge is, executives point to communication. "Because we are a research company, sometimes we get in our own way," Ms. Clarken said.

The industry wouldn't argue. The typical Nielsen PR strategy has been to announce a product before it has really been thought through, a TV executive said. "They are notorious for over-promising on things and then by the time the product comes out they have made so many changes, no one even knows what it does."

Ms. Clarken apologized for what she calls Nielsen's "alphabet soup," the string of three-letter acronyms that define many of their products, and said the company is in the midst of a naming exercise to correct that. It's also recently overhauled its communication team and brought in Katie Burke, an Edelman vet, to serve as exec VP of marketing. Ms. Burke said a year from now Nielsen will feel and sound a whole lot different.

Nielsen will roll out its first business-to-business marketing campaign in over five years in early 2015 in an effort to better communicate its strategy to the marketplace.

This isn't the first time, however, that Nielsen has blamed poor communication for its problems. In a 1995 article in Multichannel News, Nielsen's president-CEO at the time said, "In the past, frankly, we've been too busy doing the work, and have not spent enough time communicating."

Perhaps more important, there's been some significant shakeup at the top over the last year as Nielsen looks to reframe the organization as digitally focused.

Mitch Barns took over as CEO in January, succeeding David Calhoun, and this summer Mr. Hasker was promoted to global president, overseeing Nielsen's business across the media sector and leading both the audience-measurement and consumer-shopping-research segments of the company. Ms. Clarken, herself, assumed her current role and relocated to the U.S. in May 2013.

"Their corporate culture is adapting," Mr. Poltrack said. "It's become easier to work with than 10 years ago."

It's still unclear how well-vetted research and light-speed change can co-exist, but Nielsen seems determined to think further ahead than in the past. Mr. Hasker and Ms. Clarken identified programmatic advertising, wearable devices and in-car viewing as emerging areas the company is preparing to tackle.

And as advertisers look to target audiences beyond the traditional age and sex demographics that are Nielsen staples, the company is investing in its "buy" side of the business, which provides advertisers with data on consumer reactions to their campaigns, and insight into how well their marketing resonates and prompts people to make a purchase.

Nielsen has also realized the importance of partnerships and acquisitions in helping it keep pace with the changing landscape. It recently partnered with Adobe to deepen its measurement of online video, and Mr. Hasker said Nielsen is eyeing deals with big data owners and aggregators. It's also paying attention to ad tech firms that can help integrate data.

It Takes Two

While much relies on Nielsen's ability to develop new measurement tools, the problem isn't solely Nielsen's to solve. "It is as much Nielsen's problem as an industry problem," ESPN's Mr. Bulgrin said.

GroupM's Mr. Schwartz contends the industry can't rely on Nielsen. "Either we sit here and go down with Nielsen or the industry builds a better mousetrap," he said.

Ms. Clarken argued that even once Nielsen solves for the gaps in measurement, the currency still won't reflect the change in consumer behavior.

Due to rules that govern the standard C3 and C7 commercial ratings, rules set not just by Nielsen but also the industry, ads must be the same in the playback of content in the three and seven days after an episode airs as in the live broadcast in order to be credited. That means if any ads are changed from the original broadcast, that viewership does not count in the total.

"There's a big difference between what we can measure and what's in the currency," Mr. Hasker said. "The currency needs to be modified. It needs to measure total audience, duplicated and unduplicated, and total exposure of ads however they are placed."

That's something Nielsen can't change or decide on its own. The question is, who will lead that charge?

Report: Cord Cutting is More Hype than Reality

NEW YORK – A new report says cord cutting – consumers cancelling their pay TV subscriptions – isn’t occurring as much as some claim.

A new eMarketer report, “Key Digital Trends for 2015: What’s in Store – and Not in Store – for the Coming Year,” says there’s more hysteria than fact arising around cord-cutting.

The report admits some consumers are cutting the cord, but they’re in the “low single digits, percentage-wise.” Instead, eMarketer says consumers are “cord shaving” – reducing what they spend, rather than eliminating it altogether.

“Individuals in all age groups are still watching a ton of TV the traditional way, even millennials,” the report reads.

However, the report adds that HBO announcing plans to offer HBO GO as a standalone service could change consumer behavior, especially as other networks rush to follow suit with their own standalone offerings. “Unbundling could accelerate consumers’ latent thirst for cord cutting,” the report says.

eMarketer recommends marketers pay close attention to consumers’ shifting video consumption habits. “TV is holding steady. It’s still the media big dog, for now,” the report says. “But mobile is the channel that’s growing. With all the time, money and attention flowing to digital video, marketers that lack deals with content owners and dynamic advertising are going to miss the boat.”

Live TV Viewing Down 12 Minutes; Overall Screen Time Rises

NEW YORK – Live TV consumption dropped from four hours and 44 minutes to four hours and 32 minutes per day from the third quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014, according to Nielsen’s total audience report.

Overall, Americans spent a little more than 141 hours a month connecting with traditional television in third-quarter 2014. Adults 65 and older spend 211 hours a month – the most of any viewing group – while teens 12-17 spend the least time, at 89 hours.

However, overall screen time is up. Time-shifted viewing rose to 30 minutes per day from 28 minutes, and time spent using a smartphone jumped to one hour and 33 minutes from one hour and 10 minutes. Time spent on a computer with the Internet rose to one hour and six minutes from one hour.

Subscription video-on-demand, now in 40 percent of homes, is up 19 percent. Nielsen says the effect of putting current shows on streaming services like Netflix is a mixed bag. In some cases the ability to catch up on previous seasons boosts ratings. But in other cases, traditional ad supported viewing has gone down.

Tablets are in 47 percent of homes and usage is up 59 percent. Smart TVs are in 13 percent of homes and usage is up 78 percent.

The number of homes with broadband but no multi-channel pay-TV service has increased to 2.8 million from 1.1 million last October, when those homes began to be included in the Nielsen sample.

Nielsen notes that the heaviest users of streaming services are also the heaviest TV viewers.

It adds that the increased accessibility of content on digital devices is giving consumers more choices, and the result is increased use at a time when traditional TV ratings are showing marked declines. That might be especially true in the third quarter, when summer programming, including reruns, drives viewers to experiment.

“While we are not seeing a departure from media content consumption, we do see a shift in consumer behavior – and today we see a resounding growth in consumption on digital platforms,” Dounia Turrill, senior vice president at Nielsen. “The growing penetration of new devices and the popularity of subscription-based streaming services, time shifting and over-the-top viewing – as well as cord cutting and cord shaving – are fundamentally changing the TV industry.”

Hispanics Prefer Ads In English, Shopping On Laptop

Several factors drive the online shopping habits of Hispanic consumers, including bilingualism and acculturation. Marketers have to consider the media mix, targeting, and whether to advertise in Spanish and/or English.

It's a critical issue because the Hispanic population has grown 62% in the last 15 years to about 50.5 million, and will constitute one-third of the U.S. population by 2050. And almost three-quarters are currently under 40. And nearly 40% make between $50,000 and $99,000, accounting for $1.3 trillion on spending power. 

A big takeaway from a new study by Adroit Digital is that in-language efforts may be a waste of time, or at least partly a waste of time. Ninety percent of poll respondents said they are more likely to respond to an ad in English. Ninety-three percent of all respondents in the 18-to-24 age category and 90% of those in the 25-to-34 age group said they are more likely to respond to English pitches. 

No surprise, as English is the de facto language in households of most of those surveyed. About 83% of study respondents said they speak English at home, with 85% of Millennial respondents saying they do so.  

Over half of respondents to the study -- which asked Hispanics what online channels they use to shop, what motivates them to complete a purchase, and how marketers can increase conversion rates -- said they don't mind online ads if they are from brands whose sites they have visited. But 35- to-44-year-olds are least receptive to ads. Over half also said they are more likely to return to a retail site and make a purchase they had not completed if given a digital nudge by targeted ad, email, text or mobile push.

But almost three-quarters of respondents to the June-through-July poll of self-identified Hispanics said they do e-commerce on laptop, only 16% said they shop on smartphones or tablets. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said when they are on mobile devices they shop from the brand or retailer's Web site, only 26% from an app. 

Free shipping is key to three-quarters of those surveyed, followed by alternative payment method at 56%. Thirty-seven percent said they would be willing to pay $6 for shipping. Only a quarter of respondents said a good mobile experience was the most interesting aspect of the engagement. 

About half said fashion and beauty categories are most likely to garner responses to online ads that drive them toward a purchase, followed by lifestyle at 42%.

Consumers Still Waiting For Personalized Videos To Drive Intent

Online video ads are far more effective than other platforms -- aside from search engine marketing -- at driving purchase intent, but data from a recent survey identifies specific features that make these ads most influential. One feature that is lacking is personalization, to help consumers make better purchase decisions.

A Millward Brown Digital study looks at the effectiveness of advertising at 1 exposure to an ad, a digital video ad has an average 1.1% increase in purchase intent, whereas a standard static ad has an average 0.2% increase in purchase intent, and a rich media ad has an average 0.6% increase in purchase intent.

There's a perfect opportunity to build video applications to show what specific pieces of furniture look like in a room or several pieces of clothes pieced together, but brands have not reached that sophistication, yet, said Joline McGoldrick, director of product knowledge at Millward Brown Digital. "It's still an untapped idea," she said. "Consumers expect it, but we're not seeing it yet."

Building a video app that allows consumers to pull together pieces of furniture to configure a layout based on the dimensions of a room, or pulling together pieces of clothing to complete an outfit, would personalize the experience.

Since Millward Brown Digital began measuring digital advertising, favorability of all digital formats has consistently lagged behind television advertising, and other traditional formats, by nearly 50%. While in the U.S. multiscreen audiences spend 147 minutes per day watching TV, they spend 297 minutes with digital screens. Advertiser dollars are following, and the digital video spend should surpass $10 billion by 2017, per eMarketer. 

Automotive and retail make the biggest investments in video. These people should be able to figure it out, McGoldrick said. "There's a whole big opportunity for disruption, but no one has figured it out yet in any meaningful way," she said.

Varying features have greater or less influence. The top 20% of digital video ads lead to an increase in awareness -- 9.6% Aided Brand Awareness, 12.6% Online Ad Awareness, 8.5% increase in Message Association -- and a customer's propensity to engage with the brand down the purchase funnel -- 8.7% increase in Brand Favorability, and 9.2% increase in Purchase Intent. Not only are the bottom 20% ineffective, but they can damage the favorability of the brand and the consumer's likelihood to purchase their product.

The attention span of consumers has much to do with the success of a video advertisement, especially when watching it on a smartphone. It takes between five and 10 minutes to complete a task on desktop and five to eight on a smartphone, McGoldrick said.

The Millward Brown Digital data identifies four best practices for enhancing the effectiveness of a brand's digital video presence. They include tapping into consumer emotions, consolidate the source of the audio and the video rather than to help focus consumers, align the complexity of the message and the length of the creative to become more effective, and consider the platform where the ad will serve up to the consumer. Brands may need something that quickly captures the attention of the audience.

Targeted Ads Are Coming To Your Television

Data That Combine Viewing and Shopping Habits Help Marketers Zero In on Hispanic Bacon Lovers


The marketing minds at Choice Hotels International Inc., which owns Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn, used to figure that ABC’s “Good Morning America” was the primo spot for advertising to would-be travelers.

Now they also like reruns of “Big Cat Diary” on Animal Planet, where they can reach a similar audience for a lot less.

In getting to that conclusion, they are taking a page out of digital advertising’s book, using new sets of data to help pinpoint viewers with much greater specificity than the traditional demographic categories of age and gender. A new crop of tools from companies such as Simulmedia Inc., Nielsen Holdings NV, Rentrak Corp. and TiVo Inc. has sprung up to apply the lessons of “Big Data” to television.

As the rise of digital and mobile advertising threatens to yank ad dollars from the big cable companies and broadcasters, networks and marketers hope the new technologies will have the ability to leverage huge databases on what products consumers buy and which obscure shows they watch, making the television ad landscape more like the online one.

“If you can do this now with television, you prevent people from moving to what they consider to be a more measurable approach,” said David Poltrack, chief research officer for broadcaster CBS Corp.

Choice Hotels uses Simulmedia, an advertising-measurement company that collects set-top box data for 50 million Americans to help companies target consumers watching “long-tail” cable inventory, that is, shows that are generally cheaper than prime-time hits but carry niche viewers. “Good Morning America,” for example, sells 30-second spots for about $43,000, compared with $650 for an ad on Animal Planet during the early morning, when “Big Cat Diary” airs, according to media cost forecasting firm SQAD.

Choice Hotels spends 5% to 10% of its TV ad dollars buying these kinds of data-targeted audiences, according to Robert McDowell, senior vice president of marketing and distribution. The reason? A show like “Good Morning America” offers a mass audience, but targeted buys like “Big Cat Diary” add some precision. Simply put, you pay a lot less and you know the right person is watching.

In recent years, politicians have similarly employed new analytics firms to determine which programs to buy to reach voters who might be swayed, a shift that hasrevolutionized the campaign-ad market.

Marketers have long purchased TV ads based primarily on program and commercial ratings as measured by Nielsen. The demographic segments created from Nielsen’s sample—blunt categories like “females ages 18-49” —are the basis for some $70 billion of TV ad deals annually.

But Nielsen has lately begun to offer additional ways that advertisers can determine where they will get the most bang for their buck. In 2010, it formed a joint venture with digital media company Catalina called Nielsen Catalina Solutions. By merging shopper loyalty-card data with its own TV viewership sample, Nielsen says it can give clients a better picture of what kind of viewer is buying certain consumer packaged goods, an improvement on the typical age-and-gender-only demographic.

For example: Using Nielsen Catalina’s service, Publicis Groupe SA -owned ad-buying firm Starcom—which buys TV slots for Kellogg Co. brands—noticed that Rice Krispies wasn’t that successful with ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” viewers, according to Starcom executive vice president Rob Davis. So the ad buyer subbed out Rice Krispies for Special K, a brand they felt matched better with the show’s audience.

Shopper data further revealed that “Scandal”—an ABC show popular with women—was actually a good place to advertise Frosted Flakes, a brand historically marketed more on male-focused programming. Mr. Davis said that the company adjusted Kellogg’s advertising allocation accordingly.

The TV industry is far behind online services when it comes to ad-targeting. In the digital realm, marketers routinely place ads not just based on consumers’ age and sex, but also their geographical location, shopping habits and other bits of information logged as consumers traverse the Internet. That is one reason that spending on digital ads is expected to reach about $82 billion by 2018, eclipsing TV spending, according to eMarketer.

“A lot of the business is oriented around [targeting] today,” Yin Woon Rani, vice president of integrated marketing at Campbell Soup Co. “We just haven’t been able to do it in TV, which is the bulk of our spending, ironically enough.”

TV advocates say their medium still provides greater “reach” than campaigns on the Web can, even if the latter provides more granular data. Companies like Simulmedia emerged in the past few years once cable and satellite companies began licensing out their set-top box data.

“Really what we care about more than their age and gender is: Do they buy it or not?” said Mr. Davis.

There are some limitations to the TV targeting services. While there are good databases on consumer packaged-goods purchases, there isn’t as much information on other categories like movie tickets or pharmaceutical products, industry experts say.

Plus, the use of highly-targeted services is still in the testing phase. Advertisers aren’t using the tools to change how much money they spend, but rather to help decide which shows certain ads should run on.

“In the inventory we own, there might be shows that do well for Cheez-It and not Special K and vice versa,” said Chris Osner-Hackett, senior director of North America media at Kellogg.

Targeting technologies can help TV networks demonstrate their value and stave off digital competitors, media executives say.

If networks can assign to individuals “a value based on their true potential revenues you draw from them,” advertisers would have greater return on investment, Mr. Poltrack said.

Quicken Loans Earns Top Spot for Unprecedented 5th Consecutive Year in J.D. Power Study

DETROIT, November 13, 2014 – Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the nation’s second largest retail mortgage lender, today announced that for the fifth consecutive year it ranks highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power among all major home loan lenders for primary mortgage origination.

In addition to its fifth consecutive award for customer satisfaction in mortgage origination, Quicken Loans, which serves clients in all 50 states from centralized web lending centers in Detroit, Ohio and Arizona, was also named highest in customer satisfaction among home loan servicers in 2014 by J.D. Power – the first year the company was eligible for the honor.

These awards are the products of an amazing culture that fosters innovation and creativity, allowing team members to affect the outcome and serve every client, every time.

“Our tenure at the top of this study of client satisfaction is a simple reflection of ‘who we are’ as a business,” said Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans. “Our nearly 12,000 team members go to tremendous lengths every single day to deliver the best client experience in the industry. This is led by a culture where innovation, passion and execution thrive.”

According to the J.D. Power study, Quicken Loans earned the highest score in all six key categories of the study:

  • Interaction
  • Loan closing
  • Application/approvals process
  • Loan offerings
  • Onboarding
  • Problem resolution

“Every day you have a choice – you can get better, or you can get worse. I’m proud to say that we continue to get better,” said Bill Emerson, Quicken Loans CEO. “We’re able to keep setting the bar higher because of three simple things: people, process and technology. Our knowledgeable team members deliver an unmatched experience through communication and efficiency, our process remains simple and our technology is second to none.”

Quicken Loans moved its headquarters to Detroit in 2010 and now has more than 9,000 team members working in the city’s thriving urban core.

About Quicken Loans

Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s second largest retail home mortgage lender. The company closed a record $80 billion of volume across all 50 states in 2013. Quicken Loans generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among with Primary Mortgage Origination” in the United States by J.D. Power for the past five consecutive years (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010), and highest in customer satisfaction among all mortgage servicers in 2014.

Quicken Loans was named among the top-30 companies on FORTUNE magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the last 11 consecutive years, ranking #5 in 2014. It has been recognized as one of Computerworld magazine’s ’100 Best Places to Work in IT’ the past ten years, ranking No. 1 in 2014, 2013, 2007, 2006 and 2005. The company moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010, and now more than 9,000 of its 11,000-plus team members work in the city’s urban core. For more information about Quicken Loans, please visit QuickenLoans.com, on Twitter at @QLnews, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuickenLoans.


Streaming May Have Positive Effect On TV

Heavy video streaming may not necessarily be cannibalizing traditional pay TV -- it may be helping out in some cases, according to one survey.

A report from Kantar company TNS, a media consultant/advisory, says that “while streamers are more likely than non-streamers to downgrade their level of traditional pay TV service -- 9% versus 6% -- they are also more likely to upgrade their level of service -- 16% versus 6%.

And of those that make improvements? Those consumers who many pay TV providers fear losing -- young viewers and millennials.

Adults under age 30, who comprise less than 20% of all pay TV subscribers with streaming technology, represent one-third of TV homes that recently purchased more channels and/or features from their traditional video provider.

Streaming has been steadily growing. In the third quarter, 34% of respondents said they have “streamed in the past month,” up from 27% in the third quarter of 2012. But the eye-opening statistic comes when the survey asked those who have paid for a stream during the past month. That number was 26% versus 16% in the third quarter of 2012.

Overall, TNS says pay TV households that also stream video are more than twice as likely as non-streaming households to have made a change to their service level with their pay TV provider -- 25% against 12%.

TNS’ survey was of nearly 25,000 U.S. homes.

TV Ad Industry Terrible At Marketing

If you bring up the topic of television among industry folks these days, you’re very likely to hear that the TV ad biz is on its last legs, with audiences and ad effectiveness evaporating into the ether of digital video, YouTube, smartphones and Facebook. Many say it’s only a matter of time until the multichannel TV package goes the way of the milkman. (For younger readers: Yes, there was once a time when you got your milk and butter delivered to your door early in the a.m. by local dairies.).

I believe that these perceptions are significantly out of touch with reality. The TV ad industry hasn’t been doing a very good job telling its story, extinguishing perceptions in the market that media users have abandoned TV and TV advertising for pure digital media.

I’m not a Luddite. I started in digital ad tech in the early 1990s and was there for the births of the banner, the ad server, the ad network and behavioral targeting. Today, however, I work at the intersection of digital and linear TV -- and I am shocked at the disconnect between belief and reality among so many in our business today. Here are some of my favorites myths:

Belief: No one is watching TV, certainly not Millennials.

Reality: According to the Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the average American watches more than 34 hours of television every week, up more than 25% from 15 years ago. Not only do Millennials watch TV, they watch six times as much of it as they do digital video, and 35 times as much as they watch video on a smartphone.

Belief: TV viewing is collapsing; just look at the ratings of the top shows.

Reality: Ratings of top shows have been declining for years and years, but not because viewership has been dropping -- see the stat above documenting the 25% surge in viewing from 15 years ago. What is different is that viewers are watching many more different shows, on many more different networks, at many more different times. It’s called fragmentation. The Web was born with it, and TV now has it in a big way. Two-thirds of all TV viewing in the U.S. now occurs on an episode with a rating under 0.5. Yes, that’s two-thirds of all viewing!

YouTube is biggest platform today for video advertising.

YouTube represents more than 50% of the digital video consumed in the U.S. today. However, as an RBC Capital Markets analyst has reported, the syndicated TV show “Judge Judy” will deliver twice as many U.S. audience ad minutes in one half hour as YouTube will deliver in a day. Now you know why she is paid so much. Just imagine if you compared the numbers for all of CBS versus YouTube.

Why do these perceptions persist?

First, many are crystal-balling it instead of paying attention to present events. There’s no question that Internet Protocol video is the long-term future of video entertainment and advertising. It’s easy sometimes to miss what’s happening now when everyone is focused on what might happen 10 years from now.

Second, the TV ad industry doesn’t market itself well, because it never needed to. It’s not used to an ad world where it’s not the bright shiny object. When the competition was print, radio and direct mail, TV’s sight, sound and motion made it sexy. Unfortunately for TV today, if you’re not a digital, mobile, social-first marketer, you’re not likely to get promoted.

Third, the TV ad industry is small and relatively insular. TV folks usually don’t talk to the broad advertising marketplace, but just to other people focused on the small screen. Only recently has the industry discovered the importance of putting digital folks into significant roles in their businesses. And TV folks spend more time fighting for share of TV ad budgets than fighting for a bigger industry share of marketing budgets overall.

What to do? It’s time for TV media owners to wake up and tell their story and be willing to take on the digital ad and marketing world on their own terms. This means talking about more than sex/age GRPs. It means measuring, accounting, and guaranteeing not just GRPs, but actual media outputs.

TV advertising’s unfair competitive advantage is its massive, fast reach and action-driving impact. It puts butts into seats. It moves products off shelves. It drives massive numbers of people to websites. TV needs to track all its ads from impression to impact and compete with pure digital channels on the numbers, not just on the past.

What do you think?

FDA Will Test Whether Consumers Absorb Risk Info in TV Drug Ads

What do you think when you repeatedly see the same ad for a prescription drug? 

The FDA wants to know.

Specifically, the agency is interested in gauging the impact that recurring television ads have on the public, since there appears to be a lack of data to explain how ads for prescription medicines, in particular, affect consumers, according to a notice in the Federal Register. The agency notes that studies have shown a commercial message repeated twice generates better recall than a message broadcast only once, and that increased exposure to ads improves “attitudes and recall for product attributes, particularly when the substance of the repeat messages is varied.”

Generally, the first exposure to an ad results in attention, the second exposure affects how consumers learn the advertised message, and third and subsequent exposures reinforce the learning effects of the second exposure, the FDA notice states.

But the FDA is concerned about the extent to which side effect information is not only conveyed but absorbed. The FDA points out that “prescription drug ads are unique in that they are required to provide both benefit and risk information whereas other ad types tend to include only benefit information.”

And so, the FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion plans to examine the effects of watching numerous television ads. Specifically, the agency plans to assess how consumer perceive and process the risk and benefit information using empirical research. The participants will be people who have been diagnosed with seasonal allergies.

This should be interesting. Consider that the risk information in prescription drug television ads is often confined to a list of side effects that is rattled off bv an announcer. By contrast, the benefits are generally portrayed using a combination of smiling faces and idyllic scenery that suggest happy-ever-after endings.

Consumers will view ads – one, three or six times – that will be embedded in a 42-minute television program. The FDA plans to assess perception, memory, judgments about the ad, intentions to use the medication advertised, among other things, according to the notice.

One marketing expert, however, says the effort may be misguided, because it reflects outdated consumer behavior. Richard Meyer, who heads Online Strategic Solutions, a health digital marketing consulting firm, and who writes the World of DTC Marketing blog, says consumers increasingly rely on the Internet to search for product information, including side effects, after learning about a medicine.

“When DTC [direct-to-consumer advertising] was first approved by the FDA, the model was that patients would see an ad on TV and [might] ask their doctor for or about the product,” he says. “That model is no longer valid. I have looked at web analytics for clients and product safety pages are among the top 10 pages viewed. This tells me that patients are reading the [product] risks and deciding if it’s a product they want to consider.”

He also believes focusing on allergy sufferers is a mistake, because these drugs usually do “not have many serious side effects. They should be testing a broad range of drugs and indications. And the key question they should be asking is: ‘What action are you likely to take as a result of seeing this ad?’ In any event, he says the “days of seeing an ad and asking your doctor for the product are quickly coming to an end.”

We asked the FDA why allergy sufferers were chosen and will let you know what we hear.

[UPDATE: Erik Gordon of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business send us this: "Drug advertisers use every known cognitive device to distract viewers from the recitation of risks. The visuals effectively keep you focused on the happy story.  The way to present the risks is to require a blank white screen with the risks that are recited appearing in plain, black text.  The focus during the disclosure of risks would be on the risks, not the smiling person enjoying life better."]

[ANOTHER UPDATE: This comes from an FDA spokeswoman: "These products have a number of risks and side effects, including serious risks such as glaucoma or cataracts. Our fictitious ad will present seven unique risks and side effects. We believe this is sufficient for the purposes of the study and consistent with the number of risks and side effects shown in a typical direct-to-consumer prescription drug television advertisement.

"We agree that it would be valuable to collect data across a broad range of drugs and indications. However, researching each medical condition, or general population sample, requires significant resources. We are committed to conducting this research using our available resources... Using established behavioral intention measures, we do intend to collect data addressing actions participants are likely to take as a result of seeing the ad.]

More retailers turn videos into direct sales channels

Buying products from inside a video is not a new concept — YouTube introduced a click-to-buy feature in January 2009 — but more online retailers are experimenting with interactive video sales as the interfaces improve and touchscreens become ubiquitous. Shoppable video is growing up. But without compelling statistics to back up its efficacy, it still has a ways to go.

In the past year, 39 department stores produced and released at least one shoppable video, including Sears, Kohl’s and Mr. Porter, according to business intelligence service L2. Brands like Nike, Target and Walmart have worked with Fuisz Media, a tech vendor that enables companies to add interactive elements to their videos. With those elements in place, consumers on laptops, tablets and phones can hover over and click on (or tap) specific products to get more info, share them on social networks or make purchases.

Tech vendors contend that adding interactive elements to a video boosts consumer engagement, leading to more sales. One shoppable video startup, Cinematique, shared some recent campaign stats with Digiday. GAP, which used the Cinematique platform for its “Back to School 2014” campaign, saw 5.9 percent of video viewers click through to a product detail page, according to Cinematique. Another campaign from French clothing retailer Petit Bateau led 13 percent of viewers to its e-commerce site.

“The results are drastic,” said Cinematique CEO Randy Ross. “There’s no question that everyone has a device that’s touchable, everyone has good Internet connection speeds and it’s really easy to create quality video content these days, so all of these factors make the time right [for shoppable video].”

But there’s little independent research on the effectiveness of shoppable videos, a chief reason retailers have been hesitant to make it a major component of their marketing strategies, said David Marcotte, svp of retail insights at Kantar Retail.

“They can’t be throwing resources at stuff simply because it’s technologically cool,” Marcotte told Digiday. “If they’re going to commit to it, they want to know it’s going to sell.”

Consumer demand for shoppable video, meanwhile, is effectively non-existent. Nobody will select a retailer based solely on the fact that they make shoppable videos, argued Marcotte.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, if it’s there, the consumer will use it,” he said. “But I sincerely don’t believe that anybody is looking for it. Nobody is going shopping demanding this.”

Retailers can also run into user experience issues when they repurpose existing video content as shoppable videos. High-end fashion retailer Net-A-Porter turned a video for Temperley London’s summer line into “a touchable experience,” but the rapid cuts leave little time to tap on and investigate the items within.

“It’s definitely something we’re working with these brands on: to rethink why they’re editing the content the way that they are,” said Cinematique cofounder Kyle Heller. “They have to be conscious that they’re building an interactive piece, and it’s just a matter of people getting used to that.”

Special content creation (like this shoppable episodic film from Target) can get pricey, but the core tech isn’t too expensive: A basic plan at Cinematique costs around $100 a month. But there’s even cheaper (if less flexible) shoppable video functionality on YouTube, which has added a number of features that help translate video views into sales, including annotation links and a commerce-friendly channel layout for retailers. Unilever’s TRESemme brand uses the layout on its YouTube channel, which boasts a products section along “how to” fashion tips.

Brands like Juicy Couture and Asos, meanwhile, have used YouTube annotations to enable video viewers to click through to product pages, pausing the video content while consumers check out the product.

In the broad scheme, shoppable video remains a novelty for most marketers, but both retail analysts Digiday spoke with would encourage brands to experiment with the format to see if it works well for them.

“It takes time, it takes energy, it costs money,” said Paula Rosemblum, an analyst at Retail Systems Research. “But retailers are recognizing there’s no homogeneous way shoppers want to shop … it’s certainly appropriate and useful for retailers to use every tool available as long as it’s appropriate for their consumers.”

Why publishers are flocking to explainer videos

The world is complicated, and it’s increasingly being explained in video clips.

In recent weeks, the “Vox Explains” video series broke down the Ebola outbreak, the 2014 midterm elections and the importance of flu shots. “Mashable Explains” videos tackled Uber, 4chan and stop-motion animation. Mental Floss videos addressed common food misconceptions, tortoises’ laggardly speed and the origin of April Fools’ Day.

From BuzzFeed to Business Insider, explainers have become a go-to gambit for digital publishers, offering to go beyond quick hit news stories and in the process produce content with a long shelf life. It’s no surprise then that publishers are shifting the format into video, especially considering the comparatively high ad rates video fetches. For users, the appeal of explainer videos is that they distill the information and context surrounding a specific topic quickly. Here’s why they’re taking off:

Explainer videos serve audiences.

A good explainer video makes a single topic digestible, often quickly. That offers viewers a lot of value: They get a thoroughly researched overview of a subject without having to expend much energy or time.

“We sometimes don’t think about news as a service for people,” Melissa Bell, executive editor of Vox.com, told Digiday. “Some people only have a minute in line at Starbucks to learn about Ferguson. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to provide that information to them, and explanatory video is one effective way to do that.”

In the past six months, Vox has cranked out 37 editions of “Vox Explains” on subjects ranging from the effectiveness of political TV ads to the NFL’s concussion crisis. They are mostly one- to three-minute videos. According to stats on YouTube — Vox runs the videos there promotionally but uses its own player on Vox.com — “Vox Explains” has racked up nearly 4 million views on the video-streaming platform.

Beyond keeping viewers entertained, the visual nature of the medium can help facilitate the learning process, even with a limited time frame. A smart visual presentation will help viewers grasp complicated ideas swiftly, said Weston Green, director of video at Elite Daily, the millennial-focused site that has recently explained why some girls dress promiscuously on Halloween and why some women prefer food to sex.

“The video format is so much more engaging and clear for these big topic subjects, like Ebola or the Hong Kong protests,” he said. “They’re just easier to comprehend with visuals.”

Explainer videos are cheap comparatively.

High-quality explainer videos don’t tend to cost much. They don’t require a big crew and tons of production resources, just a good script, a winsome host and some editing chops. A studio can help, but publishers can get by without a fancy setup.

“A single host can really connect with an audience,” said Will Pearson, president of Mental Floss, which has recently explained how deodorant works and the origin of the dollar sign. “It can feel like you’re sitting down with a smart professor, even if it’s a one-way conversation.”

That doesn’t mean a polished presentation isn’t imperative. Mental Floss videos unfurl their topics at a rapid clip, which requires talented hosts and snappy editing — though, again, neither is necessarily that expensive.

A bigger budget can always be put to creative use, however. “This is a really visual medium, so experimenting with different styles and looks is important,” said Vox’s Bell. “One video we did recently experimented with 8-bit graphics, another one used images from inside an MRI machine.”

Explainer videos perform well.

Explainer videos tend to have a long shelf life, especially if they’re not tied to specific or rapidly moving news events.

That approach has garnered Mental Floss a huge YouTube following, with more than 1.1 million subscribers and nearly 4.2 million monthly views, according to OpenSlate data. It relies mostly on massive lists, like “29 Dumb Facts About Dessert,” though it also has question series that answers queries like “Where Did Last Names Come From?” Each of those videos, posted within the past week, has racked up well over 100,000 views.

“Most video content we make is evergreen in its nature,” said Pearson. “The kinds of questions that we’re answering are just as relevant six months from now as they are today.”

But it’s not just the lighthearted stuff that does well, said Bell, who pointed out that Vox’stwo-minute explainer on America’s child migrant crisis has collected 77,000 views on YouTube, despite the publisher’s substantially lower subscriber base.

“Our top [explainer] videos are about war, earthquakes, Israel-Gaza, Ferguson, ISIS, so people are responding to the hard news subjects, which is consistent with what we’re seeing on Vox in general,” she said.

Explainer videos travel well.

Explainer videos can simultaneously stand on their own and work as supplemental material. A Vox explainer on the Hong Kong protests makes sense on YouTube, where it can travel across other social platforms, outside a Vox article where it’s embedded.

“That’s pretty unique about video, that you can take it and have it live independently of the site,” said Bell. “That’s why making sure that it provides enough information and context, either as part of a whole or as its own individual whole, is important.”

Defining Advanced Attribution: A Cheat Sheet


From Jeffrey Fine, Director of Analytics at Eicoff, one of North America's leading DRTV advertising agencies: "Understanding how digital media channels and television work together, and how much each marketing channel contributes to a sale, is one of the biggest challenges in media analytics today. Cookie cutter solutions do not work - no one solution is right for every client because different clients have different needs, media plans and budgets. This overview of attribution definitions is a very helpful reference."

Defining Advanced Attribution: A Cheat Sheet

By Manoj Mathew, Client Partner at Visual IQ

Every few days, it seems there’s another company announcing the launch of a new marketing attribution solution. With the plethora of tools and model types available, it’s easy to become confused about what differentiates “advanced” attribution from other options. To help alleviate the confusion, here’s a checklist of the defining characteristics of an advanced attribution solution.

Algorithmic Methodology

Does the solution offer an objective, scientifically rigorous algorithmic model, as well as machine learning technology? Does it use 100% of all marketing touchpoints to which a consumer is exposed? Attribution solutions that use a sampling of data or subjective models (first touch, last touch, even weighting, time decay, custom regression, etc.) not only lack science and rigor, but will also likely cause an uphill battle when getting organizational buy-in due to the anecdotal nature of the insights they provide.

Multi-Channel (Addressable & Non-Addressable)

Most attribution solutions include addressable (user-level) channels like online display and paid search. However, advanced attribution solutions are distinguished by the ability to provide insight into how offline non-addressable marketing channels like broadcast TV are influencing online conversions, and how online media is impacting offline conversions. They are also characterized by the ability to incorporate, or “onboard,” addressable offline channels like direct mail into their model to provide an in-depth view of the customer journey across all online and offline marketing touchpoints.

Cross-Device Tracking

Consumer’s interactions with brands are increasingly fragmented across different platforms and devices, ranging from desktops and mobile phones, to tablets and other connected devices. An advanced attribution solution supports cross-device tracking, so that the entire purchase path can be analyzed and marketing performance and ROI can be measured across all platforms.

Audience Insights

Advanced attribution solutions feature the ability to ingest audience data (including demographic and behavioral data) in order to understand the combination of media and tactics that are driving marketing goals by audience segment through an attributed lens. Attributed audience-specific insights allow marketers to understand the attributes of their most valuable customers, as well as those with the highest propensity to convert, and tailor theiromni-channel marketing tactics to support their audience acquisition, engagement and activation strategies.

Measurement, Optimization and Activation

Advanced attribution solutions go well beyond delivering accurate measurement, providing “what if” scenario planning functionality and optimization recommendations at the executive and practitioner level, as well as the ability to activate those recommendations in near real-time by automatically sending attribution-informed metrics to media buying platforms like demand side platforms (DSPs) and real-time bidding (RTB) engines.

Scalability

Unlike less sophisticated options, advanced attribution solutions are able to keep up with the increased demand for more frequent optimization recommendations as an organization matures and the analytics, media buying and planning teams adopt and embrace an attribution-based activation strategy. Moreover, advanced solutions allow for seamless drill down to their results at any level of media granularity, so that different teams within an organization can leverage the insights for scenario planning and media spend optimization according to their own specified budgets, timeframes, and marketing goals.

Nielsen, Adobe to measure online TV across multiple devices

NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Nielsen and Adobe Systems Inc announced an alliance on Tuesday that aims to measure the viewership of digital video across all Internet-connected platforms including TVs, smart phones and tablets as the television ecosystem undergoes dramatic change.

The move for Nielsen, which dominates traditional TV ratings and Adobe, which has troves of data on how people watch videos through the Internet, underscores how quickly the landscape is shifting.

Just last week, Time Warner's pay TV channel HBO and broadcaster CBS made the startling announcements they plan to launch standalone products allowing consumers to watch their programming without a cable or satellite subscription.

It is commonly referred to in the industry as over-the-top and has taken off largely due to the efforts of streaming video pioneer Netflix.

"The way content consumption is rapidly changing you need a measurement system that will be able to help media companies, advertisers and publishers better understand the value of their audiences," said Jeremy Helfand, vice president of video solutions with Adobe.

Nielsen ratings, based on feedback from panels of viewers, have long been the currency advertisers use in negotiations to buy TV commercials.

"A lot of Nielsen clients were complaining and pushing them over the past years that its methodology was not for digital devices," said Luca Paderni, vice president, research director at Forrester, a research firm.

Paderni noted that Adobe sits at the very center of video distribution system and can track views down to the IP level.

Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president global research and analytics at ESPN, said in a statement that, "One of the challenges in digital measurement has been the lack of alignment between site analytics and syndicated measurement data. We will be working with Nielsen and Adobe to help resolve this."

In addition to Walt Disney's ESPN, Turner Broadcasting, Sony Pictures Television's Crackle, Viacom and Univision will use the measurement platform when it makes its debut in 2015.

The partnership comes as Nielsen disclosed in October that a technical error in its database could have impacted several months of TV ratings at the major broadcast networks. Nielsen is undertaking a post-mortem to find out what went wrong.

An Infographic: 20 Years of Television Innovation.

While the storytelling medium of a television show may not have changed much, the way people tune in to their favorite programs has. Just 20 years ago, the patent for the first Internet-connected TV was filed in France. This year, more than 110 million U.S. adults watch a digital program using a connected TV.

"Over the span of just 20 years, the experience of watching TV and the business of advertising on TV have changed significantly," Videology CEO Scott Ferber said. "This year,­ 20 years after the first patent for connected TV was filed, we wanted to take a look back and see what events have led us to where we are today. Television is now digital, and digital is now television, and one thing is for sure: When it comes to TV, the only constant is change."

Take a look at television's journey over the last two decades from a Web-wired box to a digital portal, courtesy of Videology.

Sinclair To Push Male-Oriented Grit Channel

Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the largest TV station groups, has given a big lift to a new local-based digital TV network, the male-centric Grit channel.

Grit will run in 47 Sinclair market stations -- bringing the network’s coverage to 73% of U.S. TV homes. Some of Sinclair's markets include Seattle; Minneapolis; St. Louis; Portland, Ore.; Pittsburgh; Raleigh; Baltimore, Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Oklahoma City; Norfolk; Asheville; and Buffalo.

Grit will program westerns, war and action films to men 25-54. It is one of a number of new locally provided networks that runs on local TV stations’ digital signals.

Grit, which launched August 18, has a sister network named Escape that targets women and is currently seen in 50% of the U.S. It's owned by Katz Broadcasting.

Sinclair owns, operates, or provides sales services to 164 TV stations in 79 markets  Sinclair's TV stations reaches about 38.2% of U.S. TV homes.

Grit already has coverage in the biggest markets from Univision Television Group, which carries the channel in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, and other markets.

This is the third major distribution agreement for Grit. Another deal with Raycom Media has Grit in markets including Cleveland/Akron, Charlotte, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, and Louisville.

Jeffrey Wolf, chief distribution officer for Grit, stated: “Grit and Escape will help station groups and owners grow and prosper in this new world as consumers combine over-the-air television with over-the-top services.”

In commenting about the deal, David Amy, COO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, noted: “Broadcast television is the most effective distribution medium for any content owner wanting to reach mass audiences.”

Advertising Week 2014: Technology Takes Center Stage

Technology

"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Bob Lord, CEO at AOL Platforms.

The annual whirlwind of Advertising Week events, when nearly 100,000 advertisers, agencies, media and marketing companies converge in New York, always presents a fantastic opportunity to take stock of our industry and where it’s headed.

There was a different vibe in the air this year. Although the digital revolution has been reshaping the marketing world for well over a decade now, as recently as one year ago few could even define what programmatic means.

Technology has traditionally taken a back seat to the glamour of creative strategy and TV upfronts. A great deal of confusion still exists about how to effectively tap into the proliferation of IT offerings available to buy, sell, optimize and measure ads.

On the heels of many great conversations with advertisers, agency heads, media execs and others this week, it’s been exciting to see technology and innovation move to center stage. Here’s my take on some of 2014’s notable highlights:

Leaning In To Programmatic

When The Wall Street Journal posts a blog titled "Welcome to (Programmatic) Advertising Week," you know something fundamental has shifted. WSJ noted there were more than 20 panels on programmatic technologies this year at Advertising Week. If last year was about education – with the few discussions taking place focused on “programmatic 101” – this year was about how to optimize and extend use of programmatic tools beyond RTB, bringing automation to premium campaigns and across multiple channels.

Early adopters are now broadening their use of programmatic while more and more newcomers are jumping onboard. MAGNA GLOBAL released a study this week on programmatic spending and the numbers speak volumes: Of more than 35 countries analyzed, the amount of media inventory transacted programmatically will reach an estimated $21 billion globally this year, a 52% increase compared to 2013, and $53 billion by 2018.

The industry sees the writing on the wall. Programmatic technology will drive the ongoing mechanization of advertising, as the efficiency of automation continues to wean people off of multiple meetings and manual insertion orders.

Convergence Is Coming – For TV And Digital  

The ongoing evolution of programmatic technology, combined with rapidly changing media consumption habits, is already blurring the perceived boundaries between the worlds of digital advertising and linear TV. On Monday at Advertising Week, NBCUniversal announced NBCUx, which will open some of its digital display, mobile and video inventory to programmatic buying. This is a harbinger of where the future is headed, as programmatic technologies demonstrate their potential to give advertisers much deeper insight into audiences across all channels, including TV, at scale.

“Today, convergence is the new reality,” said Linda Yaccarino, president of advertising sales at NBCUniversal. “Programmatic is here to stay.”

Data: The Most Valuable Asset

This week, data has been called the “new oil,” “the next battleground” and the most important component of advertising’s present and future. I say amen to that.

Data is an invaluable asset that can be used to continually refine media strategies and inform real-time decisions around specific types of inventory, reach, frequency and more.

Data is “one of [ESPN’s] greatest priorities over the next 18 months,” Eric Johnson, ESPN’s executive vice president of global multimedia sales, said during a panel moderated by Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP’s chief executive.

Making the most of the enormous volumes of data now at our fingertips will require a commitment to open, connected systems that support the integration and holistic analysis of critical information across screens, devices and types of inventory. And the power of programmatic data to define the when and where of strategic ad placement is only step one. Next, marketers need to be thinking about how to effectively leverage data to overlay the most compelling creative on top.

Accurate, real-time, cross-screen data is the fuel that will drive maximum engagement, lift and ROI.

More Revenue, Traffic For Internet Brands That Advertise On TV

A new study says TV advertising is the primary driver of revenues and traffic for some of the biggest Internet companies.

Of 75 “pure-play” Internet brands -- businesses [that] are solely reliant on Internet traffic to drive revenue -- nearly 90% of those companies' marketing activities (63 of 75 brands) show a direct connection between TV spending and higher Web site traffic, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau and using Nielsen Ad Views data.

Looking at 12 categories, Internet revenue grew sharply for every dollar spent on TV advertising to $46.26 in 2013 -- up from $12.20 (the second year on TV) and $11.06 (the first year of advertising on TV).

The survey says the 75 largest “pure-play” Internet brands spent more than $4 billion on TV ads in 2013 -- an increase of 37% over 2009.

In 2013, Web site TV advertising totaled $2.966 billion for cable networks; $688 million for broadcast; $358 million for spot broadcast; and $110 million in syndication. Cable advertising climbed from $2.321 billion in 2012; $2.087 billion in 2011; and $1.709 billion in 2010.

The survey examined ad categories including auto, travel, dating, gaming, care-giving, entertainment, educational, financial, insurance, business services, and retail. The study says 11 different ad categories witnessed higher revenue from the first year on-air using TV advertising. 

Comparing the periods -- February through August 2013 and September through April 2014 -- thirty-eight of those Internet advertisers that spent more averaged 33% more unique visitors, while the 25 advertisers that spent less averaged 22% fewer uniques.

The study says, for example, that when Internet consumer travel company Priceline cut TV spending 26% during the period, it ended up with 24% fewer unique visitors. When Ancestry increased spending 22% it saw a 21% increase in unique visitors.

Longer TV Spots May Be Better

Why do we cling to the 30-second television commercial norm? 

While some advertisers are using 15-second spots and others are creating 30-minute long-form/infomercials, the vast majority of advertisers continue to use the traditional-length commercial with inexplicable determination. 

It’s inexplicable because 30 seconds no longer provides advertisers with sufficient time to achieve their objectives.  More specifically, here are three factors that are making longer-length commercials necessary:

  1. The need to include more “response” information in a spot.  The line between direct-response commercials and general advertising has blurred.  Many commercials these days include Web site addresses, as well as social media-related and mobile information. There’s been a rise in two-step offers in which the point of the commercial is to drive viewers to click on sites, participate in social communities or use apps.  It takes more time to motivate a response than it does to create awareness, and the former is becoming a goal for more advertisers.
  2. The growing complexity of offers. For instance, we’ve seen a significant rise in recent years of pharmaceutical, insurance and financial services commercials.  Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical spots for products that relieve anxiety, increase libido and facilitate sleep require a significant amount of information.  They must include warnings about potential side effects and explain what the product does and clinical proof that it’s effective.  Similarly, insurance and investment offers also have to reserve time for full disclosure, as well as communicate the specifics of what can be complicated products.
  3. The increasing inventory of longer commercial availabilities.  The proliferation of cable channels has created a growing pool of one-minute, 90-second and two-minute commercial slots.  While the big three networks still provide a limited number of non-30 second availabilities—especially during prime time—cable stations tend to be much more open to commercials of varying lengths. Plus, the explosion of specialized cable stations means that advertisers can target more effectively using longer-length spots; they know that they will reach an audience that has an inherent interest in the product or service they’re selling, and that viewers will be that much more inclined to sit through a longer spot.

Given these factors, why haven’t more advertisers embraced one and two-minute commercials? Part of the problem is the misconception that viewers will be annoyed by the additional seconds; that their tolerance for commercials ends at 30 seconds.  As any television direct-response professional knows, this is nonsense. Response rates are better with longer-length commercials than shorter ones. People are intolerant of bad advertising, not long advertising.          

Part of the problem, too, is the misguided belief that shorter is better. According to a recent Nielsen report, the number of 15-second spots increased by 80% from 2008 to 2012. Last year, Dunkin Donuts ran 5-second spots on ESPN’s pre-Super Bowl show.  No doubt, companies attempting to reach the allegedly shorter-attention span millennials believe this is an effective strategy.

Maybe it is, at least for certain advertisers in certain situations.  I’m not suggesting that all spots should be longer. I am proposing that longer options should be considered through testing. Try different lengths in increments of 30 seconds and use analytics to determine what works best.  Sometimes, a mix of different lengths is optimal, depending on stations and markets; sometimes, one particular increment is far superior to the others. 

If you need further motivation, take a look at some 30-second spots currently airing.  Some of them are so jammed full of URLs, special offers and product information that it’s difficult to imagine how anyone is absorbing much of the message—or responding in the way that advertisers want.

It’s time for advertisers to regain their confidence in what they have to say and sell. If the spot is solid creatively and the media buy is on target, viewers will be more than willing to spend a little extra time watching—and perhaps a lot more money buying.

 

 

Packing In The Sales

The world of consumer packaged goods (CPG) today is a broad swath of old brands being reborn, new campaigns and products full of profitable promise, and even plenty of body parts (yes, you read that right).

Long before the mammoth direct response consumer packaged good (CPG) product OxiClean, there was Jelmar, a company Manny Gutterman started in the late 1960s.

Today Jelmar offers a large suite of cleaning products. But long before he opened Jelmar, Gutterman created a national sales representative organization, Manny Gutterman & Associates Inc., in 1949 to sell all kinds of proprietary CPG products to chain drug, variety, hardware and department stores.

The sales channel was so successful, it gave Gutterman the direction and confidence to develop and sell his own brand-name products. And in the late 1960s, when a friend in advertising asked Gutterman to sell a warehouse full of cleaning products, he created Jelmar to do it.

Gutterman, along with sons Steven and Arthur, reformulated and repackaged the abandoned product and sold it as Tarn-X®. As one of the first products that used the phrase “As Seen On TV” in commercials and on packaging, Tarn-X eventually became the No. 1-selling metal cleaner in the United States, as well as a household staple that can be found in every major retailer.

Jelmar kept growing, and in the 1980s, Gutterman and his sons, along with business partner, Al Eicoff, began looking for a complement to Tarn-X. They ended up with a powerful lime and rust remover — CLR® (calcium, lime and rust) was born.

Over the years Jelmar continued to introduce products including Thermal Fork, Tarn-X Silver Polish, Tarn-X Jewelry Cleaner, CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner, CLR Grease Magnet, CLR Power Plumber, CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner, and most recently, the new CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner and CLR Stone Cleaner.

Today, Jelmar remains in family hands. Arthur’s daughter, Alison Gutterman, became the president of Jelmar in 2007.

And she attributes much of the company’s sales success to direct response.

“We’ve created numerous spots over the years for the CLR line,” Gutterman says. “The DRTV approach not only helped promote CLR’s full line of products in a single spot, but it helped increase the products’ retail distribution and shelf space and drove retail sales, too.”

In fact, Jelmar has parlayed its success from consumer circles to commercial sales.

“Now we have an industrial division and sell products up to 55-gallon drums,” Gutterman says. “I’m sure that some of our success in that division is a result of people knowing our products from home use, and transferring them to a commercial use.”

A Perfect Fit: DR and CPG
Today the company Al Eicoff started back in 1959, A. Eicoff & Co., is a thriving DR agency in Chicago. And it’s still working with Jelmar. Bill McCabe, A. Eicoff & Co. president, says the story of Jelmar is a great example of why DR and CPG are a perfect fit.

“DR is a good sales vehicle for many reasons. We know it can both build a brand and generate results simultaneously — and when I say results, that includes coupon redemptions, website visits and sales along with store traffic and sales,” McCabe says. “But an often overlooked advantage of DRTV for CPG is its ability to differentiate the product from others via longer-length commercials — one-to-two-minute spots. These spots cut through the clutter of 30-second spots and the additional time allows the spot to tell a more compelling and more memorable story.”

McCabe says he created two-minute commercials for Breathe Right nasal strips that he tested three times in five markets.

“With each test, the results were terrific. The client told us they asked us to run a third test because after the first two, no one could believe how great the results were,” McCabe says. “The demonstrability of the product lent itself to DRTV, there was a motivating story to tell and the longer-length commercial helped differentiate the product.”

So what’s different about CPG compared to other categories that might make it a good candidate for DR? McCabe says one of his clients put it best “when he told me that when consumers see their product in the store, there’s no way they can learn the story behind the product by just looking at the packaging.”

McCabe says DR gives them the both the opportunity and the time to tell their story so that when shoppers see the product in the store, they’re pre-sold.

“The best CPG products for direct response have a story to tell,” McCabe says. “In many instances, these are relatively complex products — technology to explain, features to demonstrate, benefits that may not be obvious but are meaningful to consumers. These stories can’t be told in 30 seconds, and they can’t be told effectively without DRTV’s ability to demonstrate and motivate.”

In fact, McCabe believes CPG brands can often go it alone in DR without branding ads.

He says, “A brand can stand alone because DRTV has become highly brand conscious as more and more blue chip companies include DRTV in their marketing mix (see sidebar, page 32). The best direct response advertisers and agencies know how to blend branding and response-producing elements seamlessly.”

Veterans’ Varied Vivid Examples
It’s tough to argue with McCabe’s take on the power of DR in CPG. Today there’s a huge selection of CPG products using DR to boost bottom lines. And there’s plenty of proof of some serious staying power.

Industry veterans have vivid examples.

Bill McAlister, president at Top Dog Direct, says Urine Gone — the pet stain and odor remover — is one of his oldest, most successful products. “It’s been around the longest, about nine years, and I think it’s a good example of a consumer packaged good that just keeps selling,” McAlister says.

It’s sold in 24 oz. bottles with a black light that helps consumers detects stains.

“We get a lot of return customers — we’re selling refill jugs (a 48 oz. refill jug sells for $25.49 on Amazon.com and has a four-star rating from 110 reviews) and people are buying it over and over again,” McAlister says. “It’s outselling other products three to one. And we’re all over in retail — Walmart, Target, everywhere.”

Infusion Brands Intl. — the company behind AsSeenonTV.com, Ronco, DualTools and other brands — may have found a CPG winner in DOC C

loths. The company reports it has sold more than million on TV — and counting.

DOC Cloths include eight layers of woven wood pulp fiber and trap and release 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria when rinsed in warm water. Infusion Brands is selling the product on HSN.

A.J. Khubani, CEO and president at DR giant TELEBrands, says in the CPG category, things don’t get much better than Heeltastic, a cream that softens rough heels.

“It’s been selling about a million units a year since 2009, and the sales are very consistent month to month,” Khubani says. “For Heeltastic, there was a true void in the marketplace. There was no good product for cracked heels.”

He says short-form DR helped create a memorable brand. “We came in and we built recognition. Now we’re in all the major retailers. It’s such a good product that brand loyalty followed,” Khubani contends.

He adds that in the CPG category, marketers typically sell more product in the first year. But Heeltastic has maintained a healthy momentum. “We’re very pleased with 1 million units a year and we also know word of mouth is good,” Khubani says.

Collette Liantonio, president of Concepts TV Productions, jokes about something Khubani told her once. “He called me a body-part specialist because I have something like seven successful ads running right now that help consumers with different body parts,” Liantonio says.

Indeed, Khubani has a point. Liantonio has products covering — quite literally — from head to toe, from Gray Away for those battling ever-growing stands of silver hair to Miracle Socks for aching legs and feet.

“I laughed when he said that — it sounds a little gruesome,” Liantonio says. “But not all the products are about the Baby Boomers. A lot of the products come down to being an affordable way to deal with pain, they’re health aids — and it’s a very exciting time for these kinds of products.”

She says for most of her CPG products, short-form drives to retail, which is where the real money is. “Where short-form will generate $100 in sales on the airing, that goes up to $1,000 in retail,” she says. ■

Neal Sabin: The Programming Mastermind Behind Me-TV

Eicoff's Take: From the 2009 switch from analog to digital television, digital networks (diginets), like MeTV, were born. Diginets have become a mainstay of DRTV campaigns, providing niche programming that delivers a strong audience and should be considered as part of your media mix.

me tv logoNeal Sabin knows a hit television series when he sees it.

Not the one-hit wonders, or this season's sensation, but the shows that endure for viewing after viewing, year after year.

Now in his 20th year at Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting, a small, family-owned television station group, Sabin has staked his career on the likes of "Gilligan's Island" and "Leave It to Beaver," by knowing exactly which shows play well in perpetuity and how to make them must-see TV decades after their original run.

As the programming mastermind behind Weigel's Me-TV, he has parlayed his acumen and sensibility into a burgeoning television network, linking previously obscure digital subchannels — the stations up in the 200s and 300s on the cable box — into a national powerhouse that regularly beats most cable networks in the ratings.

The formula for broadcasting success is simple, according to Sabin.

"There's some research. There's my history. There's my gut," Sabin said.

When the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all television stations switch from analog to digital signals by 2009, it created separate digital subchannels for each TV station, and a programming void.

Weigel Broadcasting — which owns WCIU-Ch. 26 in Chicago, along with stations in Milwaukee and South Bend, Ind. — gambled on a new platform and Sabin to create what has become the largest diginet in the U.S., leaving ABC, NBCU and other major players in its wake. Launched in 2010, Me-TV, a classic television network featuring everything from "The Brady Bunch" to the original "Star Trek" series, has some 160 broadcast affiliates reaching 91 percent of TV households.

Sabin spent a year and "tens of millions" of Weigel Broadcasting's money negotiating with distributors to build a massive programming library for Me-TV. He spent more than 50 years and countless hours in front of the TV set preparing for that mission.

Casual, balding and bespectacled with a close-cropped beard, Sabin seems at first glance a neater, trimmer and decidedly less neurotic George Costanza from "Seinfeld," a WCIU staple. But Sabin's unimposing demeanor belies a passionate, driven and determined man who has earned his stripes as a television programmer and the respect of his peers.

Underestimating Sabin has proved a mistake for his competition. It's also a driving force for him.

"There's nothing that motivates me more than someone saying you won't be able to do it," said Sabin, 57. "That's like gas on my fire."

A Skokie native and lifelong Chicagoan, Sabin grew up glued to the television, soaking in everything from local fixtures such as "Ray Rayner" and "Bozo's Circus" to first-run network shows. As a young child, Sabin began programming his own fantasy TV stations, using TV Guides his father, then a corporate attorney, would bring back from distant cities, to compare and contrast schedules.

"I was not an athletic kid. I was that proverbial picked-last-for-sports kind of thing, and I made a lot of my friends on the television set and at the movies," Sabin said.

Sabin became a TV programmer and a budding entrepreneur while in fifth grade. Using his dad's home movie projector and a collection of cartoon shorts, he spliced together hour-long reels and rented himself out as entertainment for kid's birthday parties. His parents would schlep him to gigs, mostly on the North Shore.

His business took off, bringing in more than $100 a weekend by the time he reached high school. His sales pitch revolved around a guaranteed hour of peace for harried parents.

"I never had to dress up as a clown. I don't know how to make balloon animals, but I kept everybody quiet," Sabin said.

After graduating from Niles North High School, Sabin left for Washington University in St. Louis. He spent much of his freshman year in the library perusing Broadcasting and Variety, entertainment trade magazines. Sabin transferred to Northwestern University the following year, where he immersed himself in the Radio, Television and Film program.

As a junior at Northwestern, he landed an internship at WLS-AM 890, where he pestered then program director John Gehron to let him do more than the usual drudge work, to no avail. During his senior year, Sabin landed a paying gig at WIND-AM 560, where he served as morning show producer for legendary air personality Clark Weber. Weber not only mentored Sabin, he provided Sabin with daily rides to the station as well.

Now retired and living in Evanston, Weber remembers his young charge's ambition and desire to learn — qualities that set him apart from many broadcast novices.

"He was destined to do big things, and I could see that in him, right out of school," said Weber, 83. "He hit the ground running and he was inquisitive and as eager to learn as any producer I ever had."

Weber also remembers one of those learning experiences leaving his young producer speechless.

An on-air segment about breast implants prompted a female listener to stop by the station to disprove the contention that post-surgical breasts felt fake. They went out to talk with the visitor, who made her point by placing Sabin's hands firmly on her breasts.

"He was mortified. I was hysterical, and he and I still laugh about that," Weber said.

When Sabin graduated from Northwestern in 1978 he went full time at WIND, which was phasing out its music format for news and talk. He was named interim music director during the format's swan song, earning respectable ratings, and stayed on as production director for the new format.

In 1980, Sabin pitched the owners of WPRZ-AM 1330, an Evanston daytime-only station, to convert from a religious format to a general interest music and news station, with him as general manager. They bought the idea and he left WIND. It didn't last a year.

Sabin worked with Chicago radio traffic reporting pioneer Gary Lee for about a year before rejoining WIND in late 1981, this time as head of talk programming at the station. Two years later, as a 26-year-old, he became a television programmer.

"People sometimes ask me, how did you get into television, and I say I had my tonsils out," Sabin said.

Recuperating from surgery at his parents' home, a heavily sedated Sabin sucked on Popsicles and aimlessly flipped through the television channels until he stumbled upon an old movie playing on a relatively new station, Channel 60. It was WPWR-TV, an Aurora UHF station owned by budding media mogul Fred Eychaner. Within a few years, WPWR shifted to its current home on Channel 50, where it became an independent television success story.

Sabin helped write that story as program director, a position he landed through persistence, persuasion and programming knowledge. Working on a shoestring budget, he helped secure shows and build Channel 50 into a formidable competitor and ratings success during an 11-year run with the station.

"Neal is a successful programmer because he loves television and has since he was a kid," said Al DeVaney, the former general manager of WPWR, who retired in 2002 after Eychaner's Newsweb Corp. sold the station to Fox for a lofty $425 million. "In fact, he knows and loves virtually every TV show that was ever made. That can also be a weakness on occasion but overall he is very good at what he does."

Bill Hague, senior vice president for television consulting firm Frank N. Magid, sold programs to Sabin at WPWR in his previous role running the Chicago distribution office of Warner Bros., and remembered him as a savvy negotiator with an encyclopedic knowledge of television.

"He knew my library better than I knew my library," Hague said. "He knew what we had, when its expiration was, when it was coming off cable."

WCIU-Ch. 26 was launched in 1964 by John Weigel, the father of sportscaster Tim Weigel, before many TV sets even had UHF receivers. The station came to be known for its spotty signal (it originally broadcast from the vertically-challenged Board of Trade building) and eclectic programming with such fare as Mexican bullfights and local professional wrestling.

Howard Shapiro was an early minority investor in the station, and used it to advertise his chain of C.E.T. appliance stores. In 1966, he took over the station but kept the Weigel name, and WCIU has remained in his family's hands ever since. Shapiro died in 2012, and his son, Norman, now runs the business.

Under Shapiro, the station featured shows such as "A Black's View of the News" and "Soul Train," which host Don Cornelius started in 1970 as a local afternoon show on WCIU. Another fixture was "The Stock Market Observer," a daily seven-hour live broadcast which ran for more than three decades.

Spanish broadcasting was also a large part of WCIU's programming, and in 1989, the station became an affiliate of Univision, turning its evening schedule over to the Miami-based network. In 1994, Univision bought Joliet independent station WGBO-Ch. 66 for $35 million, converting it to Spanish and dropping Spanish programming from WCIU.

In 1994, Sabin's reputation opened the door for him to make a pitch to the Shapiros to convert WCIU to a general market station, with him at the helm.

The Shapiros already had Sabin on their short list to do the same.

"I was giving some thought to calling him before he called us," recalled Norman Shapiro.

Sabin was hired as general manager of WCIU in summer 1994 and rebranded it as "The U," a name he coined and the start of a pronoun-themed broadcasting portfolio. One of his first programming moves was to hire Rich Koz, aka Svengoolie, whose tongue-in-cheek horror movie host role was resurrected and eventually rolled out nationally under Sabin's watch. Koz hosted WCIU's New Year's Eve 1995 relaunch live on air, paired inexplicably with controversial talk show host Morton Downey Jr.

Other changes came in fits and starts. The station soon moved into a new, 64,000-square-foot studio in a former printing plant at 26 N. Halsted St., a few blocks from Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios in the West Loop. But it took Sabin several years of pleading to persuade ownership to remove "The Stock Market Observer" from the daily schedule.

"I hacked away at it and begged Howard and Norman to let me take it off the air," Sabin said.

The early lineup for "The U" featured classic TV fare such as "The Munsters," "Gilligan's Island," "Hogan's Heroes" and "Leave It to Beaver." Sabin also partnered with WBBM-FM 96.3 (B96) to create a short-lived daily teen dance program called "U Dance." Later in 1995, the station picked up the Kids WB cartoon blocks, after then WB affiliate WGN-Ch. 9 declined to carry the programming.

While Sabin admits he was "too ambitious at first," the station steadily gained traction.

"We started doing numbers and the station started carving out a niche of being a local, kind of fun with a little bit of an attitude station," Sabin said.

"The U" has since shifted to a more current lineup, with sitcoms such as "Seinfeld" and "The King of Queens," and daytime offerings including "Jerry Springer," court shows and the station's locally produced talker, "You & Me This Morning," which recently expanded to a third hour. Meanwhile, most classic shows migrated in 2005 to WWME-Ch. 23, a low-powered Chicago station owned by Weigel that became the blueprint for the Me-TV Network.

The FCC's mandated digital conversion has increased Sabin's value geometrically.

Overflow programming has found a home on WCIU's digital subchannels, creating The U Too and Me Too. Beyond Chicago, in 2008 Weigel partnered with MGM Television to launch This TV, a movie diginet now reaching 85 percent of the country. Tribune Broadcasting replaced Weigel as MGM's partner last year.

Weigel partnered with Fox last year to launch Movies!, going head-to-head with This TV. Meanwhile the success of Me-TV has spawned imitators such as Cozi, a classic TV diginet started by NBCUniversal last year. Other major diginet players include Tribune Broadcasting's Antenna TV and Atlanta-based Bounce TV, which features African-American-focused programming.

Measured against cable networks, Me-TV ranks sixth during the daytime and 28th during prime time, besting networks such as Tribune Co.'s WGN America, according to Nielsen, and drawing praise for Sabin, even from competitors.

"I'm a fan," said Larry Wert, Tribune Co.'s president of broadcast media. "I think he has been a strategic and creative programmer. I think he has looked at his assets and been innovative on how he could grow them, and he has done a remarkable job."

While Me-TV beats many cable networks in the ratings, it doesn't match them on the revenue front. Me-TV splits 12 minutes of commercial time each hour with affiliates — far less inventory than most cable networks have. And unlike cable networks, Me-TV doesn't get subscription fees from cable and satellite providers. Sabin and Weigel have nonetheless proved diginets to be a viable business.

Weigel Broadcasting has grown from 100 to 360 employees during Sabin's tenure. While he would not disclose operating revenues or profits, Sabin said the Shapiros have spent "hundreds of millions of dollars" at his direction.

"What kind of drives me is that I cannot let them down, because they trusted me with so much," said Sabin, who was elevated to vice chairman of the company.

While the Shapiros are counting on Sabin, he continues to put his faith in the likes of Gilligan, whose ratings remain strong 50 years after being stranded on that island.

"It's lovable, mindless classic television," Sabin said. "Gilligan is an enduring character that people love, and the fact that it makes absolutely no sense at all, I guess is what people like."

rchannick@tribune.com

Twitter @RobertChannick

Sabin on ...

The success of Me-TV: "One of the reasons I think Me-TV is doing so phenomenally well is, it is the antidote to reality television."

His reputation as a tough negotiator: "Everyone tells me I'm a grinder, and I think I give in way too easily."

An untold family secret: His sister once sponsored "TV Turnoff Week" in Wilmette.

His home life: He's an avid gardener at his house in the Southport corridor of the Lakeview neighborhood, which he shares with Jeff Jacek, his partner of 15 years.

On his vacation itinerary: Hiking and exploring the great outdoors in the Palm Springs, Calif., area. The fact that it is home to a Me-TV affiliate, he says, is irrelevant. "I just love getting lost in the mountains and sending pictures back," Sabin said. "It's total not-TV."

His least favorite Me-TV staple: "Hogan's Heroes." "I have trouble getting through a whole episode," Sabin said.

Tommie Copper Names Eicoff as Agency of Record for Long and Short Form Ads

Tommie Copper LogoChicago, IL (PRWEB) June 27, 2014 - 

Tommie Copper, the Mt. Kisco, New York-based wellness apparel company, has named A. Eicoff & Company as its advertising agency of record for both long and short form television advertising. The first direct response television (DRTV) commercials placed by the agency will begin airing June 30, 2014, and will include multiple short-form spots (two minutes) and long-form shows (30-minutes).

According to Tommie Copper president Sol Jacobs, “As Tommie Copper continues its evolution into a full, active lifestyle brand, we believe Eicoff is the appropriate partner for our long-form and short-form media needs. We have confidence that Eicoff’s account management, along with its planning and execution strategies, will allow us to position the Tommie Copper brand for continued growth.”

Eicoff CEO, Bill McCabe added, “We will conduct sophisticated analytics to optimize buys being made for a series of short and long-form commercials for Tommie Copper. This represents a great opportunity for our team to craft a media strategy that integrates different forms and a variety of spots.”

About Tommie Copper 
Tommie Copper is one of the leaders in the wellness apparel field, and its copper-infused apparel is designed to enhance performance, speed recovery from injury and provide relief from aches and pains. The company’s website can be found at:http://www.tommiecopper.com.

About A. Eicoff & Co. 
Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the U.S. The company was founded in 1959, and in 1982 became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

Here’s Another Reason For Advertisers To Avoid Programmatic Ad Buying

Eicoff's Take: Programmatic media buying is here to stay. While it can be a cost-effective option for your brand, just beware of the pitfalls.

bushes

Using automated “programmatic” ad buying services to reach people scattered across the Web can be cost-efficient for marketers. But if their ads land on the wrong sites, they can do more harm than good.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by Millward Brown, a research company owned by WPP WPPGY -2.35% PLC, which surveyed nearly 4,400 people about perceptions of ads they saw. The survey participants were drawn from an online panel of about two million consumers that have agreed to have a meter track their Web surfing habits.

The results are a reminder that where an ad runs can be as important as the ad itself.

A web site’s “brand is important in shaping audience’s perception of advertising on that site,” said Joline McGoldrick, director of research at Millward Brown’s digital division.  Ads on top performing publisher sites (those that are perceived as being meaningfully different from their competitors) perform nearly 50% better on measures of advertising effectiveness, according to a recent study.

At the same time, “if a brand shows up on an inappropriate site, users may think less of that brand,” she added.

Marketers like programmatic, of course, because, theoretically at least, it offers a more efficient way to reach people wherever they are on the Web. Programmatic services can give marketers the ability to serve an online ad to a specific person whose surfing behavior or other information puts them in the marketers’ target audience. Even better, marketers can reach that person no matter where they are on the Web. Programmatic also lowers ad prices since advertisers can find their target audiences on cheaper sites around the Web and don’t have to fork over premium prices for well-known websites.

More marketers are trying it. Programmatic ad buying is expected to increase by 32% this year in the U.S. to $9.8 billion, according to Magna Global, the research and ad-buying arm of Interpublic Group of Cos. That represents about 57% of the $17 billion U.S. market for display-related ad businesses, the company said.

But programmatic also makes it much harder for advertisers to keep track of where their ads land. In some cases, ads can land on sites whose traffic isn’t real, an issue that has lately drawn more attention. But Millward Brown is raising a different point – context plays into whether an ad is effective.

For advertisers the decision of whether to go programmatic or not, then,  likely comes down to whether they’re willing to shell out more money for ad space that will help their spots resonate more.


TV Isn't Like RTB -- But That Doesn't Mean It Isn't Evolving

Eicoff's Take: As the author concludes, these are still in the early stages for digital. TV media buying will evolve following in the footsteps of automated guaranteed for digital, and it won’t be far behind.

wall of tv

The promises of digital were faster execution, more accurate measurement, and  more robust targeting than TV had ever seen,  And yet, TV is still where the budgets are. No matter how many strides digital has made, TV is still king.

TV can learn from digital, but those lessons aren’t to be found in the RTB world, which is where most of us have been looking. Before TV can realize its programmatic future, digital needs to.

Awareness, Intent, and the Limits of Audience Buying

Despite the efficiency and targeting promises of digital advertising, the vast majority of digital ad spend is still executed manually, with the focus on content and audience alignment rather than impression-based audience targeting. The noise is all around that type of audience targeting, but the reality is the majority of budgets are about awareness. Honing in on the right prospects for awareness is important, but a lot of advertiser data is only useful at a later stage of the funnel, when intent is more clearly established.

Television advertising primarily falls into that initial awareness stage, while in digital, RTB is almost exclusively a mechanism for direct response. The digital parallels to TV do not lie in the RTB world, but rather in non-bidded, guaranteed digital ad buying.

Reserved Media and Awareness Buys

It’s only recently that the efficiency promise has begun to be fulfilled in digital in any meaningful way. As much as RTB ramped up efficiency, it never grew past remnant sales and even with rapid growth, only makes up about a fifth of total online display spending. Until very recently, the other four-fifths of advertising spend have been executed 100% manually.  That’s only begun to change with the advent of a new technology segment, automated guaranteed, that allows publishers and media buyers to automate transactions on reserved media buys, which RTB cannot do.

This nascent market segment has the strongest parallels to TV (limited quantities of "premium" inventory, an upfront or reservation system, direct relationships between buyer and seller), and the gains that can be made here will do far more to inform the future of TV buying than the lessons of RTB ever will.

First-Party Data

One thing that is interesting about the emerging automated guaranteed space is the important of publisher first-party data as a differentiator. Publishers with solid first-party data for their audiences can help advertisers find and focus on the right groups for awareness buys.

Publishers currently using automated guaranteed are including audience segments to give buyers options for additional targeting and are exploring different options that leverage buyer data. This could be where stronger parallels to TV lie -- in coming up with smarter ways to buy conventional media.

We’re still in the early stages for digital; it’s not clear yet how this is going to play out online, much less on TV. But one thing does seem likely: TV will evolve following in the footsteps of automated guaranteed for digital, and it won’t be far behind.

Direct-Response Tactics Take Majority of US Marketers' Budgets

Eicoff's Take: The combination of enhanced targeting, special offers, metrics and ROI is driving major marketers to increase digital ad spend in direct response.

US advertisers will collectively spend upward of $50 billion on digital advertising in 2014, according to new figures from eMarketer. This represents the fifth year in a row of torrid growth, reflecting broad economic and advertising industry trends that have driven nonstop, double-digit gains across virtually all industries since the trough of the Great Recession in 2009.

US Digital Ad Spend Objective 2014But the sweeping story of overall digital ad spending growth can overshadow important subtrends within individual industries. That is the impetus for eMarketer’s new report series, “2014 Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry,” which provides a comprehensive overview of ad spending with deep-dive information about the challenges and opportunities that are driving marketing decisions in nine sectors: automotive, computing products and consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and consumer products, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceutical, media and entertainment, retail, telecom, and travel.

eMarketer’s ad spending report series breaks down digital spending by objective—direct response vs. branding—to reflect the nuances across industries. At a market level, both direct-response and brand advertising grew at approximately the same pace year over year, just over 16%. However, direct-response advertising increased from a higher base, and it gained $4.74 billion against $2.79 billion for branding objectives, leading to an increase in ad spending market share from 58.4% to 59.1%.

At a more granular level, there’s much wider variation when it comes to objectives than there is in the mobile-desktop split. The travel industry—dominated by big online agencies such as Priceline.com and Expedia—tilts heavily to direct response, and specifically search, devoting a larger share of its digital budget to performance advertising than any other industry—74.0%, in fact. At the other end of the spectrum, the CPG and consumer products industry—where only a tiny percentage of total ad buying is done via digital channels—is the most heavily invested in branding efforts, with 65.0% of its total digital ad budget dedicated to that objective.

As marketers get better at measurement and attribution, the lines between direct-response spending and branding are blurring more than ever. In fact, eMarketer adjusted our methodology this year, no longer defining direct-response and branding-focused advertisements based on specific digital ad formats (search vs. display, for instance). eMarketer now bases our definitions of branding and direct response on a marketer’s primary advertising objective rather than the specific way the advertising is priced, measured or formatted. Branding-focused advertising is defined as having the objective of building awareness, familiarity, opinion, consideration or engagement with a brand. It is not designed primarily to drive immediate sales or leads. Direct-response advertising is designed to elicit a specific call to action that prompts a target audience to respond immediately and directly to an advertiser. Both branding-focused and direct-response advertising can take different formats and be priced in various ways.

US Digital Ad Spend Channel 2014In addition, new in this year’s reports are eMarketer’s first-ever estimates of mobile vs. desktop spending on an industry-by-industry basis. eMarketer’s analysis found that mobile spending levels were roughly similar across industries, with virtually all sectors committing about one-third of spending to the mobile channel, but there were variations by industry. Retail, which was an early adopter of online advertising, appears to be taking a similarly aggressive path with mobile: The industry commits a larger share of digital dollars to mobile than any other sector.

eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

AwesomenessTV Bows ‘Glee’-Like Musical Series ‘Side Effects’ Season 2 on Mobile First

Eicoff's Take: In the wild-west world of content development, there's no predicting where the next big hit might come from. Some of these shows will no doubt succeed and make their way into the cycle of repetitively programmed favorites, adding to the list of viable DRTV opportunities.

sideeffects awesomeness tvAwesomenessTV will premiere the second season of teen-centric musical drama “Side Effects” on its new Apple iOS mobile app before doling out episodes weekly on YouTube, and the DreamWorks Animation-owned company also is in talks with a cable network on a TV adaption.

AwesomenessTV debuted “Side Effects,” co-produced and co-financed with Universal Cable Prods., as a single 40-minute special on YouTube last October. The segment, featuring covers of pop songs, generated 2.5 million views in its first seven days, which if it had been on television would have garnered the No. 2 spot in the 12-17 demo for Nielsen ratings that week, according to Brian Robbins, AwesomenessTV’s founder and CEO.

For the second season, AwesomenessTV is making the full series available on the iOS app Tuesday, and will release on YouTube it as four episodes weekly on Thursdays beginning May 15 (the first three about 10 minutes and the fourth about 17 minutes). The idea is to drive users to download the mobile app, which was published on the iTunes App Store last week.

“We wanted to give our really loyal fans something special,” Robbins said.

Seasons two and three of “Side Effects” were shot at the same time, and the third run is slated to debut later this summer, Robbins said.

In addition, according to Robbins, AwesomenessTV is in talks with a cable network (which he declined to identify) for an episodic TV version of “Side Effects.” UCP and AwesomenessTV also plan to distribute the show to international TV nets, electronic sell-through platforms and VOD.

The show’s format is similar to Fox’s “Glee,” with the cast performing renditions of popular songs. “Side Effects” is told from the perspective of 16-year-old Whitney Connolly (Meg DeLacy), who experiences medicine-induced musical hallucinations as she struggles with her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance. In the second season, the Connelly kids hit the road to find out what has happened to their dad.

Guest appearances in season two of “Side Effects” include YouTube stars Grace Helbig (ItsGrace)and GloZell (GloZell1), as well as TV thesps Gracie Dzienny (“Supah Ninjas”) and Mikey Roe (“Feed the Beast,” “Foodiculous”). Returning cast includes Chester See, Lulu Antariksa, Cade Canon Ball, Finn Roberts, Keli Price and Lia Marie Johnson.

Featured music includes covers of Anna Kendrick’s “Cups,” Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound” and One Direction’s “Kiss You,” as well as a new original song, “Boom Boom.” The soundtrack is distributed by Universal Music Group and will be available for purchase digitally.

“Side Effects” exec producers are Robbins, Joe Davola, Shauna Phelan, Chester See and Allison Schroeder (“Mean Girls 2″ and “90210″), who also wrote the show. “Side Effects” is directed by Matt Stawski (Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”).

3 Ways to Get an Optimal DRTV and Video Mix

bill mccabeHow can direct response marketers balance TV and online video? 

Many marketers take a simplistic approach to balancing their direct response television (DRTV) and online video advertising—an approach that can create unbalanced and poor results. Typically, they subscribe to two guiding principles:

The best formula for finding the proper balance is the one that guides every DRTV advertiser: core measurements.

• Approximately 5 to 10% of their DRTV budget is devoted to online video based on current video viewing trends

• Repurposing effective TV spots for online use is an easy, cost-effective way to fill the 5 to 10% online video slots

          Both of these principles are valid, generally speaking. Unfortunately, the specific situations direct marketers face can invalidate them. Offer types, target markets, previous results from TV-only buys and other factors can and should be considered before relying on any type of television/online video formula.

         In fact, the best formula for finding the proper balance is the one that guides every DRTV advertiser: core measurements. The real guiding principle for balance should be testing and measuring. You may discover that you achieve the best results when you load up on specific cable station buys at certain times, and that the online video strategy only works on pre-roll video that runs on one particular site. Or, conversely, you may find out that you obtain outstanding results from the two-minute spots you run in an online banner ad and that you should be shifting more of your dollars in that direction.

         Similarly, you may learn that reducing your highly effective two-minute DRTV spot to 30 seconds for use in pre-roll video renders it ineffective. It may take a bit of testing and measuring before you figure out that you need to create a dedicated video spot for online video; or that you can use your existing spot but have to test different versions before you determine which one is best suited for digital purposes. The balance between television and online video is delicate rather than predetermined, and it takes time and testing to get it right.

         Beyond this overarching rule, here are some recommendations that we've found to be useful in finding the optimum mix of television and online video:

Seek the balance within the balance. This may sound Zen-like, but what I'm suggesting is that you have to dig deeper than balancing television and online video. Within television, myriad options exist in terms of spot lengths, creative execution, types of channels, types of programming, times of day, and frequency. Within online video, the choices are even more numerous: pre-roll video versus banner, matching the video spot to the site, and choosing interactive options such as ad-selectors, expandable units, and overlays. Rely on experts who are experienced in all these options to help you test and select what works best in each medium.


Make sure to retain the call-to-action element in online video. When marketers attempt to transition a television spot to online video, this element can be lost. Sometimes, they take a two-minute DRTV spot and chop it to fit the 15-second or 30-second pre-roll video requirement and edit out the call-to-action. Other times, they create an original spot for online video that lacks this motivational element. Even veteran DRTV advertisers can make these mistakes. Learning how to create effective 30-second spots that motivate consumers to click is a relatively new art, and if this art isn't mastered, marketers will forsake online video because results are poor. They'll create an imbalance because they don't recognize their online spots lack a strong call-to-action.


Factor the target audience into your balancing strategy. Let's say you're going after a narrow demographic: men between the ages of 55 and 66 who exercise regularly and live in cold-weather states. Though cable's growing diversity has helped direct response advertisers target with precision, online video is even more granular. You can buy data sets that allow you to place online video and find just the right match between your offer and a given site's audience. Conversely, if your target market is large and undifferentiated, then focusing most of your media dollars on TV may make sense.

          All of these recommendations come with my earlier caveat: Testing and measurement should be the ultimate guides. If you've been running all your DRTV advertising on a single cable station and only during weekend afternoons, you may have an unbalanced approach. But if your cost-per-order is extremely low and your results are extremely high, who cares?

          Unfortunately, most of us aren't in this position, so we need to keep experimenting with different TV and online video creative and media strategies, measure the results, and shift the balance accordingly. Then repeat.

Bill McCabe is president and CEO of A. Eicoff & Company, a DRTV agency he has called home for the past quarter century. The Illinois resident began his career in Eicoff's media department, served as SVP of business development for seven years, and as COO for two-and-a-half years before being named to his current position about three years ago. He can say that he was pivotal in building the agency into what it is today by bringing in powerhouse clients, embracing innovation, and sticking to core values. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grad says that keeping the momentum going in a what-have-you-done- for-me-lately industry is one of the biggest challenges he faces. When it comes to picking which local baseball team to root for—the Cubs or the White Sox—McCabe says it's an easy decision: “The one who has won a World Series in the past 100 years.”

How Facebook Could Take the Air Out of the NewFronts

Eicoff's Take: Not all TV media is created equal. For example, network primetime plays a different role than local cable. As the digital video landscape evolves, newer outlets and vehicles will continue to emerge. Some focused on top-funnel reach, others focused on lower-funnel metrics. All will benefit the digital video ecosystem as different advertisers face varying challenges, budgets and goals. 

By the end of this Wednesday, there will have been over 20 NewFront events held over 10-day period, as companies ranging from YouTube to PopSugar look to persuade advertisers to pump more ad revenue into Web video.

There’s one company that didn’t host a NewFront that could throw a wrench into everybody’s plans: FacebookFB -4.39%.

Divergent

Facebook isn’t in the business of producing or licensing content, like most of the companies presenting at the NewFronts. They have a different route into video advertising and one that Web video sales execs at other outlets privately admit has them worried.

Facebook lets marketers put video ads on the brands’ pages and soon it will go even further. Facebook is about to roll out auto-play video ads that can run across the site or targeted to specific demographics. Oh, and buy the way, we reach 1.2 billion people, so we can pretty much deliver any demographic you want.

After testing auto-play video ads last December for the movie “Divergent,” Facebook is about to start running auto-play video ads to its full user base (these are video ads that will play automatically when a Facebook user encounters them in their News Feeds). “We are actively talking to select partners,” said Fidji Simo, Facebook’s Product Manager, News Feed. “Now that we think we have a product that really really works there is some momentum behind this. We can go after much larger target audiences. We’ve very excited about capturing budgets.”

Ms. Simo was cautious about saying Facebook would directly take on the big online video outlets with the auto-play ads offering. At the moment, more brands are using Facebook’s preexisting News Feed ad units to drive users to videos on brands’ pages–a tactic Facebook calls “Video Page Post Ads.” But that doesn’t mean Facebook won’t point out some of the distinctive benefits of the new auto-play product.

The video outlets selling ad time in Web series are doing something different to Facebook, Ms. Simo said. “When you buy shows, they are a proxy for audiences. The advantage we have is that advertisers can select target audiences directly.”

Up first is Progressive Insurance, which has produced a unique video ad for Facebook that will debut on May 6. The brands ad is scheduled to reach every 18 to 34 year old user that logs onto Facebook on that day.

“This is essentially Facebook looking to create a big broad reach product,” said Jon Beamer, Progressive’s Marketing Innovation Business Leader, who said he believes auto-play ads will be weighed against ads attached to Web video series by marketers. “Yahoo’s shows for example, reach a different user profile than the site’s core audience. Facebook is saying, you can own a demo for a day.”

Progressive

It’s that kind of pitch that will resonate with more conservative marketers that are comfortable with, and believers in, TV, argued Brandon Rhoten, Vice President of Digital Marketing for Wendy’s. “The typical wall that media folks run into in big companies is history, history that TV  works. And we’re always trying to shift the conversations. And it’s very difficult to change the language. Facebook’s video ads are actually apples to apples.”

That’s because Facebook is selling these ads like TV ads–using TV ratings-like data. And on Monday, Facebook will introduce a set of new video measurement tools for advertisers that will provide data such as unique viewers and audience retention for each campaign.

Mr. Rhoten said Wendy’s is looking to test the auto-play Facebook ads soon. And like Progressive, the plan is to produce original video spots for Facebook. That’s a step that most Web video advertisers haven’t been willing to take; the majority run TV spots online. In Wendy’s case, the fast food company has already had great success running unique video creative on Facebook–such as a campaign where fan tweets about Wendy’s sandwiches are dubbed over clips of soap operas and other content.

That campaign, “Pretzel Love Songs” reached 85 million people on Facebook, Mr. Rhoten claims. More importantly, the effort sold burgers. “We saw one of our biggest quarters in history of company,” he said. “It really changed our year.”

It’s that kind of impact that will ultimately move dollars from TV to the Web, said Mr. Rhoten. “Shiny for shiny’s sake wont make it across the boardroom. It’s gotta sell product. That’s how you tap into TV budgets.”

WendysNot every ad buyer agrees. Many contend that video ads running within video content reach a user in a much different mindset, and are much closer to the TV experience that many brands are used to, compared to Facebook’s auto-play video ads, which are untested and may irritate some users.

“I wouldn’t say its apples and oranges because it still comes down to an impression,” said Adam Kasper, Chief Media Officer, Havas Media, North America. “Though the value of the impression ties back to the power of the message, the environment, the content it is connected to, the targeting, the receptivity of the audience at that time, etc. I think it is a question of professionally curated content vs socially curated. What does a publisher think you want based on what it is promoting or what it knows about you versus what do people you know or follow publish?”

There are a lot of unknowns with Facebook’s video roll out. But most agree the company is sitting a potentially highly valuable asset, assuming Facebook executes right. “Its funny, in the last year, Facebook has moved from brands getting organic reach to getting likes,” said Mr. Rhoten. Now it’s an ad platform.”

That’s increasingly true. But Facebook still has to be cautious. “We want to walk our way into his market really slowly,’ said Ms. Simo.


Getting Generation Me to DRTV

remote aimed at TVMy favorite self-descriptor, “couch potato,” may soon be antiquated. Media consumption is now as likely to occur in bed, my home office, back porch, or on the train as it is my cozy Ikea sofa. What does this mean for DRTV if my peers cut the cord on TV?

Marketers are a-twitter (pardon the pun) about my generation’s varied and evolving taste in media engagement. So much so Nielsen, the marketing research behemoth of record, has given me a new generational label: “Generation C.” Yet another moniker has caught on among cultural critics: “Generation Me.” If we’re not Instagramming selfies and our latest brunch entree, we’re tweeting during our favorite TV shows.

Wait! Read that last part again. Many marketers bemoan the imminent destruction of TV, fearful of the oncoming digital apocalypse being brought on by Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. True, many Millennials have unplugged the cable box entirely. Yet, Nielsen’s Generation C constitutes 23% of television viewership, a disproportionate volume considering population size! Most users who partake in digital video do so in addition to, not in place of, traditional TV.

Furthermore, Millennials are the most likely cohort to clutch their smartphone or tap away at a laptop while watching TV. Nielsen recently demonstrated that these behaviors, labeled multi-screen viewing, may produce increasingly loyal viewers, than “traditional” TV viewers. Broadcasts with high volumes of tweets during their premieres can pull in more viewership. And programming has caught on: Fans of The Bachelorette can watch fellow viewer’s tweets flicker across the bottom of the screen just below the TV romance.

One last difference between traditional TV viewing and digital highlights a particular advantage of DRTV. Digital viewers are more likely to binge watch entire seasons of shows at once. Sounds an awful lot like “nontent,” a DRTV staple, to me. When I can pause my fourth episode of Toddlers & Tiaras in a row, why not pick up the phone to respond to a well-targeted DRTV ad?

In fact, astute marketers will recognize that television and digital aren’t mutually exclusive but dynamically synergistic.  They’ll capitalize on the synergies by doing the following:

Use television spots to incentivize responses via social media and mobile technology, offering premiums to viewers who use digital media to order.
Develop media strategies that place offers in shows most likely to be binge-watched.
Create apps that are designed to work in conjunction with offers in commercials.

I posit that the coming shift in TV behavior demonstrates not our impending doom as marketers, but increased opportunity for consumer engagement, particularly with DRTV. The concepts that make DRTV a high-ROI marketing avenue for marketers on traditional TV are only set to expand with increased digital viewership.

 

Maura Foley is a researcher for A. Eicoff & Co, focused on developing skills in data analysis, programming and statistics. She is well-versed in the conceptual and technical framework of quantitative social research in academia and the private sector. 

 

The Problem With Web Videos Is That TV Is Really Big Still

Eicoff's Take: Trying to find the balance between TV and digital video is a struggle for marketers. To us it's not one vs. the other. Rather, how can we utilize TV and video together to drive our clients' key success metrics.

WSJ LogoComScore reported that in February the audience for Web video in the U.S. was over 182 million users, which sounds awfully big. That is, until you look at TV’s audience: 283 million people watch TV a month, according to a Nielsen report recently published in Adweek. Thus, some analysts are starting to question the theory that Web video companies can really snatch ad revenue from TV, reports WSJ’s CMO Today. Their theory: TV is already huge, and Web video barely adds enough incremental reach to be worth it. Web video results in just pounding the same TV audience over the head, this theory goes. RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank said “online video consumers tend to represent a very concentrated and somewhat limited subsection of consumers.” Naturally, many in the Web video ad industry disagree. And they will naturally mention TV’s declining ratings, and Web video’s ability to reach light TV viewers and cord cutters. But it does present an interesting obstacle for Web video companies like YouTube; with reach numbers like these, you can see why it so easy for brands to stick with TV for another year, rather than take a risk online.

Audience Targeting Changes TV Advertising

Eicoff’s Take: Any advancement in targeting that can be layered onto our TV media buying is great. As these technologies scale, their targeting will only get better. We encourage clients to leverage tools like these to enhance their targeting, but recommend testing small to gauge the results.

Blue CrowdThe ability to target a specific audience on TV like you would target a specific audience in digital seemed like a fantasy just a few years ago. But today, we hear a lot of buzz around TV audience targeting. Whether it is called “Addressable,” “Audience Targeting” or “Programmatic,” it signals a change in the way TV advertising is being targeted and bought.

This evolution will deliver valuable capabilities that marketers have come to expect as table-stakes in the digital advertising world. When it comes to TV, for years marketers have relied on antiquated ratings systems with only general age and gender information to guide their buying decisions, but not anymore.

Given TV’s continued prominence as an advertising platform, marketers should explore new, advanced TV advertising capabilities that deliver stronger ROI for their clients and help them stay ahead of their competitors.

Today, there are three primary ways to execute targeted TV buying:

Addressable: Targeting a specific ad to a specific household. This has become a viable option for some marketers, but it still has limitations when it comes to scale (only approximately 20MM HH’s today) and delivering a specific audience (since HH’s are often made up of multiple people). However, this technology will only improve over time and will be a game-changer in the coming years.

Programmatic: Using machine-driven technology to dynamically insert ads in real-time. While programmatic has changed the way digital advertising is being bought today, agencies are having trouble applying the same automation to TV buying. Limited quality inventory and scale have hampered adoption, and it probably will be quite a while before linear, programmatic TV buying becomes a viable, scaled alternative.

Data Optimized, Targeted TV Advertising: This option appears to have the most scale and inventory availability today. Using anonymous and aggregate set-top box viewership data, companies are able to profile audiences and deliver media schedules that reach those target audiences in the programming they watch most frequently. By targeting the programming and not just the household, this option helps solve for the “who in the household is actually watching?” dilemma that Addressable TV currently faces.

Marketers should no longer feel stuck buying TV advertising based solely on age and gender. Given the capabilities of advanced TV audience targeting, marketers should think about how to further segment a broad target audience in order to reach their best potential consumer.

Media plans today can easily be optimized beyond just age and gender. For example, go beyond men ages 25-54, and also include income level, purchasing habits, general interests, etc. Marketers should consider all consumer information available about their target audience, allowing them to leverage that data in targeting their advanced TV media buys.

So where do we go from here? I encourage you to question the way you have traditionally bought television, and to embrace the new targeting capabilities that exist in the marketplace today.

Will digital targeting capabilities make their way to TV? Yes, they already have and audience targeting is here to stay.

Twitter’s Direct Response Pitch: A New ‘Click-To-Call’ Button

Eicoff's Take: We strongly believe Direct Response tactics can live on almost every advertising platform–even Twitter. Mobile has been a natural fit for driving phone calls and Twitter is looking to tap into this functionality. Advertisers will always need upper- and lower-funnel tactics, and we’re excited to see how the integration of click-to-call evolves on the Twitter platform.  

smartphonehandAs part of its continued effort to evolve and broaden its advertising capabilities, Twitter is now touting itself as a platform for effective direct response advertising.

The microblogging platform wants advertisers to use Twitter to generate leads, drive app downloads, collect consumers’ email addresses and induce incoming calls from customers, all with the click of a cursor or the tap of a finger.

“We’ve always been strong in terms of upper-funnel, brand-oriented goals; engagement, awareness and capturing events and moments,” said Richard Alfonsi, Twitter’s vp of global online sales. “Direct response is thinking about the lower-funnel conversion-oriented goals.”

As part of its direct response push, Twitter is beta-testing a “click-to-call” button, which would allow mobile users to engage with a Twitter ad by calling the advertiser directly, Alfonsi said. Alfonsi did not offer a timeline on when the feature would be widely available.

A click-to-call button could potentially help Twitter break into the traditionally digital-averse local advertising market. A local restaurant could advertise a special to Twitter users within a certain proximity, for instance, and measure conversions by how many Twitter users ended up calling for reservations. When Twitter recently launched location-based feature Nearby to select users, many suggested the move helped poise it to enter the local ad market. Location-based apps like Foursquare, Google Maps and Yelp already have click-to-call features in their apps.

Twitter needs to broaden its ad base. Its ad rates are falling and with its growth slowing, the company needs to become a staple of large and small advertisers. For all the pizazz of big branding campaigns, direct-response ads measured by clicks, leads or sales still make up the majority of online ad spending.

In touting itself as a direct response advertising platform represents a slight departure from Twitter casting itself as a “global town square.” To date, advertisers have typically used Twitter ads — promoted tweets, trends and accounts — as a means to generate awareness about a brand or event. An emphasis on direct response means convincing marketers that Twitter ads can be used for more highly targeted campaigns in which the bottom line is more important than the number of retweets and favorites.

Adobe, for example, used Twitter’s lead generation ads to help Mount Washington Collegefind adult users who were considering going back to school. Digital marketing companyWebtrends used them to build an email database of potential new clients. Digital retailer Alex and Ani used Twitter’s direct response tools to drive sales on its site.

Brands are already using Twitter as a direct response channel, listening for — and responding to — tweets that mention certain keywords, hashtags or handles. This week alone, Airbnb andMicrosoft launched savvy real-time marketing campaigns at South by Southwest, responding directly consumers.

Alfonsi said direct awareness is merely an addition to, not a replacement for, promoted tweets, trends and accounts aimed at garnering interest over producing a conversion.

“It doesn’t change the consumer experience; it makes it more relevant,” Alfonsi said. After all, users can still expect to see star-studded Oscar selfies and spicy brand-on-brand Twitter action during the Super Bowl. “Those things are going to stay in the core DNA of Twitter.”

Advertisers Blend Digital and TV for Well-Rounded Campaigns

TV ad spending will grow at a fairly steady single-digit pace over the next several years. The growth rates are not exciting, but they are impressive given the sheer size of the market, according to a new eMarketer report, “US TV Ad Spending: Factors Shaping Today’s Television Market.”
TV will remain the dominant advertising channel, making up 38.1% of total media spending in 2014, and spending on the medium will continue to outweigh that of the nearest competitor—digital—through 2017, albeit with an increasingly narrower gap, until the balance tips to digital in 2018.

US total media Ad spending

Numerous factors point to TV’s continued value to brand advertisers. These include TV’s sheer reach, the power and impact of big-screen advertising, and the predictability of TV’s audience.

Perhaps the clearest sign that digital and TV ad spending are not significantly cannibalizing each other is attitudinal: More and more marketers see the different channels as supplementing each other for a well-rounded campaign. For example, a September 2013 study from Forrester Consulting and Videology found that 52% of media companies, 68% of advertisers and 69% of ad agencies expected agencies to plan video ad campaigns holistically across all viewing platforms.

A September 2013 survey from Advertiser Perceptions suggested one reason for this approach. While 56% of TV ad buyers liked the idea of digital video ad convergence because it would give them a missing piece—digital’s better targeting and more robust metrics—54% of digital ad buyers looked to holistic advertising to gain more of TV’s core strength—vast reach.

Benefits of Digital Video ad convergence on TV and Internet

TV scales for brand advertisers in ways that digital cannot (yet) match, giving them predictable results for their investments. Consistency on television can help it outstrip other media for gaining ad dollars.
Finally, TV ads tend to influence audiences more than ads in other media, providing impact along with reach and scale. The basic way to define such impact is the capacity to create a consumer or change consumer behavior.

Most audience members concur. In an August 2013 survey from AYTM Market Research, 83.7% of US internet users said TV commercials were the most effective form of advertising.

The Hot Startup at SXSW This Year Was Plain Old Television


anchormanfoodtruckAUSTIN, Texas—There was no breakout mobile app, no hot new startup, no celebrity founder holding court over the conference. But everywhere one turned at South By Southwest Interactive, people were talking about television. 

Jimmy Kimmel brought his ABC talk show here for a week. His face was plastered over the commuter train that arrived in front of the convention center every half hour with a loud honk of its horn. Seth Meyers also showed up to promote his new late-night show on NBC and hand out free hamburgers on East 6th Street.

Kimmel Truck

Though SXSW Interactive is a technology conference, some of the most popular speakers at this year’s event were TV stars: Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Cosmos), Andy Cohen (Watch What Happens: Live), and more. Even the film festival, held at the same time, gave way to the small screen with a keynote speech by Lena Dunham of Girls and premieres of new shows from Fox, HBO, and AMC. There weren’t really any standout movies.

Time Warner’s HBO had a much larger presence than previous years, including themost acclaimed and widely discussed exhibit at the conference: Its virtual reality demonstration, using an Oculus Rift headset, took people up and over the giant ice wall from Game of Thrones, which returns for a fourth season next month.

Oculus

The network also fashioned pedicabs in downtown Austin into the show’s “iron throne.” (They competed with pedicabs promoting CBS’s Under the Dome, complete with plastic domes to shield riders from the rain.)

Bike taxi

Perhaps the greatest indication of television’s outsized presence was that SXSW’s normally indefatigable nightlife ebbed briefly on Sunday night, when HBO aired the season finale of True Detective. Many conference attendees retreated for an hour to watch it.

New York Times media columnist David Carr, a perennial presence here, captured the cultural forces at work in his column published that same evening: “In the short span of five years, table talk has shifted, at least among the people I socialize with, from books and movies to television. The idiot box gained heft and intellectual credibility to the point where you seem dumb if you are not watching it.”

Many True Detective viewing parties, though, were thwarted by the crush of trafficto HBO Go that prevented streaming the show over the internet. Traditional cable TV in hotel rooms proved more reliable. 

Indeed, it was striking that for all the talk of television at SXSW, most of it had little to do with the industry’s future. Internet TV was poorly represented and often criticized.

Media executives on one panel grumbled about web authentication systems for TV subscribers. And Kimmel, in an interview at his Austin studio, sniffed, “The fact of the matter is, the amount of money we make from selling commercials on television, is 100 times as much from what we make from people watching our YouTube videos. And until those things even out somewhat, we’re going to be focused on television.”

Netflix, the TV company one would most expect to see at a technology conference, didn’t have any official presence, though some executives attended the film festival.Internet TV service Aereo, which has its day in front of the US Supreme Court coming up, was more prominent at SXSW. But an event held for Aereo customers was mostly notable for its rowdiness.

TV and Digital Video: Match Made In Media Heaven

cross platformAdvertising pundits tend to talk about television and online video as an either-or choice.  In fact, it’s much more productive to discuss them from a “both” perspective.

Unfortunately, people often overreact when they see stories like a recent one that appeared in Forbes, headlined, “Brands Moving Budgets from TV to Online Video.” A closer reading reveals that this movement is much slower and less significant than the headline suggests.  But the damage has been done.  It seems as if you don’t cast your lot with digital, you’ll be hopelessly behind the times.

In fact, savvy advertisers recognize the rise of digital combined with television’s growing efficacy represents a tremendous opportunity.  The ability to find the right balance between advertising on various screens -- television, mobile, tablets, laptops -- can create synergies.  Cross-platform advertising is the next great wave—a wave that some early adopters are already surfing.

What are they doing, exactly?  Three things:

Adopting a “video” campaign and budget mindset.  This means incorporating TV, online, mobile and connected TV. While each screen requires a different approach, everything should roll up to a total video campaign that is planned to get the most out of the budget.

Creating better measures.  A traditional television spot is measured by Nielsen metrics.  A digital ad’s success rests on impressions, click-through and other response metrics.  What we really need to know is what happens when you switch $3 million from the television budget to online advertising.  What happens to overall reach, frequency and response metrics? Nielsen’s relatively new XCR product provides that measure -- and invariably, other emerging products will as well.  Forward-thinking advertisers are constantly monitoring the results generated through television and digital and using the latest analytics to find the right balance between the two.

Knowing when to get interactive.  For television, this may mean inserting an overlay that viewers can click on and bypass the more time-consuming response vehicles.  In digital, there’s a wide variety of interactive options including ad-selectors, expandable units and overlays.   This interactive tool can pay dividends, but it’s also something that should be used strategically rather than reflexively. 

Cross-screen video advertising is in its infancy, so there’s still a steep hill to climb.  To climb it with speed and strong results, though, every advertiser needs to test -- and then test some more.  Most initial studies show spending 5% to 10% of the “total video” budget in digital video will yield the strongest overall campaign.  Those figures vary by client and objective but are a good starting point for most.

The more you test and measure various combinations of television and online video, the more likely you’ll discover the right cross-platform approach for your specific offer.

Digital Video Hype: Yes, Online Is Growing Fast, But Has a Long Way To Go

bikeriderOne of the things that fascinates me about online video is that there is an unspoken imperative to get on with it, and likewise a kind of corporate agreement to dismantle the established order old media once represented. 

It would seem subversive if it wasn’t so business-oriented.

Last night, for example, the most celebrated moment of the Oscars telecast—besides the moment that bloated evening ended—was when Ellen DeGeneres orchestrated the famous selfie of Hollywood swells, which also was another of several commercials for Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone during the ceremony.

DeGeneres accomplished her drive to create the most retweeted selfie in history, which happened in about a half hour. Thus, proving the awesomeness of digital social media!

The fact that television or printed news material actually exists is sometimes treated like a condition a benevolent digital native population is just putting up with. Reviewing the debut of Jimmy Fallon as the new host of  the “Tonight” show, The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley wrote that the program is:

 “….in good hands, but its longevity rests less on the host than on audiences who increasingly don’t turn on a television to watch television. Mr. Fallon intimated as much when he recalled begging his parents to let him stay up late to watch Johnny Carson. He got a little emotional when he added that he hoped there was ‘a kid out there asking their parents to stay up to watch me.’ ”

Ridiculous thought. “Maybe,” she reported.  “But that kid can watch ‘Tonight’ on his iPhone on the school bus the next day. And unlike Mr. Fallon, he isn’t likely to grow up aspiring to host the “Tonight” show, any more than he will get his news from a paper edition of The New York Times.”

Even old media wants to rid itself. . . of itself.

A few weeks ago on Forbes.com, Steven Rosenbaum, self-described serial entrepreneur who was behind Magnify.net, wrote the delicately-titled “Why Television Is Dead,” and pointed to that well-reported eMarketer estimate that U.S. digital video ad spending will grow from $4.14 billion this year $8.04 billion before the next president in inaugurated.

Already, he wrote, “The jump we’re about to experience, from 2013 to 2014 media dollars, represents mainstream media buyers pointing a firehose of new money at the emerging Web video creation market.”

Well, of course, DeGeneres and Stanley and Rosenbaum are all correct, to one degree or another. No one would argue over most of that. But you shouldn’t be surprised that most people or advertisers out there are not totally wrapped up on online video, and from what it appears, they won’t be for many, many years.

Adweek reports, basically, that television is huge, and digital video is at best, just bigger than it used to be. Quoting from a study by Simulmedia, Adweek writes that “there are 283 million television viewers monthly (the population of the United States is 313 million), each watching an average of 146 hours of TV. Compare that with 155 million online video viewers averaging just shy of six hours monthly on mobile and almost six and a half hours over the Web. So while TV’s audience is still almost twice that of digital video, the amount of money in digital isn’t even 5% of the mammoth $74 billion chunk of change in television.”

Even with coming improvements in Nielsen’s measurements of digital TV, this story by Sam Thielman posits that television’s sky is not falling, or anywhere near it. In other words, calm down. Take a photo of yourself, why don't you?

You Won't Believe How Big TV Still Is

tv color barsThe upfronts approach and the NewFronts try again to imitate them, expect to hear a lot about the twilight of traditional television with the rise of digital video. But don’t believe it. A new study from Nielsen reveals the depth and breadth of both universes, and comparative viewership numbers aren’t even close.

size matters tv digitalThe study, conducted with ad targeting firm Simulmedia, contains plenty of insights, but among the most striking is the size of either industry. Nielsen rarely pulls back the veil on exactly how big the TV and video worlds are (they do mint the currency in the former, after all), but here it is in black and white: There are 283 million television viewers monthly (the population of the United States is 313 million), each watching an average of 146 hours of TV. Compare that with 155 million online video viewers averaging just shy of six hours monthly on mobile and almost six and a half hours over the Web. So while TV’s audience is still almost twice that of digital video, the amount of money in digital isn’t even 5 percent of the mammoth $74 billion chunk of change in television. What’s going to bring about growth in the former, said Amit Seth, Nielsen’s evp, global media products, is equivalency.

ABC already offers digital options for audience deficiency units (ADUs, or makegoods), and Fox said last year it would provide Hulu inventory for the same purpose (neither network was able to provide comment by press time), but Seth said he foresees greater porousness between digital video and TV. The company isn’t just hoping for that—Nielsen’s DPR product, which measures non-mobile streaming video, is set to finally launch in the spring after a delay. Nielsen also will be continuing to refine a tool that other third-party data miners are already selling: purchaser data that gives a measurable ROI to advertisers. “We have access to 90-plus percent of credit card transactions, anonymized through a third-party data provider,” said Seth. “Do you shop home improvement? If so, do you shop at Home Depot or at Lowe’s?” Nielsen now knows.

Content producers like NBCUniversal have pioneered similar initiatives, but it’s impossible to overstate the importance of third-party measurement as the analytics world gets more complicated. Lest this sound like too much progress too quickly, Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia, says not to worry. Business as usual will probably continue apace for a while. “The silos aren’t coming down anytime soon,” said Morgan. “There’s a Silicon Valley expectation that there will be a desilo-ization of TV imminently, and nobody who took part in these dinners and discussions, not even the most ardent online people, thinks that’s the case.”

Morgan and Seth agree that the industry’s best hope is in more granular data. “The fuzzy intermedia metrics can lead to nothing but more debates at the ARF and the 4A’s and the NAB and forever,” said Morgan. “But what you can’t argue with is what happened after they saw the ad. What happened at the cash register?”

Expect a Seismic Shift in Video Consumption

tv evolutionEicoff's Take: The idea of “TV” is evolving faster than ever – from the devices we view it on, to the video content itself. Targeting, distribution and metrics are changing just as quickly. As newer, shinier tools appear, advertisers will need experienced partners to help them navigate the wild waters ahead.

When asked about the future recently, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, “Television will change more in the next five years than in the last 50.” We agree.

Based on 70 years of watching what consumers experience, and how they buy, how they act and what they do based on their consumption of content, we see a seismic shift coming in the next five years. Nowhere is this more acute than when it comes to television and video consumption.

In fact, we see five significant and interrelated trends emerging that will shape the media business in the immediate future and beyond.

First, distribution channels will continue to merge. Devices define our media diet — be it TV, computers, mobile, or/and whatever comes next. Today, while much of the video consumed is still on traditional television, those figures migrate daily. These shifts mean that “TV” as shorthand for video content doesn’t work anymore. Ultimately, the marketplace will be device-neutral, and will follow “video.”

Some frame this in a “TV is dead” metaphor. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We access more content now than ever before: The average American consumes nearly 60 hours of content each week across different screens, including computers, mobile devices and TV sets. Viewed through the content lens, “TV” is being viewed more often, for longer, and across more occasions, platforms and devices.

Second, the advertising solution will no longer be just about demographics. Increasingly, information about consumers’ behaviors and geographic location will enhance today’s method of ferreting out customers using only age and gender as a proxy. Today, most of the digital marketplace works this way, but over time, more of the media landscape will join them. As they’ve indicated, companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have an opportunity to push forward the addressability of video advertising. Ultimately, any brand will be able to move beyond the current proxy system to get to their precise audience on any platform.

Third, as viewers continue to move more fluidly across distribution channels, so, too, will advertising dollars. In today’s U.S. media market, those dollars total near the hundred-billion mark. As those viewers move, chief marketing officers will want to follow them in real time. For the marketplace to truly evolve into a real-time world, it will need to accurately encompass the cross-platform space so that marketers are no longer working in silos. They will need to get confirmation from a trusted independent source that their real-time dollars paid for the intended viewers, not fraudulent bot traffic or off-target audiences.

Fourth, many companies (media and otherwise) will use their own rich data to help determine who their specific consumer is. Right now, Big Data is too often a description of a problem, and not a solution. The solution will be found by marrying each company’s own data set to other, more representative information. The harnessing of this disparate data to produce simple, actionable insights will result in better decisions. Companies can use their assets — consumer relationships, ad sales relationship, and consumer insights — to build and leverage partnerships that open the door to finding their perfect consumer. Joining and unlocking this type of information is a formidable task, requiring rigorous measurement science to do it well.

Fifth, independent measurement will matter more than ever before. Globally, we see that when a market aligns around a common metric, one that is independent and trusted by all sides, the industry grows quicker and healthier. Delivering a complete and accurate view of the consumer, across all devices and distribution channels, requires the best measurement science available. While there are many planning and custom solutions out there, history shows that markets prefer to trade on a single, common, trusted measurement. That measurement requires the highest level of efficacy, confidence and transparency as it drives decisions related to millions, if not billions, of dollars of marketplace trade.

Consumer preferences over the devices and platforms used to access content will continue to change — and likely quickly. Adapting to these changes comes with growing pains, marketplace feedback and, hopefully, a bit of self-reflection to understand what needs to be reimagined. For the foreseeable future, we need to rethink the way we define TV. It needs to extend beyond a myopic view of the standard living room and big-screen experience to the myriad ways that video content is today consumed. We need proven and complete methodologies that follow representative and responsible measurement practices. Ultimately, the marketplace will demand a rigorous, independent measurement before it’s willing to trade billions of dollars.

Mitch Barns is CEO of Nielsen. Reach him @Nielsen.

The Traditional CMO Role is Dead: Long Live the Chief Customer Officer

Digital ChannelsEicoff's Take: As the author states, forward thinking CMOs are evolving from batch-and-blast marketing tactics to lasting customer engagement. Many are leveraging the latest innovations in DRTV to help them engage customers in newer ways every day.

The traditional chief marketing officer (CMO) role is dead. Businesses that relegate the marketing department to that of just brand and awareness are missing two pillars that are changing the role of marketing and its chief officer forever.

Instead, a new role is emerging that is organised around the customer. Whether this position wears the title of chief customer officer, chief client officer, or chief experience officer, it has one clear focus – customer engagement.

Forward thinking CMOs are evolving from simple data capture and batch-and-blast marketing tactics to develop customer intimacy, driving deeper and lasting consumer engagement. In our recent report, 84% of people believe customer engagement will overtake productivity as the primary driver of growth.

A company's digital marketing strategy must be aligned around optimising each unique 'customer moment'. But what can CMOs do to gain the competitive advantage and ride this new marketing innovation wave of customer engagement?

Embrace digital marketing; embrace technology
According to Gartner, by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. Marketing departments are purchasing significant amounts of technology and services from their own capital and expense budgets. Why? Because social media and other digital channels mean customer demands are increasing. Consumers are using their voice to drive changes in product development. They are also becoming advocates for new customers. Customer expectations are however always changing and businesses must keep up, or risk being left behind.

These additional marketing channels are only one aspect of the new digital frontier facing today's CMO – the second is automation. Modern marketing executives must respond to this rapidly changing landscape. The rise of marketing tools for search marketing, as well as marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo, have compounded the marketing technology landscape. Marketers now have so many customer engagement tools at their disposal that identifying and leveraging the correct technology can be overwhelming.

The number of marketing technology solutions has nearly tripled in the past 16 months and it's growing every day. Marketers need to look at how they can harness these innovative technologies to automate tasks, predict behaviour, and leverage the insight to really guide the customer across their journey, while keeping headcount and budgets in-line. To put it simply, without automation, marketers will be out-innovated by more modern marketing pioneers. The new CMO embraces technology as a competitive advantage to develop intimacy with the customer, which was previously too costly or even unattainable.

Become the customer advocate, harness data and breakdown silos
The modern marketing executive is the aggregator of all things 'customer'. It's not just understanding the customer persona, but understanding how they progress through a company's buying journey from beginning to end.

The data is there, locked in the depths of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Tomorrow's CMOs are harnessing all available data across departmental silos, giving their customers the intimacy they require and maximising each interaction.

Marketing leaders must focus on driving customer obsession across the company. What does it take to be customer-obsessed? You need to enable your employees to understand your customers as people with individual stories. Customer's don't care about being served by the "right" department, so employees must be empowered to own any customer interaction.

A free flow of information and collaborative knowledge is essential to eliminate traditional silos. Hizmy Hassen, global digital director at Coats PLC, said that he needs a single view of the customer, whether an existing customer or a new customer, to bring together global and local teams to deliver a consistent brand proposition.

Marketing's influence and leadership is growing inside businesses today, but under a new job description. Customer-obsessed CMOs who leverage innovative technologies and data will be positioned to drive the most value for their customers and the organisations they lead.

Corinne Sklar is the global chief marketing officer at Bluewolf

Direct Response TV's Secret Weapon: The "HI" Factor

hifactorWhen it comes to closing the deal, direct response TV advertising may have a distinct, yet not often considered advantage—the Human Interaction or "HI" factor.

For decades, 1-800 numbers were the universal signature of DRTV. Then the Internet changed everything. Every week televisions are becoming smarter and more social—and the direct response landscape is evolving to use interactive ads, landing pages, text-to-respond, and more. These new and evolving direct response channels beg the question: “Is the 800 number relevant anymore?” As a Web-savvy consumer, your knee-jerk reaction may understandably be “no.”  Why call someone when you can shop online and pay via PayPal or credit card? Dialing a 1-800 number seems so antiquated.

Not so fast. Many organizations that utilize direct response TV advertising within their marketing mix have confirmed, despite the efforts to make online shopping more personalized, it's still not all that personal. Certain products and services require more than bullet points and a “Buy Now” button to complete a sale. What's missing from online shopping is the human interaction; a real person to talk to, with a real voice and a real name. That's exactly what a 1-800 number can provide.

The HI factor gives customers more than actual conversation—it gives them one-on-one guidance. For example, many companies utilize direct response ads to increase enrollments and memberships. These require detailed forms to be filled out correctly and completely. But in reality, some customers get sidetracked and never finish the online forms, or they may not click “submit” at the end. By having a real person guide and assist them over the phone, more enrollment forms are completed and more customers are enrolled.

The 800 number isn't the only way companies can tap into the “HI” factor. For example, Web-based businesses of all shapes and sizes are taking advantage of online chat systems that provide customers with immediate access to help. You've likely shopped on a website and after browsing for a few seconds had a pop-up window ask, “Want to chat?” This is because dot-coms know that the second they can start chatting with you, the less likely you'll be to leave their website and shop elsewhere. An online chat system also allows customers to multitask while waiting. Now businesses can answer your questions, tell you more about their products, and, most importantly, create a paying customer far more quickly.

In today's world where everyone wants and needs to gain and maintain a competitive edge, the ability to offer any type of real human interaction can help businesses rise to the top. The key is to give customers someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break that sale.

Once upon a time, calling a 1-800 number was the universal call-to-action for direct response campaigns. As new response channels enter the game, there's still nothing that compares to the personal attention a real live human provides. In our increasingly connected world, new technologies make targeting consumers with direct marketing campaigns easier, but they don't supplant people. Instead, technology should encourage something that can never be replaced by machines—the distinct advantage of the HI factor.

Jim Madsen is a copywriter at DRTV agency A. Eicoff & Co.

Television Advertising And Search Performance

TV with search in the middleEicoff's Take: Now that the rest of the advertising world is joining the ranks of DRTV in measuring response, attribution is all the rage. Television is the most powerful driver of activity across all channels. And nothing makes TV work harder than DRTV.

Big events like the Academy Awards or Super Bowl may get the most media attention for their impact on digital activity, but marketers would be wise to pay closer attention to this connection throughout the year.  In many organizations, digital direct marketers of large brands rarely interact with those responsible for television advertising and often use different advertising agencies.  Yet in this age of marketing attribution, it is clear that these forms of advertising are becoming more closely linked.  And now we have some specific ways to prove and monitor this.

A recent study of financial services brands by researchers from Duke, USC and Syracuse found a “significant association between television advertising… and consumers’ tendency to search branded keywords.”  This confirms numerous previous experimental studies and just might explain why we see so many advertisements for trucks, auto insurance and financial services when we watch the NFL on Sundays.

Historically, it has been extremely challenging to measure the link between offline and online media, particularly as it relates to sales.  Even if a funny commercial prompts you to tweet about it, has that impacted your (or anyone’s) likelihood to purchase that product?  Or perhaps the commercial has actually offended you!  Essentially, standard ways to measure cross-channel advertising can’t cope with the diversity and complexity of a large-scale brand advertising campaign.

If marketers are to look to one place to begin to bridging the online-offline gap, I recommend focusing on how one’s “brand message” in a television ad is coordinated with the “direct-response message” in a search campaign or display advertisement, as follows:

1. Start measuring branded search advertisements and modeling the effect of television ads over time.  While this is often done in response to a big bang commercial like a Super Bowl ad, it is done less frequently throughout the year.  Regional television campaigns can help measure advertising impact more easily. 

2. Include the brand tagline in your search or display ad in addition to a specific call to action.  In other words, reinforce to the consumer the value you communicated offline in a venue like television and link it to the next step in the online purchase funnel.  You’ve paid your creative agency a lot of money for that tagline. Use it consistently!  It’s surprising how often this is missed.

3. In developing your digital marketing campaign assets, plan to use the persona from your television commercials that links most closely to the audience of that digital campaign.  Brands will often have a range of personas who buy their products. So if you have a younger target audience for a mobile campaign, for example, avoid using a stock image of retirees!

4. If your call to action is literally a phone call, use call-tracking numbers in your digital execution to measure response, in addition to Web site queries.  Phone calls are more predictive of a sale than Web site visits, and can be associated directly with specific marketing campaigns.  In some cases, your call center or call analytics technology can provide data that links back to specific product messages or promotions in your television campaigns.

There’s been a lot of talk about online and offline attribution for some time.  It's exciting that now in areas like search and television, marketers can take steps to really address those connections.

Super Bowl Underscores the Big Business of Must-See, Live TV

Football fans rejoice over superbowl touchdownEicoff's Take: As David Carr of the New York Times notes, The Super Bowl is one of th ose Events That Bring Us Together. As are the Grammy's, Oscars, Golden Globes. Must-see TV for sure. But for the other 350-some days of the year, it's back to niche content and a vast throng of television options for our casual viewing pleasure. Which is where DRTV will be - with trackable, targeted messages that deliver measurable results. Maybe not enough to bring out the guacamole and chips, but perfect for building our clients' business ses.

It is a fact of modern life that the mass has gone out of media, with television ratings reflecting that each of us is building our own little campfire on our phone, tablet and big screen at a time and place of our choosing.

Until a bonfire like the Super Bowl is lit.

Then we all show up, generally in greater and greater numbers each year. And it’s not just for the biggest of all games. Live events — including the N.F.L.’s regular season, the Grammys, the Oscars and the Golden Globes — have all managed to escape the broad loss of audience in network television. New-media types will posit that second screens fueled by social media have made live events seem all the more urgent, and while that’s true, I think something more primal is at work.

At a time of atomization in which we all end up down the hobbit holes of our special interests, big live television fulfills a need to have something, anything, in common. You can go on Twitter on any given night to discuss the second episode of the third season of “Girls” with your like-minded pals, but if you want to talk about something that your boss, your mother, your cabdriver and your bartender all have an opinion on, this week it will probably include the words “Peyton Manning” and some cliché about what can happen on any given Sunday.

Percentage of Households with TVs in use
Similarly, the week before, we were all chatting about the weddings that Queen Latifah presided over at the Grammys, and the week before that, Jacqueline Bisset’sstrangely riveting speech at the Golden Globes. Those moments happened at a specific time and place that your DVR may have recorded, but did not really capture.
That may be part of the reason that even as network ratings have dropped 29 percent over the last decade, the Grammys have added six million viewers, the Academy Awards have added three million give or take, and the Golden Globes have managed to hold steady over the same time period, according to the Nielsen Company. No wonder that Dick Clark Productions is adding as many live events as it can get its hands on and that William Morris Endeavor recently made a huge bet by buying IMG to gain access to sports, powered as it is by live events.
Even when network television is staring down a dreary landscape, the National Football League’s numbers are in a class by themselves.

■ This season, N.F.L. games on CBS, Fox and NBC averaged 20.3 million viewers, nearly three times the average broadcast audience.

■ Over 200 million viewers tuned in for the regular season. Of the 35 most watched shows this fall, 34 belonged to the N.F.L.

■ The last four Super Bowls were the most watched television programs in history in terms of total viewers.

And just in case you think it’s just a bunch of boys guzzling beers and making burp jokes or worse, women make up 35 percent of the average N.F.L. audience. More women watch the Super Bowl than men and women watch the Academy Awards combined. That’s how big football has become, and that’s why it has become must-have TV. ABC, the odd network out right now with professional football, cannot wait to get off the sidelines.

Brian Rolapp, executive vice president for NFL Media, said there was a reason that live football was becoming bigger even as much of the media world was shrinking.

“At a time of division in the rest of life, by socioeconomics, by race, by class, by gender, every which way that people tend to get divided by, the N.F.L. cuts through a lot of that,” he said. “Everyone you know is cheering for a team. There are very few things like that right now.”

Ratings for this year’s Super Bowl are bound to be large: Viewing for the N.F.L. was up 5 percent this year over last, and the ratings for the conference championships were up 20 percent over those of the previous year. Add in the fact that the game featured the best defense in the league against the best offense in the league and only the haters could suggest that there was nothing worth tuning in for. We have all learned that our viewing pleasure comes at a terrible cost to many of the combatants in terms of torn tendons, broken limbs, concussions and brain injuries, but still we watch.

I thought about the power of the live event, of tribal ritual held in common, after I attended the Super Bowl Media Day last Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark. As I walked into the arena, one of about 3,000 journalists (of the 6,300 who have been credentialed for the game), I turned and looked up into the stands. About 7,000 people, according to my colleague Richard Sandomir, had each paid $28.50 to watch us watch the players as they endured an hour of questioning, some of which had very little to do with the actual game of football.

It was just a few hours of interviews, inane ones at that, removed by both geography and time from the actual event. But the N.F.L. could have sold even more tickets if it had not capped attendance at 7,000. If a manufactured event can generate so much enthusiasm, no wonder the real one looms so large.
I left after the Denver Broncos portion of the day, stepping out into the chill with a few other reporters. We were cynically deconstructing the spectacle when a young man named Abbas came up to me. He had been unable to get a ticket to the nonevent and wanted to know, well, everything. “You guys are so lucky,” he said.

What he was referring to was not the spectacle, but the adjacency to real, actual humans who play, once the hoopla dies down, a real, actual game. There is, underneath all the sponsors, the hype and the fanfare, something authentic underway that most people want to watch at the same time. The next month will bring two more mega-events, the Winter Olympics and then the Oscars. They are, foremost, events that happen on television, and when you tune in live along with the rest of America, you are there.

There is, even in an age of individualized media cocoons, a deep hunger for a common experience and all the ritual that accompanies it. At our house, it is the one day a year when we buy a big bucket of KFC, snark on the halftime entertainment — we are looking at you, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers — and watch the same thing together at the same time. Yes, my daughters will be pecking at their phones and I will pipe up on Twitter, but for one night, the game itself is the thing.

Quicken Loans Offering $1Billion for Perfect March Madness Bracket

1B March Madness

Call it the office pool to end all office pools.

Quicken Loans and investment firm Berkshire Hathaway are teaming up to offer a $1 billion prize to anyone who can correctly call the winners of every single game in this year’s NCAA March Madness men’s college basketball tournament.

Since the odds of anyone calling all 63 games correctly appear to be vanishingly small, the companies are also offering to split $2 million among the 20 most accurate predictions submitted for the contest.

Quicken says it will also donate $1 million to educational charities in Detroit and Cleveland, the two cities that are the main focus of Quicken founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert’s activities.

“We’ve seen a lot of contests offering a million dollars for putting together a good bracket, which got us thinking, what is the perfect bracket worth? We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat,” said Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans.

Any qualified entrant who correctly enters the contest and predicts the winners of every game in the tournament will share the total $1 billion prize paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million dollars. Alternatively, the winner may elect to receive an immediate $500 million lump sum payment or share in that lump sum payment if there is more than one winner.

“Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so,” said billionaire Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which is insuring the contest’s grand prize. “While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn’t get much easier than filling out a bracket online.”

It’s unclear if anyone has ever chosen all games correctly for the tournament. The exact odds are difficult to calculate because having basketball knowledge changes the chances dramatically. And there have been some constants, such as a 16-seed never having beaten a 1-seed. Michael Weimerskirch, a math professor at Augsburg College, said the chances of picking winners in all the games using a dispassionate coin flip is 1-in-100 million trillion, or a 1 with 20 zeros, according to a 2012 Associated Press report.

Free registration for the ‘Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket’ will begin on Monday, March 3, and runs through Wednesday, March 19. All participants registering prior to the tournament selection process will receive their brackets the evening of Sunday, March 16, when entrants can begin filling out their bracket.

To be eligible for the $1 billion grand prize, entrants must be 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen and one of the first 10 million to register for the contest. Submissions will be limited to a total of one per household.

All qualified entrants are eligible for the 20 awards of $100,000 for selecting the competition’s top 20 most accurate “imperfect” brackets.

Full contest rules along with more information about ‘Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket’ will be released and published in the days and weeks leading up to the tournament.

Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 orgallagher@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @jgallagherfreep.

Why TV Ad Spend Will Grow More Than Digital Spend In The Next Five Years

Eicoff's Take: Another article telling us that television is not dying anytime soon. In fact, TV is still growing along with our television advertising clients.

networks remoteTV ad spend in the U.S. will grow more each year for the next five years than digital video ads will (yes, you read that correctly.)

At the closing panel of  Gridley & Company’s 13th Annual Marketing, Internet, Financial Technology and Outsourcing Services Conference, -- one of my favorite ad tech banking conferences, held Tuesday in New York -- I predicted that television advertising spend in the U.S. would grow more in real dollars than spend on video ads on the Web, mobile and over-the-top combined, every year for the next five years. To make sure that the digitally biased audience knew that I was serious about my prediction, I said if I was wrong, I would pay for the conference cocktail party after any year in which I wasn’t right.

The crowd, a bit taken back by my bet, didn’t agree with me (nor did my fellow panelists). I’m quite confident I won’t be paying for those drinks at any time between now and 2019. Here’s why:

TV advertising and audiences are not shrinking. The average American watches more than 34 hours of TV programming every week. That number has gone up, not down, over the past 20 years, and has only begun to show signs of plateauing over the past two years. Time on the Internet and tablets and mobile devices has gone up, but TV usage hasn’t gone down. That’s why total TV ad spend has been growing between 4% to 8% per year -- $3.5 billion to 4 billion -- over the past five years, and is expected to grow similarly over the next five years. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital video ad spend has been growing fast, but only by $1 billion to $2 billion per year.

TV advertising works. Sight, sound and motion on 60-inch, high-definition screens deliver results every day for brands like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Walmart, State Farm, Kellogg’s and Ford. Audiences are massive. They are passive audiences. And they show up in unmatched numbers predictably every day. Those ads deliver results at the cash register. That’s why the TV industry spends $35 billion per year in new investments in content.

Demand outstrips supply. While lots of marketers and agencies have talked for years about rotating their ad spend out of TV, total TV ad spend has increased every year but one for the past 10 years. If some are pulling out, more are jumping in. Marketers in categories with a "moveable purchase," like quick service restaurants, retail, automotive, insurance, movies, know that if they lose share of voice on TV to their competitors, they will lose sales and market share (and stock price and perhaps their jobs). The only other place that happens in the ad business today is search. That’s why the upfront works. Until that changes, TV ad spend will keep going up.

TV ads are getting better. TV has always been fully electronic, but only now is it fully digital. Today, TVs have computers for set-top boxes, many TVs are connected to the Internet, set-top-box viewing data is widely available for measurement and targeting, and lots of media folks who were trained in the online world are looking at TV and starting to apply Web-like ad approaches to TV.

TV and Internet Protocol video aren’t likely to converge until around 2020. As much as many of us believe  we will eventually have a converged video world, where all video programming on TV is delivered over IP networks and is available on-demand with dynamic, addressable ads, that reality is still a long way away. One-third of America (100+ million people) does not have broadband in the home. Netflix on Saturday and Sunday nights in Manhattan buffers and slows down, and wouldn’t even rate as a top ten TV network. We still have a ways to go.

Digital video still coming of age. Video over the Internet and on mobile devices has an extraordinary future, but it still has a lot of growing to do. As compared to TV, it is still subscale. There is a limited amount of premium content ad avails, and TV companies control much of that. It has emerging fraud issues, not unlike its banner ad brethren. It’s just getting a more mature measurement framework in place with products like Nielsen’s OCR and ComScore’s vCE.

Lots will change in this market over the next 10 years, but probably not as much over the next five as many would like to believe. The law of large numbers and slow and steady growth is on my side on this bet. I feel very good about winning over the next five years. After that, I’m likely to take the other side of the bet. What do you think?

Digital Video Ads: Different Goals Need Different Tactics

finger touching play button

Earlier this year, Twitter launched Amplify – a clever program that enables TV networks to extend their live broadcasts onto Twitter with targeted, real-time in-Tweet video clips from the shows people are watching. And just like TV, these clips include three-to-seven seconds of pre-roll advertising.

As you can imagine it would, Twitter’s Amplify program is gaining traction with advertisers. In recent weeks, Twitter has announced major network partnerships–like CBS, Viacom and BBC Global News.

For brands looking to create a new level of awareness, running a few seconds of pre-roll is a smart idea, particularly for on-the-go mobile customers. A recent eMarketer article entitled, “Video Advertising Beyond the Top of the Funnel,” stated, “When marketers determine their goals for digital video advertising, top-of-the-funnel awareness is almost always their main focus.” In fact, awareness topped the list for nearly 95 percent of respondents.

Marketing Objectives

Consequently, brands are placing the importance of “customer acquisition” and “lead generation” further down their lists of online video marketing objectives. This seems to be a clear indicator that digital video ads can be utilized for more than just awareness.

While this may be true, moving the list of priorities from “customer acquisition” and “lead generation” to “awareness” isn’t as simple as it may sound. To be successful, the ability to shift priorities also requires a shift in tactics. Let’s face it, there’s only so much you can do with three-to-seven seconds of pre-roll.

In the end, the key is integration. Creating longer spots (and by that I mean over 30 seconds, which wouldn’t be a fit for Twitter, but would be a fit for plenty of other media outlets like YouTube or news sites), and fueling them with a clear call to action — via text, website, phone, etc. — allows advertisers to both leverage and complement their Twitter pre-roll ‘awareness’ efforts to generate leads and land customers.

The ability to then test and track the response to a particular spot is another critical advantage. Video metrics are an important part of the future of advertising where ROI-savvy advertisers are headed.

Devising a strategy to create awareness is essential to any brand campaign. Executing that strategy through a well-populated channel like Twitter can be an excellent tactic.  But, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Advertisers should think bigger. By augmenting awareness campaigns with a focus on customer acquisition and lead generation via longer length video spots, what was originally devised to focus on awareness alone can now make a more serious impact to your bottom line.

NCC Media White Paper: TV Today & Tomorrow

Eicoff's Take: Excellent White Paper on the state of television! Nice to read a moment of clarity in the chaotic frenzy of hype.
 
Pundits have been forecasting the end of traditional television viewing and the decline of the cable distribution platform as we know it for a decade or more. Bloggers and journalists write breathless columns with titles like ‘TV is Dead!’ and ‘Advertising will be 100% digital by the middle of next February!’ and garner many page views and comments accordingly. However, many of these articles are mash-ups of numbers and charts from different sources, measuring different things, coming to headline-grabbing conclusions that are blatantly incorrect. 
 
Well, we’re calling bunk.  While cord-cutter theorists will continue to manipulate carefully selected facts to support their conclusions, and ‘disruptor’ companies with no sustainable business model will claim to be the next big thing, we’re fairly sure that television will remain the bedrock element of entertainment and advertising for quite a bit longer. Let’s review the evidence. 
 
Has the world changed?  Sure it has.  Has it done so in a way that makes television media any less valuable and relevant to a brand or a political candidate?  Absolutely not.  In fact, traditional television advertising has never been more important to building a brand.  TV maintains a colossal reach advantage versus any other ad medium. 
 
time spent
The just-released 3rd Quarter Nielsen Cross Platform Report reveals that Americans are watching 147 hours of television a month on a traditional TV.  That’s 5 hours a day.  And the hours of viewing to television have grown consistently year after year for as long as they’ve been measuring it.  
 
Watching video on the internet or a mobile phone, conversely, is neither ubiquitous nor substantial at this time.  Nor is it a meaningful ad vehicle for most brands.  Nielsen reports that mobile and internet video viewing combined is measured in minutes per day and represents just 8% of video viewing – last year it was 7% of  video viewing. 
 
Mashing up generic internet use of all kinds and comparing it to TV is not relevant.  People use the internet to read, research, shop, work, track down high school girlfriends, and play games.  Comparing ad-supported video online and on connected devices to TV is the real measure, and that is where the truth lies.  TV, particularly cable, is doing just fine.  In fact, it’s growing.  In May 2013, over 1 million more homes watched Prime Time on cable vs. the same period a year earlier. 
 
Pie chart 78The drivers of increased cable television viewing are programming choice and technology.  New and diverse cable channels have launched and found unique viewing audiences.  Virtually all viewing to these new cable networks is migrating from broadcast networks and local TV stations, where viewership has indeed dropped precipitously over the last decade.  And yes, some of the higher rated cable networks have seen viewership slip.  However those viewers are not disappearing.  They are, for the most part, moving towards new and growing networks that are owned and programmed by the very same companies as the big ones…Discovery, NBCU, Time Warner.  These are the ‘long tail’ networks.  This past July, cable television reached a new milestone by surpassing 78% of all ad-supported Prime Time adult 18-49 and 25-54 demographic viewing to ad-supported television, leaving less than 22% going to the major broadcasters; ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and CW networks.  A year earlier, cable’s share was 72% – cable is not only growing, it is growing at a faster pace vs. broadcast than at any point in the last 5 years. 
 
While total share of viewing going to cable is important, uncovering precisely what viewers are watching is equally important.  As we might expect, the lion’s share of viewing to cable comes from the 40 highest rated networks.  It’s interesting to note that cable’s share of viewing among the top 40 networks alone is 3X the aggregate of all broadcast.  But most important is that a quarter of all cable viewing is now coming from networks that are ranked 41 and up.  share of viewing
 
This includes a huge set of networks that the Nielsen sample isn’t even capable of producing stable information on, so much of the viewing is listed as >> or ‘adequate sample not available.’  There are over 20,000 homes in the Nielsen panel, making it exceedingly difficult to measure long-tail networks.  But millions of ad impressions in local markets now lie in upcoming and niche networks, with quality programming and consumer reach. 
 
Set top box data, now becoming more available from cable MSO’s shows, that in many cases, viewing to cable programming on long-tail networks is vastly underreported, especially in local markets.  With so much splintered viewing, we can’t write off a .1 rating anymore, and the current measurement system makes it very difficult to capture the new, atomized TV audience landscape.  In the Boston market alone, a .1 rating represents 4,885 viewers–there are dozens of networks with that kind of viewership, and targeting and reaching 4,885 consumers can make a big difference to an ad campaign.  For today’s marketers, every impression counts.  And if every TV impression was counted, delivered and paid for, there would be far less ‘TV is dead’ talk going on. 
 
So, despite the scary and incorrect headlines, cable, when you add all viewing to all networks on all platforms, is having its best year ever in viewership and in ad revenue.  Cable programming and the advertising in that programming are the driving forces behind what people are talking about at the water cooler, on Twitter and Facebook and on all other digital platforms.  And it’s what drives consumers into stores, showrooms and voting booths. 
 
Now let’s talk about the cord cutters.  In a wide-ranging 2013 study of video consumption by PwC called “Consumer Intelligence Series: Video Content Consumption", it was found that cord cutting has been significantly overstated.  It also upended a number of widely held views about the video consumption of younger groups, which are often said to have abandoned pay TV.  In fact, younger people aged 18-24 have the highest level of cable and telco subscriptions at 77% followed by the 25-34 age group at 73% vs. respondents in general at 70%. The survey also found large numbers of people supplementing their pay TV subscriptions with other services such as Netflix  or Hulu.   
 
Younger viewers do watch more online video.  But their traditional TV consumption has increased, not decreased. Many young consumers are avid users of second screen, complementary content and that second screen behavior has become widespread, with around 55% interacting with mobile devices while watching TV. 
 
Millions of consumers have elected to switch multichannel providers between cable, satellite and telco.  That’s what competition will do.  But they have not cut the cord.  True cord cutting is still a very small percentage of households.  In fact, the eminent media business analyst Craig Moffett recently said, “Cord-cutting is decelerating, not accelerating.  There's not a torrent of people cutting the cord.  It's a trickle.  There's no speeding-up."  Amen, Craig. 
 
In local advertising markets, the multichannel industry has even put down their swords and enabled NCC to offset any subscriber defections by creating the I+ platform, which connects the ad positions in cable programming across all cable, satellite and telco providers.  So advertisers reach consumers in cable programming irrespective of the platform they receive their signal from. 
 
Whether a viewer gets their television from a cable operator, a telco company or from satellite, it’s all cable.  The three-year trend in cable subscriptions for each platform demonstrates that Americans aren’t cutting the cord – they may just be switching their programming, internet and phone supplier.  In 2011 the official universe estimate for total multichannel homes was 100 million – today it’s 100 million – in a US economy that has seen the actual number of individual households stay flat or compress, depending on the source. 
 
year over year
 
Broadcast-only homes receive their signal through an analog to digital converter box to receive only local stations, and their number has stayed roughly the same at about 11 million.  Most broadcast-only homes have made the decision to forgo cable largely for financial reasons.  Some of them may be satisfied with an over-the-air and over-the-top combination.  But this area will continue to grow slowly, and it will be some time before it makes a dent in traditional television viewing.  Or becomes an ad medium with real power and reach. 
 
There is no doubt that economic and technological forces are at work and affecting the subscription television model and competitive landscape.  The protracted US economic slump saw millions of people lose jobs, income and even their homes.  This would certainly impact a slice of the consumer pie, but that slice may not be the target audience for many marketers.  And handheld devices are providing opportunities for consumers in cable homes to watch the very same programming in a room that may not have a cable box or even a TV.  Or even out by the pool.  These are additive viewing and advertising opportunities, however, not dilutive as posited in dystopian ‘Death to TV’ articles. 
 
So, what’s going on?  We're living at a time where the media is experiencing unprecedented change.  Mainstay media options like newspapers, magazines, and old fashioned local broadcast news at 5 and 11 are all under assault.  But one of the brightest spots in the atomized media landscape is multichannel television.  Despite economic upheaval and new technologies, consumers are not cutting the cord en masse.  They may be changing one cord for another, or adding an invisible cord for additional content, but the cable, satellite and telco distributors are actually doing a pretty good job collectively of keeping the vast majority of American consumer homes on their books by adding products, features and services to their offerings.  And cable programmers continue to produce a vast array of top-notch programming – winning more viewers, accolades, social media buzz, and Emmys every year. 
 
The explosion in online, mobile and over-the-top video is additive to overall video consumption.  And while it all provides new options, marketers looking to launch, build or sustain a brand must make certain that their messages are embedded in the right programming and environment, reaching a large and defined consumer audience, in the right geographies. TV still does that better than any other medium. And that will likely be true for another decade or more – no matter what a pundit or VC-funded ‘disruptor’ says in a blog, or at the next ‘TV is Dead’  panel discussion. 
 
 
Prepared by: Andrew Capone and Chris Foley, NCC Media- December 2013 

Cable is Holding its Own, and Then Some

walking deadEicoff's Take: Television viewing options continue growing, though cable remains the favorite.

TV fans aren't ready to cut their cord to cable.

Viewers spent a record 17.2 hours per week watching ad-supported cable networks in 2013, rebounding from a slight dip last year, while the big four networks claimed a combined 7.5 hours, another low.

"With the growth in on-demand viewing, Hulu and Netflix, you'd think there'd be less viewing of cable TV as a whole," says Turner Broadcasting research chief Jack Wakshlag. "But it's at the highest it's ever been."

The gains weren't shared equally. AMC's The Walking Dead and A&E's Duck Dynasty ranked among the top 25 of all TV shows and, remarkably, in the top five among the young-adult viewers prized by advertisers. But half of the top cable networks saw prime-time audience declines.

Highlights:

TBS surges. After a seven-year run by USA, TBS reclaimed the top spot in prime time among adults ages 18 to 49, thanks largely to a steady rerun diet of The Big Bang Theory, which remains TV's top-rated comedy in originals on CBS.

USA on top. USA was first among all viewers, despite an 8% decline, and while ratings for its own Modern Family reruns are climbing, they're not approaching Banglevels. Across the full day, Nickelodeon (up 4% from a tough 2012) ranked first.

'Dead,' 'Dynasty' rule. Dead's rise is remarkable: With more than 16 million viewers — including DVR-delayed viewing up to seven days later — it ranks seventh among all shows in prime time but first among young-adult viewers, ahead of NBC's Sunday Night Football and Big Bang. That helped push AMC, which also scored with the final season of Breaking Bad, up 18% for the year. A&E rose 9% thanks to Dynasty.

News channels dip. Predictably, after 2012's superheated election season, prime-time ratings for the major cable news networks are down. Leader Fox News fell 9%, No. 2 MSNBC dropped 28%, and CNN slipped 15% (though it is up a slight 3% across the total programming day).

History lessons. History ranked fourth for the year, behind only USA, Disney Channel and ESPN. Adult Swim and Disney, both up, tied as the top network among viewers ages 12 to 34, well ahead of ESPN, MTV and Comedy Central, all of which declined.

2013's top original cable series (viewers in millions)

The Walking Dead (AMC) 16.5
Duck Dynasty (A&E) 13.4
The Bible (History) 13.2
Breaking Bad (AMC) 8.5
Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) 8.3
Sons of Anarchy (FX) 7.3
Major Crimes (TNT) 6.9
Game of Thrones (HBO) 6.4
American Horror Story (FX) 6.1
Longmire (A&E) 6.0

Live plus seven-day viewing for 12/28/12-12/8/13 
Source: Nielsen

The Realities of Reinvention

changes sign“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should be replaced by a new saying: “If it ain’t broke, it soon will be.”

Reinvention is on the minds of every business leader for good reason.  It’s no longer heretical to think about making major, systemic changes even when things are running smoothly.  In our volatile era where it’s not unheard of for significant market changes to happen overnight, it’s almost guaranteed that today’s breakthrough strategy, product or process will soon seem like a relic of the horse-and-buggy era.

But reinvention is a problem for many business leaders.  They’re often brilliant at re-conceptualizing some aspect of their organization.  Putting that brilliant concept into practice, however, is far more challenging than it might appear.

It’s not just the nitty-gritty details of execution that thwart leaders.  It’s the fear that grips the implementers.

When you turn a hierarchical company into one with a flattened structure or when you shift from a reliance on personal selling to one that prioritizes e-commerce, you’re asking your people to take a leap of faith. Invariably, they must take risks, test new approaches and be flexible to make a reinvention work.

They’re going to be scared of making mistakes.  They’re going to be anxious about doing something in a way that feels uncomfortable or unfamiliar.

That’s why reinvention requires a strong foundation to be effective.  As much as things change, certain things must remain the same—values and culture and mission.  These organizational constants are the North Star—they provide direction and confidence even in unexplored areas.

A number of years ago, our ad agency made a major change in our media buying process, switching to a new software system of our own design.  It was a radical departure from the system that had been in place for over 30 years, and some people were understandably worried and questioning: What happens when the inevitable new system glitches surface; won’t our clients be upset when a glitch happens and it messes up a buy; how can we explain all this to our clients?

While we had specific answers to these and other questions, what really helped was reminding our people that we were reinventing a system, not the entire ad agency.  We explained that we’ve always been a company that values straight talk, and that if problems surface, be honest with clients.  We said that we’ve always prioritized building great relationships with stations reps—they’ll still be as willing to provide assistance as they were when the old system was in place.

Expressing and reinforcing foundational values and beliefs can work wonders during times of reinvention.  It’s not just they offer practical advice in times of uncertainty but they provide much needed reassurance.  In times of significant change, people need the security of knowing that some things remain the same.

Therefore, if you’re contemplating reinventing some aspect of your business, consider implementing these three “Re” tactics:

  1. Remember the qualities and values that are timeless—the core strengths that define the company.  It’s not that you’ve forgotten them, but you’re probably thinking a lot more about the reinvented organizational structure or system than these defining qualities.  If you are conscious of these qualities, you’re more likely to talk about them
  2. Remind your people about the company’s history, growth and achievements.  It’s not you want to mire them in the past as you reinvent; it’s that you want them to recognize the themes and assets that have always been in place and always will be.
  3. Recognize how a given reinvention dovetails with the company’s core beliefs.  Connecting the dots between the past and reinvented present can go a long way to diminishing the fear that some employees feel.  For instance, the new team structure will foster the open communication that has always been part of the culture.

Just as reinvention requires an act of leadership imagination, implementation requires facing some tough realities.  Your people are going to be anxious about doing something new and unfamiliar, and by rooting them in some key organizational truths, you’ll ease that anxiety and make the reinvention that much more effective.

This is the guest post by Bill McCabe, President/CEO, A. Eicoff & Co. He is CEO of Chicago-based direct response TV advertising agency, A. Eicoff & Co.

Why the Web Has Failed at Brand Advertising

Eicoff's Take: A pioneer of web marketing nails why TV is critical to the Web.Rick Webb

In Silicon Valley, and among startups in general, there’s a single slide that encompasses an article of faith. It was created years ago — and is updated annually — by famed Internet-analyst-turned-venture-capitalist Mary Meeker. It shows the gap between time spent on the Internet and ad budgets spent.

The graph is correct, but the underlying assumption that this gap would magically close is a lie, said Rick Webb, a partner at VC fund Quotidian Ventures and a co-founder of digital agency The Barbarian Group. The reason is simple: Brand advertising online sucks.

“Here we are 10 years later, and the money hasn’t come over,” he said at the Digiday Brand Summit, in Deer Valley, Utah, on Monday. “TV viewership is declining, but TV ad spend has gone up. It’s because TV ads make people cry and make people laugh … and the Internet doesn’t grasp that.”

Webb, who advised Tumblr on its ad strategy and is doing the same for streaming platform SoundCloud, said startups and platforms should focus on solving that problem for brands. That’s the only way to unlock big budgets.

“There’s a million different Internet companies you can spend money on,” he said. “It’s kind of a joke. Nobody in this room has the time to talk to all 50,000 tech startups. If you want to break out [as a startup], give some plausible way to do great brand advertising on the Web. What can you be to [marketers] that’s actually moving like brand advertising?”

Watch a three-minute clip of Webb talking about the subject below.

Web Companies Embrace TV Ads

dot com advertisers

Eicoff’s Take: Websites are realizing if they want to scale larger, television's reach and measurable results are tough to resist.

Google Inc., GOOG +0.05% AOL Inc. AOL +0.68% and Yahoo Inc. YHOO -1.35%are doing their best to lure advertisers away from television in favor of their outlets. But television's appeal is tough to resist—even for many website owners.

TripAdvisor Inc. TRIP -2.30% recently kicked off a $30 million TV advertising campaign, the company's first. For 13 years, the travel website has relied largely on digital ads such as sponsored search results and, more recently, social media. While that has helped build a "decent level" of name recognition, the company says, it now wants to go further.

To do so, it believes it needs television.

"Nothing has that broad reach or the ability to build a brand faster" than TV advertising, said Anne Bologna, vice president of brand strategy for TripAdvisor. Ms. Bologna said TV was still the best vehicle for engaging an audience and telling a story.

It is a similar strategy at PopSugar Inc., which, to promote its Shopstyle.comwebsite, is devoting roughly $15 million to television ads. Digital advertising has helped the site generate traffic but its brand name is still virtually unknown, its research shows.

"We are graduating from being a San Francisco tech startup to becoming a household name," said Brian Sugar, PopSugar's co-founder and chief executive.

This sentiment helps explain why TV ad spending continues to rise, even as marketers have shifted money to the Web from other traditional media, such as newspapers and magazines.

Ad spending on TV in the U.S. is expected to rise 2.8% this year to $66.3 billion, according to eMarketer, or 38% of total ad spending on all media. Web brands spent $959.5 million on TV ads in the U.S. during the first eight months of this year, up 2.6% from a year earlier, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.

One of the new Web advertisers on TV is Zillow Inc. Z -0.79% Its real-estate website decided to start buying TV advertising in April, its first-ever advertising effort, after research showed that 88% of consumers had never heard of the company. Zillow is spending between $30 million and $40 million on ads this year, mostly going to television, the company said.

So far, TV ads have had a "significant impact" on the site's traffic, brand awareness and revenue, said Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky.

Web companies have been advertising on TV since the late 1990s. During the first Internet boom, sites spent billions of dollars on TV commercials. Who could forget Outpost.com's flying gerbils commercial or Pets.com's sock puppet?

But those were the early days of the Web, when advertising opportunities on the Internet were limited largely to banner ads.

It is a different story today. There is search, online display and social media, and some online video outlets now draw nearly as many viewers as traditional TV does. That has spurred efforts by online video companies to go after television ad dollars—even hosting large-scale events, like TV's "upfront" ad-sales market—in hopes of getting marketers to commit dollars in advance, much in the same way that broadcast media companies do.

Web executives have high hopes that online video eventually will be able to provide them with the mass reach and emotional bond with consumers they crave. Still, some point out that online video pricing for premium inventory remains too high and that ad measurement needs to improve.

Online dating service eHarmony Inc. has tried various digital outlets in its 13-year history, including online display and social media. But it finds that television spots, which it has been buying since 2003, generate the best results in getting people to come to the website and fill out its questionnaire.

There is "something about TV that motivates people," said Grant Langston, eHarmony's vice president of customer experience.

"Display [ads] has never been a good performer for us," although advertising on Facebook FB -0.76% has proved a better experience, he said. EHarmony allocates about 75% of its $90 million in annual ad spending to television.

Others companies say that digital marketing is valuable, particularly for specific tasks such as generating traffic.

Edmunds.com Inc. credits digital advertising such as search with helping the site attract an average of 18 million unique visitors a month. Even so, Edmunds next month will begin a $10 million television ad push, its first foray into national TV advertising since the car-shopping website was created in 1995.

"Digital has been doing a great job, and that is an important piece," said Michelle Denogean, vice president of marketing at Edmunds.com.

Still, Ms. Denogean said there is "always room to grow in awareness." The new ad push is about getting word out about new services the site is offering, she said.

Auto-research company Kelley Blue Book Co., which has operated KBB.com since 1995, had the same experience. Kelley, which had relied on search ads for years, started TV advertising last year. After its traffic jumped and brand awareness nearly doubled, Kelley is doubling its TV spending this year,

Most marketers maintain that a mix of ad tactics works best.

"You can't put all your eggs in one basket," said Wendy Froehlich, vice president of marketing at Homes.com, a real-estate site operated by Dominion Enterprises that began a new campaign in August, the first time the company has run TV advertising. The company has done search and social-media advertising but found that consumers didn't know about homes.com.

Nancy Go, director of brand marketing for Wayfair LLC, online furniture company, agrees. She said her company experimented with TV ads last year, spending $500,000 on a six-week trial. Traffic to the site jumped 15%. Wayfair is pumping $5 million into a TV campaign in the fourth quarter.

Martin Sorrell Talks Candidly About Mergers, Mayhem—and His Own Demise

Eicoff's Take: When the CEO of WPP speaks, we listen.

Sir Martin Sorrell

In 1978, Martin Sorrell had just started working with the Saatchis, where, as group finance director, he was the architect of the agency acquisitions that would reshape modern advertising. After investing in Wire and Plastic Products in 1985 (the basis for WPP, where he has served as CEO ever since), Sorrell was prescient in identifying changes impacting the industry, whether consolidation, emerging markets or new technologies. In this chat with Adweek, he shares his thoughts about where the industry is headed, what he thinks of Publicis Omnicom Group and his own plans for the future.

Adweek: What do you see happening in the next five years in advertising?
Sorrell: Thirty-five years ago, if I had said POG would exist, WPP would have done what we’ve done, the Dentsu Aegis deal. You would have said, “No way.” So you have to be careful about predictions. You never know what will come out of left field, but what is different now is all these new layers of competition: our direct competitors; others, like Nielsen, Ipsos; companies like Adobe, Salesforce.com; the Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple group. All the differences will become less and less—we will morph into each others’ territory much more. Bigger companies will have the advantage of size, clout, technology and investment. Smaller companies will have the advantage of more responsive structures, more entrepreneurial, flexible people. Power will move to the big. It will be much more difficult for the small.

Do you think companies like Interpublic and Havas will be around as independent entities?
No. In five years they will be around, but not as independents.

Are you open to the idea of an acquisition that large?
At the moment, the answer would be no if you look at valuations and prospects. Over the next five years, you’ll see great differences in valuation terms. Over that time, you’ll see who knows what they’re doing and who doesn’t know.

Have you figured out the rationale for the Publicis-Omnicom merger yet?
No, I haven’t [laughs]. You can predict the suggested co-CEO management structure [between Maurice Lévy and John Wren] will not survive. There’s a lot of talent on the move. We just took the North American chief creative officer [Lincoln Bjorkman] from Digitas for Wunderman.

And what about bigger industry trends?
Clients and legacy media owners will consolidate further. Agency offerings will become much more integrated. The sort of things we’ve done with [holding company] teams will become more the norm. We’ll be focused more on math men as well as mad men and more focused on the CIOs as well as the CMOs. Procurement officers and financial officers will become more important. Boundaries between us and competitors, our “frenemies,” will become more porous. If you look at the last five, 10 years, the industry looks remarkably different. We now sit with 35 percent of our business in digital and 30 to 31 percent in fast-growth markets. If you went back 15 years ago, digital didn’t really have any profile, and I think there will still be more disruptive technologies.

Has marketing lost its cachet? Does it still have a larger trajectory in the business world?
What I hope will happen, but not sure it will, is that there is a resurgence in marketing and a belief that growing the top line is a key to a business’s success rather than focusing on costs. I still think there are bags of potential, but we live in a world where people don’t want to take risks, a world where the average CEO lasts five years and an average CMO in America two years. There are good examples of people prepared to invest, willing to take risks, but they have to unfortunately deal with quarterly performance, non-executive directors, corporate governance, regulators.

What would you do if you were starting out in business today?
In five years, I’ll be dead [laughs]. I’d try and find a little shell company, private equity investor or venture capitalist and do the same [as with WPP], but the areas of focus would be different. Geography would be different. You might start in the U.S., but you probably wouldn’t start in Western Europe. You’d be more focused on media investment and data investment management and digital. The company would be much more balanced. In other words, it wouldn’t be classic advertising agency led. It would be much more neutral. You would be much more respectful of people in the media business. You’d be dabbling in content. Same approach in a way as now, but different focus.

Who are your biggest influences?
My father and Phil Reiss [the late Davis & Gilbert attorney who was a behind-the-scenes ally in Sorrell’s dealmaking]. Those two people were the most influential, with my dad being the most. His lessons: commitment, hard work, all the “apple pie and motherhood” stuff—enjoy what you do and focus on it. The difference with my father is, he would say, “Stay with one company and build a career; if you want to do something on your own, go do something on your own.” He wouldn’t say flit from flower to flower, which is the common approach. My dad’s advice was, find something you really enjoy doing—that isn’t work, in a sense.

He loved retail and he was 24/7 at it, but that didn’t mean he sacrificed family as well. My father thought speed, doing things quickly, was very important. If I don’t do something in response to a question or don’t answer a question, it’s because I don’t know the answer or I’m worried about the consequences of giving the answer that I know is right.

What are you doing these days when you’re not working?
Working. Playing cricket occasionally, skiing occasionally. That’s probably about it. My wife, my kids and my seven grandchildren, that’s it.

What’s that work life like?
 I spend one-third of my time in London, one-third in New York and one-third traveling. I’m in the U.S. about 25 nights a quarter, so about 100 days a year. I may spend a little more time in New York now than in London. I spend about a third of my time with clients, a third internally and a third with other stakeholders who would be shareholders, government, that sort of stuff.

Anything you still want to do?
We have a very strong company, but I’m still not convinced we have consistently reached the pinnacle, so there’s still a lot more bricks to put in the wall or more walls to be built. We understand technological changes, but we could be even more clever in dealing with those technologies for the benefit of clients. We could come up with more imaginative ways in working with them and solving their problems which are very difficult. But coming back to me, I’ll just keep carrying on chipping away until they shoot me like a dead horse and they take me to the knacker’s yard, the glue factory.

No smelling the roses before then?
No, I will not be committing suicide. Someone will have to murder me.

Nielsen Gets a 'Toehold' on Google, Begins Tagging Campaigns on YouTube

Eicoff's Take: It's great to see online video measurement continue to evolve and we expect it to get better over time. The ability to measure TV and online video campaigns together is essential for online video growth.

youtubevideo1What do analysts make of Google’s about-face decision to include Nielsen’s online campaign ratings (OCR) data in campaigns sold using OCR tags?

For one, it represents a much bigger win for the measurement company than it does for Google or its ad partners.
 
“Nielsen is now much better positioned to dominate [the video ad buying] space, and Google is more likely to capture incremental revenue for YouTube,” Brian Wieser, a senior analyst Pivotal Research Group, said in a Friday research note.
 
“It is likely an incremental negative for comScore, as well as Tremor Video, YuMe and other owners of online video properties,” Wieser wrote. “It is also a slight positive for Facebook, as it deepens the importance of the data they possess in online advertising.”
 
Whether comScore's competing validated campaign essential (vCE) tags -- which are already allowed on YouTube -- qualify as a widely accepted measurement model is debatable. comScore co-founder and Executive Chairman Gian Fulgoni played down Google’s use of the Nielsen’s OCR tags as nothing more than a “test.” At best, Fulgoni said, it gives the TV ratings giant a “toehold” in the online video measurement space, not a position of dominance.

According to comScore’s analysis of the online video marketplace, the percentage of online video ads utilizing comScore’s tags has grown to about 75% in the U.S. and 82% worldwide. Fulgoni said comScore’s tags have been running on YouTube for about “six to nine months,” and added that there’s no reason to believe marketers and agencies would shift to Nielsen simply because Google now allows its tags.

Colin Gillis, senior technology analyst and director of research at BGC Partners, said he wasn’t surprised by Google's decision. On the contrary, he called its embrace of OCR data “just another step in [Google’s] march to capture TV dollars … the next big pool of ad dollars.”
 
Without a widely accepted measurement model, “Google can’t close the loop,” Gillis explained.

Fulgoni added that there are a number of other “drivers of choice” that determine which video measurement service customers will utilize, and he trumpeted some of comScore’s strengths, including the fact that it currently is the “only one out there with a multiplatform audience measurement product.”
 
However, Wieser suggested that with Google’s acceptance of Nielsen’s OCR data, the firm is now better positioned than comScore to dominate the video ad measurement space. “Many large agencies and advertisers have chosen to use vCE to measure their online video campaigns, in part because vCE could better capture viewing activity across a broader array of video-based digital media,” Wieser wrote.
 
Nielsen already has close ties in measurement with Facebook, which unveiled a new video advertising service this summer -- although Wieser was quick to question the strength of the social network’s offering.

comScore's vCE Tags Vs. "Next Competitor"

vCE Ratio v Next Competitor

Source: comScore online video campaign tag analysis.

Nielsen adds Web viewers to its TV ratings

Eicoff’s Take: As online and mobile TV viewership increases, it’s important to have the ability to accurately measure this viewership. This enables advertisers to see the total impact of media buying on a given program, which will ultimately include cross-platform viewership of that show. We’re encouraged by Nielsen taking this initial step, but realize cross-platform measurement won’t happen over night. Nielsen is taking a big step, but it’s only the first step.

kids and mom watching tvA TV show can be wildly popular online, inspiring binge-watching marathons and feverish Twitter chatter, but it's still the number of people turning in via a regular television set that are counted most by networks.

In a sign of our increasingly connected age, the Nielsen Company will finally add streaming viewers to its influential ratings of who's watching what on TV. The new ratings will collect data on people who watch their sitcoms, dramas and crime procedurals on computer, tablet and smartphone screens.

Nielsen first announced it was testing programs to track streaming viewers in April. In mid-November, it will release a software development kit that clients can use to figure out who's tuning in online.

Nielsen ratings are used to figure out how many people are watching a show and the demographics of the overall audience. Networks use those numbers to determine how much to charge for ads and even to help make scheduling decisions, such as canceling shows that pull in dismal numbers.

Television sets are still the primary way people watch TV, but online viewers are growing fast. They stream shows to non-TV screens, such as computers, tablets and smartphones. Their viewing habits are different, too: They consume entire seasons in single sittings and catch up on "Daily Show" clips during commutes. The streaming and mobile audiences tend to skew younger, a coveted age group for advertisers.

Nielsen typically tracks demographics such as age, location, gender, race and income. To gather that type of detailed information about online viewers, the company says it will match demographic information with data providers such as Facebook that already collect that information about Internet users.

Not all online views will count as part of the main Nielsen TV ratings.

Shows that don't include the same ads online as on TV will be counted as part of separate Nielsen Digital Ratings. Shows streamed directly by networks through their own sites and apps typically include the same set of ads, and those viewers are counted towards the traditional Nielsen totals.

This is the latest attempt by Nielsen to catch up with current digital-media technology. Earlier this month, the company announced it was launching Twitter TV ratings, tracking the number of people tweeting about a show and how many people were reading those tweets.

Nielsen ratings are typically collected in several old-fashioned ways. For example, it still has households record their viewing habits in handwritten diaries, documenting any show they watch for more than five minutes.

Univision Posts Q3 Net Loss: TV Up, Digital Down

Eicoff's Take: TV media buying on spanish-language Univision climbed in Q3 and looks good for Q4.

Univision Communications had a mixed financial picture for its third-quarter results -- higher revenue, but a net loss versus a net profit compared to the same period a year ago.

The Spanish-language TV/media company posted a $15.9 million loss versus a profit of $10.6 million. Higher expenses were the main reason. Overall company-wide revenue, however, grew 10.1% to $692.7 million.

While TV revs climbed ($580.6 million versus $509.2 million), digital revenue declined ($22.1 million versus $29.0 million). Radio business was virtually the same ($90.0 million versus $90.7 million).

During an earnings phone call with analysts, Randy Falco, president/CEO of Univision, said Univision’s TV stations are seeing advertising revenue up in the mid-to-high single-digit percentage range for the fourth quarter. This excludes political advertising.

Falco noted fourth-quarter advertising prices for the Univision network itself are pacing stronger -- in the mid-teens percentage range, pushing overall TV revenue into the lower double-digit percent range.

Next week, starting on Oct. 28, Univision's co-venture with ABC -- a news and lifestyle network called Fusion aiming at millennials -- will start in some 20 million homes. By the end of 2014, Falco says that number will double.

Global Ad Spend Up, Latin America Performs Best

Eicoff’s Take: Follow the money. Brands continue channeling more ad money into TV. But in the age of increased accountability, demand for measurable results is increasing too.

Gold GlobeGlobal advertising spending continues to improve -- slightly.

Advertising spending gained 3.5% in the second quarter of this year, while the six month trend for this year, January to June, grew 2.8% over the same periods the year before, according to Nielsen.

The best performing region continued to be Latin America, up by 13.1% for the first six months of the year. Other regions outperforming the worldwide market growth rate: Asia Pacific, 6.4% higher and the Middle East & Africa, 3.9% more.

Those coming below the global ad market overall: North America, up 2.7%, slightly below the six-month growth rate; and Europe, still struggling, down 6% from a year before.

Looking at individual countries, Nielsen says Argentina contributed big gains for the Latin America region. Indonesia, China and the Philippines all had double-digit ad growth in the Asia-Pacific region. In Europe, the only countries witnessing improvements: Norway (2.5% higher); Switzerland (a 0.6% gain); and Greece (up 7.4%).

Analyzing specific media, for the first six months of the year TV was 4.2% higher, still commanding the largest media share with 57.6%; the Internet is 26.6% higher, now with a 4.3% media share; and outdoor advertising gained 5.0%, which has a 3.5% share.

On the losing end: newspapers are down 2%, now with a 18.9% market share, second place to TV; magazines were off 1.9%, it has a 10% market share; radio slipped a bit, down 0.9%, a 5.4% market share; and cinema advertising sank 5.9%, at a 0.3% market share.

Sticky: Only 14% Of Online Ads Are Seen

Eicoff's Take: As online advertising matures and metrics improve for measuring how well online ads perform, the real value of generating sales via web will become clearer. With 94% of advertising investment currently off line, TV, especially DRTV, with its measurability and immediacy, is as relevant as ever.

Sticky, a company with software that uses webcams to track users' eye movements to verify whether or not online ads are actually seen, on Thursday released data which supports the argument that viewability does not equal being seen.

"Viewability" describes whether or not an ad could be seen on a page without needing to scroll down, "X" out of something, change tabs, etc. While viewability metrics would suggest that close to 50% of ads are seen, Sticky's data says its actually just 14%.

Sticky looked at the performances of ten different brands across five different sites with two ads per site. The sites used were yardbarker.com, weather.com, realeastate.com, washingtonpost.com and instyle.com. The study dealt only with impressions that were already viewable.

Washingtonpost.com had the strongest performance, with 51% of the ads in "Placement A" being seen. 40% of the ads in washingtonpost.com's "Placement B" were seen.

Instyle.com had the worst performance. Just 10% of its Placement A and 19% of its Placement B ads were seen.

Weather.com (45% for A, 31% for B) and realestate.com (20% for A, 33% for B) had noticeable, but not drastic, changes between the performances of Placement A and Placement B. However, yardbarker.com had the biggest difference between the two placements. Its A ads were seen just 19% of the time, but its B ads were seen 44% of the time.

Jeff Bander, Sticky's president and chief change agent, hopes Sticky's technology will help boost the number of ads that are actually seen. As publishers get more of this type of data and start to take advantage of it, Bander hopes it will bring more brand dollars online.

"About 94% of branding dollars are offline," he said. "Habit is a lot of that, but studies say CMOs are asking what it would take to move more dollars online." He added, "Brand lift and purchase intent [numbers] are always higher when more people see the ad and look at it longer. Those two measurements — of percent seen and time — have a direct correlation to brand lift, which is the main reason people are advertising brands online."

Right now, the data collection takes about 48 hours, but it will "eventually be real-time," Bander told RTM Daily. He hopes to have the data collection entirely automated by the end of 2013.

visibility image

Nielsen to roll out Twitter ratings for TV shows on Monday

Eicoff’s Take: There’s been lots of conversation about Twitter and its relationship to ratings and TV viewer engagement. When it comes to a DRTV media plan, we focus on one thing – RESPONSE. Are people responding to your ad during this program and timeslot? A show’s ratings may be high and Twitter may be on fire, but neither of these matter to us. Your ad's measurable results are the main focus.

twitter tvTelevision networks have been tapping Twitter hashtags for a couple of years to drum up more buzz for their programs. But shows with the greatest Twitter activity do not always correlate to programs with the highest ratings, according new Nielsen data, cited by the the Wall Street Journal.

That is one of the takeaways from data that Nielsen will begin publishing Monday, ranking shows with the greatest traction on the microblogging social network. The goal of the "Nielsen Twitter TV Ranking," which the companies announced last December, will be to measure the unique audience tweeting about individual programs.

While the data shows that the social network's younger user base has very different tastes than the overall TV-viewing audience, marketers see opportunity in knowing which shows have traction with Twitter users. The thinking is that more Twitter engagement will translate into greater attention for the program's advertisements.

Tapping entertainment avenues could generate big ad revenue for Twitter, which last week filed for a $1 billion initial public offering. In addition to its music platform, the company has been ramping up content partnerships with TV networks.

Last month, Twitter signed a deal with CBS (the parent company of CNET) that will enable the TV network to embed video clips from a wide variety of its shows in its tweets. The partnership is part of Twitter's Amplify program, which presents the social network's users with video clips provided by its TV partners, accompanied by short advertisements. The Amplify partners, in turn, target their videos at their users with promoted tweets.

Creativity in the Age of the Maths Men

Eicoff's Take: WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell discusses "the ever-increasing importance of big data and technology to our business and how they're revolutionizing what we can do for our clients." Direct response television would be a fine example.

maths

When I said earlier this year that the future of advertising and marketing services belongs as much to Maths Men (and women) as it does to Mad Men (and women), I upset quite a lot of people. Those who follow our industry will know this is not an unusual position for me to be in.

I was talking about the ever-increasing importance of big data and technology to our business, and how they’re revolutionising what we can do for our clients. Some took it to mean that “creativity” (I’ll come back to what I mean by that) had been relegated to the lower leagues.

When I wrote on LinkedIn about increasing our digital targets, someone posted a comment along the lines of “what about traditional creative TV campaigns – has anyone seen one of those lately?”

Well yes, plenty. Grey New York’s campaign for DirecTV, which won various awards at the last two Cannes Lions International Festivals of Creativity, springs to mind. Strong central idea, well executed, very funny – like my all-time favourite, by BTS United Oslo for language education company Berlitz.

There’s certainly no shortage of exceptional work in TV (and press, outdoor, radio and other “traditional” media). It remains hugely effective for clients, and hugely important for our business.

Returning to Cannes – sweeping the board at this year’s festival (along, it should be said, with McCann Melbourne’s Dumb Ways to Die) was Ogilvy Sao Paulo’s Real Beauty Sketches for Dove. It’s a superb film that touched a nerve and made headlines around the world. Peerless work, brilliantly conceived and executed by people at the very top of their craft.

A traditional campaign? You be the judge. At more than three minutes the YouTube film is far longer than a standard TV spot. This viral mega-hit – which to date has attracted more than 50m views – is now the most watched video ad of all time. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

It was successful for three reasons.

First, because it was an inspired idea.

Second, because it’s a true piece of brand-building: not a one-off wonder but an extension of the long-running and highly effective Real Beauty campaign, fulfilling David Ogilvy’s famous belief that every single ad should be an investment in the long-term reputation of the brand.

And third, because it was conceived and delivered by people who understood film and how to harness the extraordinary power of sharing content via social media. Both of those things required a high level of creative intelligence – which brings me to the point.

Creativity is the beating heart of our business. There is no business without it. But it doesn’t belong exclusively to one discipline or another. Imagination, inventiveness, wit, ingenuity and talent are just as at home in media, PR, software development, data and research as they are in art and copy (read Jeremy Bullmore’s essay about the “intensely creative act” of giving “high potency” to research, for example).

In 1996 I gave the D&AD (Design and Art Direction) President’s Lecture in London. D&AD, one of adland’s institutions, is a professional association and charity that promotes excellence in commercial creativity, and my speech was a boring bean-counter’s attempt to show the creative community why I have always been so attracted to what it does.

In that speech I said:

“What we sell are pearls. Whether we are designers or planners or writers or art directors or corporate strategists, our raw material is knowledge. We turn that knowledge into ideas, insights, and objects that have a material, quantifiable value to our clients.

“They are all pearls: of wisdom, of beauty, of desire, of wonder. Only the human mind can perform this extraordinary alchemy. And only certain kinds of mind, at that.

“But here we must be very careful. We have come to believe that only very few are alchemists – and I think that’s wrong and dangerous.”

I think that’s truer than ever today.

At WPP we intend to go on making pearls for some time to come, and that means the industry needs to find and nurture young talent.

So I’m delighted that this month we announced a major new partnership with D&AD (who better?) with the aim of doing just that. Led on our side by worldwide creative director John O’Keeffe, this partnership will provide a range of opportunities for students through D&AD’s New Blood Academy and paid apprenticeships with WPP agencies.

Alongside other initiatives like our longstanding Fellowship programme and the WPP School of Marketing and Communications in Shanghai, it’s one of the many ways in which we’ll discover and support the next generation of alchemists.

A. Eicoff & Co., Quicken Loans and UnitedHealth Group Alliances to Speak at DMA2013

dma2013

Panel to Discuss How Direct Response TV Advertising Integrates Selling and Branding in Groundbreaking Ways

Chicago, IL – September 25, 2013 – A. Eicoff & Co., the leader in direct response TV (DRTV) advertising, today announced that Art Steiber, director of advertising at Quicken Loans, Terry Clark, chief marketing officer at UnitedHealth Group Alliances and Bill McCabe, president and CEO of A. Eicoff & Company will be speaking at the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) DMA2013 Conference & Exhibition. This global Event for Data-Driven Marketers, will take place October 12-17, 2013 at McCormick Place West, Chicago IL. 

On Monday, October 14th, 2013 from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm CDT, these leaders in their respective industries will deliver a presentation entitled “Brand New DRTV: The Powerful Combination of Brand and DRTV Advertising.” As part of the presentation, the speakers will each show a television commercial that illustrates the brand/DRTV approach.

“Over 200 top global marketing leaders, 120+ sessions, expert presenters - including 22 speakers from FORTUNE 100 brands - and thousands of attendees make DMA2013 THE place where data-driven marketers can gain the cutting edge knowledge and networking opportunities they need to drive business success,” said Paul A. McDonnough, DMA’s Vice President, Conferences and Events and Group Show Director, DMA2013.  “We are pleased to have the participation of executives from Eicoff, Quicken Loans and UnitedHealth; we consider it to be a valuable part of this prestigious event.” 

“DRTV advertising has come a long way from its inception over 60 years ago. And over that time, its power and influence has evolved from being purely a selling strategy,” said Bill McCabe, president and CEO of A. Eicoff & Co. “Today, the impact of DRTV is much broader, including the ability to create a database, increase retail sales and build brand.  Quicken Loans and UnitedHealth have created brand-building DRTV spots that sell hard without sacrificing the larger brand message.  They offer a model for other image-conscious Fortune 500 companies that want to take advantage of direct response television advertising.”

For conference information or to register, please visit http://dma13.org/.


About A. Eicoff & Company

Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the country. The company was founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff, who understood that television had the ability to function as a store and that media rates were a negotiable commodity. The phrase “or your money back” was coined by Alvin, and the 800 number came into being, in part, because of his vision and direction for the television advertising industry. In 1982, A. Eicoff & Company became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

 

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About DMA2013 Conference & Exhibition

The DMA2013 Annual Conference & Exhibition: The Global Event for Data-Driven Marketers is the world’s largest gathering of data-driven marketing professionals.  DMA2013, held October 12-17 in Chicago, features keynote presentations, educational sessions, roundtables, case studies, white papers, and research reports.  DMA2013’s exhibit hall features hundreds of exhibiting companies.

Visit the DMA2013 blog at http://dmaannual.wordpress.com/

 

About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

The Direct Marketing Association is the world’s largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing. Founded in 1917, DMA represents thousands of companies and nonprofit organizations that use and support data-driven marketing practices and techniques. In 2012, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $168.5 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.7 percent of all ad expenditures in the United States.  Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $2.05 trillion in incremental sales.  In 2012, direct marketing accounted for 8.7 percent of total US gross domestic product and produces 1.3 million direct marketing employees in the US.  Their collective sales efforts directly support 7.9 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.2 million US jobs.

 

Contact: Andrea Cousens

Cousens Communications

310-270-8903

andrea@cousenscomms.com

###

WPP’s Martin Sorrell Sees Growing Relevance For Ad Agencies In A Tech-Centric World

Eicoff's Take: Sir Martin Sorrell appeared at the IAB MIXX Conference, talking about tech companies and the media business. As the CEO of WPP, when Sir Martin talks, we listen.

Sir MartinSir Martin Sorrell, CEO of ad holding company WPP, weighed in on the digital media landscape today at the IAB MIXX conference in New York. One of his main arguments: That tech companies are also in the media business.

That may seem pretty obvious, since companies like Facebook and Google make most of their money from ads. However, Sorrell recalled being at an industry event where he asked representatives from big tech companies whether they considered themselves to be a media company or a tech company. (Tech executives seem to hate this question.) They all went with tech, but Sorrell said, “Of course that’s not true. … In our view, they are all, to some extent or not, media owners.”

That’s important for WPP’s business, Sorrell said, because “you wouldn’t entrust your media plan to a legacy media owner,” so why would you trust Facebook or Google? “Google sells Google, Facebook sells Facebook, Twitter sells Twitter. They are not agnostic. We are agnostic.” In other words, as technology creates new ad platforms, businesses will still need to work with agencies: “The more complicated it becomes, the more important we become.”

He returned to this point later, when interviewer Randall Rothenberg asked about Facebook or Google adding “agency-like services.” Sorrell countered, “Where we are is a very small business for them. They have bigger fish to fry and a lot of pressure on their sales organization.”

Oh, and even though I’m writing about ad holding companies and ad agencies, Sorrell said he dislikes the term “advertising”. His objection? That it makes people think of the world of Don Draper and Mad Men, when, in fact, “We’ve moved on from that.” In fact, he suggested that of WPP’s revenue, “Don Draper would recognize” the business model behind about $4 billion, while the remaining $14 billion comes from new areas.

Sorrell added that WPP and its competitors need to find new sources of revenue because the consumer goods companies who pay for ads are taking a closer look at their spending (as result of relatively little price inflation at the point of purchase for consumers compared to the price of commodities).

“That has put tremendous pressure on us as part of the supply chain,” he said.

As for what’s next, Sorrell said “the trite answer is mobile and data,” so instead he pointed to the success of Chinese companies like Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi.

“If you said to me, ‘What’s the next big thing?’ I would say it’s Chinese business models,” he said. “We in the West think we have a monopoly on this wisdom, but we don’t.”

TV Exposure Drives More New Customers To Brands Vs. Digital

Eicoff’s Take: When it comes to driving sales from new customers, TV trumps digital. Incorporating direct response television into cross-platform campaigns helps brands tell more complete stories with more compelling reasons to buy. More importantly, it gives TV viewers immediate ways to take action. 

couple watching tvNot all media is created equal when delivery new and old consumers to brands.

In looking at one significant piece of research from a cross platform campaign, TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA) says TV drives more new customers to make sales, while digital media gets more business from existing customers.

When it comes to media exposure via TV, nearly 70% of purchasing household gains came from new customers that were new to the brand and category. Digital media activity gets more sales activity from existing brand customers than new customers.

The cross-media study was done last fall with Comcast Spotlight’s Comcast Media 360, a cross-platform advertising unit that surveyed 735,000 homes for a Starcom MediaVest Group consumer products marketer with consumers exposed to a cross-media television and digital advertising campaign.

Household advertising impressions were matched to TRA purchase data, with purchasing habits tracked for up to 20 weeks after the campaign ended.

The study also says digital media complements TV media; a targeted cross-media campaign produced a 10% sales lift. Nearly two-thirds of those who were exposed by the digital ads had little or no exposure to the TV campaign.

The survey also says higher TV ad frequency drives sales lift -- seven to 10 exposures of a TV commercial were the most effective. TRA says brand advertising from the campaign continue to create a sales lift after the campaign ended. After 20 weeks, sales from the exposed homes surpassed sales from the unexposed homes.

Tracey Scheppach, executive vice president of innovations at Starcom MediaVest Group, stated: “The study shows that cross-platform campaigns and measurement can be implemented at scale, and allow us unprecedented understanding of how multiple screens are working together.”

Audience-Based TV Is On The Horizon

Eicoff's Take: Addressable television will do nothing but increase the advantages of direct response television. A highly receptive/interested audience reduces the need for "clutter-busting" messaging and increases the value of information-heavy messaging.

In 10 years, TV will be bought through audiences, not ratings.  It’s an inevitable fact, but one that is only delayed because the infrastructure of TV runs at a snail’s pace.

There are billions of dollars running through TV advertising, but there are billions more to be made if the audience can be segmented and advertisers can pick and choose who sees their ads.  Its not a difficult concept – a TV can become addressable by recognizing the viewer and making a selection in the set-top-box.  The commercials loaded during the national or local pods can be targeted based on who is in the room.  There will still be some “waste” since more than one person is likely to be in the room, but by adding a simple addressable element to TV you could likely see an increase of 10-15% as a premium for pricing and that translates to hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. 

Of course for this to happen, the set-top-box needs to be updated and the system for queuing up and delivering commercials needs to be updated as well.  It could be as simple as ad-serving (which I admit may not be that simple for you or I, but is simple compared to much of the rest of the web) in that an ad would be matched to an audience and delivered.  There could still be a roadblock option whereby an advertiser could purchase an entire audience, but that could be offered at a discounted price, though still a higher out of pocket cost.  Networks could easily place minimum orders for audience segmentation, maintaining volume of advertisers and ensuring they’re not slicing up the audience too much.  It would also make it possible to institute a true exchange model for the spot market, potentially making it a more automated, higher margin portion of the business.  Automated system for buying TV can scale infinitely and it would even enable the networks and cable channels to package their online with their traditional TV into “surround” packages across devices and platforms.  Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

As a former buyer of both TV and online, I would applaud this kind of move.  The MSO’s are certainly interested in it as well, but it requires two things they don’t like; investment and standardization.  There would be an investment in the infrastructure required to make this work and there would be a need to standardize that infrastructure, which could make it easier for the viewers to switch cable companies.  The single largest challenge for the MSO’s is fighting churn and ensuring their customers don’t switch.  Each time the set-top-box needs to be changed is a chance for a switch to occur, so they try to limit the number of changes.

At some point the lure of money will overcome the fear of change though, and TV will become addressable.  My prediction is the catalyst for this change will occur sometime in the next 4 years and it will be triggered by a flat or decreased upfront.  As soon as TV advertising shows the sign of a revenue plateau, the powers that be will become interested in finding ways to make more money and audience buying could enable that.  TV is still the most powerful medium and I am confident in saying the Internet will not overcome that, but it’s only because within the next 10 years the line will blur between Internet and TV.  If both models are programmatic and addressable, then whom do you approach to purchase the media?  The networks may end up as the most powerful “network” of all.

Valeant leverages Rx sales force, YouTube for OTC brand

Acne Free

Valeant sales reps started doing something different in August. In addition to talking to dermatologists about prescription medications, they also started dropping off samples of the drug maker's OTC medication AcneFree, which joined the company's portfolio with the 2012 purchase of University Medical.

VP of Marketing John Reed said the brand's clean lines and use of white—AcneFree hallmarks—also give the product a clinical feel. He said reps will be bringing the kits to the offices of around 3,600 dermatologists.

The company is also supporting the professional pitch with a consumer strategy that includes circulars and in-store promotions, as well as with YouTube's TrueView ad feature, which debuted in 2010. TrueView is a double-targeted advertising approach in that user habits help determine which ads will be served up, and the site offers the chance to opt out of the ads.

If the viewer skips out, the advertiser pays nothing. If they watch it to the end, the advertiser pays. Reed said the AcneFree video, which uses creative from the Ogilvy Group A. Eicoff & Co., has a 15.9% watch rate, meaning one in every six people chooses to watch the spot.

This is not the first time AcneFree has used YouTube, but it is the first time the brand has paid to advertise on it. Reed said the brand was sold on the TrueView pay-only-when-watched feature because of the pay structure and the targeting, which he said “reveals the relevance of the product itself to the viewer.” Reed also noted that viewers who watch the ad tend to click through to seek out places to buy the product.

Google's research—Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006—indicates an added benefit: better brand recall when products are advertised on both YouTube and TV. Using one or the other has about an equal impact on consumer memory, but Google's number crunchers found that recall doubled when a brand ran both a 15-second YouTube spot and regular TV commercials.

Google National Industry Director of Healthcare Ryan Olohan said the ads resonate with direct and indirect consumers—for example, a mom may opt-in to view the AcneFree commercial as well as a teen. The company's stats also indicate visitors watch 6 billion hours of videos every month. “It's not just teenagers,” Olohan said, a truth Valeant's Reed said is reflected in the AcneFree data.

Olohan told MM&M that visitors who watch the TrueView ads are “raising their hand and saying, ‘I am suffering and want help.'” The appeal of the invested consumer is clear, but the feature and potential marketing impact is part of a larger YouTube transformation from what Olohan said was a place to watch “dogs on skateboards,” to becoming a tool users are using like a lifestyle search engine that goes beyond entertainment.

His evidence: 40,000 videos that feature diabetes-friendly recipes and an unbranded atrial-fibrillation video from 2012 that has been viewed more than 3 million times. The Afib video links the website 15everyhour.com, which is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, the National Stroke Association and the Heart Rhythm Society, among others.

Summer TV Ratings: Cable Kicking Butt

Eicoff's Take: When it comes to ratings, cable continues to impress. Great programming is drawing large, diverse audiences and making direct response TV campaigns thrive.

duck dynastyNEW YORK — With a new season of "Duck Dynasty" and the annual MTV Video Music Awards, two of the three most popular programs on television last week were on cable networks instead of broadcast.

The exception was the CBS miniseries "Under the Dome," which has led in the ratings for much of the summer.

The MTV awards show was clearly the most talked about program, with Miley Cyrus' risque dance routine setting social media records. The show was seen live on television Sunday by nearly 10.1 million people, sharply up from the 6.1 million viewers for last year's program.

The audience was bigger in 2010 and 2011 but slumped in the previous years, according to the Nielsen ratings company. For six years starting in 1999, the audience ranged from 9.8 million to just under 12 million.

In another sign of how the television business has changed, only eight of the 25 most popular shows last week were reruns, including NBC's weekly recap of the previous week's "America's Got Talent." In years past, there were fewer first-run shows during the dog days of summer.

CBS easily won the week in prime time, averaging 6.1 million viewers. NBC had 4.7 million viewers, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 3.2 million, Fox had 2.6 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 890,000.

USA was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.7 million viewers in prime time. The Disney Channel had 2.4 million, TNT had 2.24 million, ESPN had 2.16 million and History had 2.1 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.2 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was a close second with 7 million, and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.8 million viewers.

For the week of Aug. 19-25, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Under the Dome," CBS, 10.64 million; "Duck Dynasty," A&E, 10.07 million; "Video Music Awards," MTV, 10.066 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 9.35 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.67 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 8.52 million; NFL Exhibition: Minnesota vs. San Francisco, NBC, 8.18 million; "NCIS," CBS, 7.95 million; NFL Exhibition: Seattle vs. Green Bay, CBS, 7.68 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 7.38 million.

DRTV: Not Just For Shilling Anymore

fireballScene: A co-worker’s going-away lunch. A guy, I’ll call him Ned, is rounding up suckers, er…colleagues, to indulge in something called a “fireball” (one would think the name would be warning enough). Now, Ned can sell. It’s in his DNA. He coaxes and cajoles, entices, overcomes objections, etc., and the next thing I know, a Fireball is on its way down my gullet. It is the foulest thing I have ever imbibed. It ruins the rest of my day. I can’t get the taste out of my mouth. I want to punch him.

Stay with me here. My point is this: Direct response television (DRTV) advertising can sell, too. “Free!” “Limited Time Offer!” or a myriad of other phrases followed by exclamation points will make the phone ring or the website light up. No doubt about it. And if that’s all you’re looking to do, have at it. But, you’re probably not getting your money’s worth.

The scope of DRTV has expanded beyond the quick sale. Done right, even the hardest hitting DRTV commercial can create a connection with consumers — not just weasel a purchase out of an unwitting viewer. Which is why, more and more, you see DRTV campaigns from Fortune 500 companies using longer length commercials to inform, educate, demonstrate and sell using highly targeted ads that appeal to the right audience, at the right place and at the right time. DRTV can create loyal customers who might even tell their friends or post a positive review online. It can do more than generate a transaction. It can help build a brand.

So how do you take advantage of this new and improved approach to DRTV?  Three ways:

1. Treat viewers like educated consumers rather than gullible marks. Create a spot in which you sell via useful information and clearly articulated benefits rather than hype.

2. Build the brand into every creative decision. The actors, the production values and the script should all tell the brand story as well as sell the product.

3. Use the spot to create a long-term connection. Drive viewers to websites and social media, and add their names to the database.

Yes, like Ned, DRTV can sell like crazy. But, forget trying to simply shyster your way into a consumer’s heart because, much like the Fireball, it will undoubtedly leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Media Buying: As Easy As Pie?

Pie“As easy as pie?”

I've always wondered about the origin of this phrase, because pies aren't especially easy to make. The process is part science, part art -- not altogether different from media buying.

Did I just compare buying media to making a pie? Indeed I did.

Working for an ad agency that has been in the business for more than 50 years and coming from a long line of pie makers, I feel this is an analogy I am qualified to make.

For example, with a pie, you begin with a scientific formula (commonly known as a recipe). It tells you what ingredients to use and how much of each. It then provides a step-by-step set of instructions. If followed correctly, these instructions will yield a perfect (maybe even an award-winning) pie every time.

Of course, if you believe that, I have some prime TV time I’d like to sell you.

The truth is -- you might get a decent result by following a recipe “to the T,” but you’re not going to collect any major hardware at the National Pie Championships. Not by a Betty Crocker long shot.

Why? Because there’s another ingredient needed that you won’t find in any recipe: experience.

Anyone off the street can follow a recipe. But you simply cannot underestimate the experience of the person wearing the apron. The baker still has to use judgment about possibly adding more flour on humid days, letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for longer than the recipe requires (if it's not coming together well), or even knowing exactly when to take the finished pie out of the oven.

The same approach to pie making can be applied to the art of media buying. Start with a recipe – in this case it would ideally be a wealth of data from a very sophisticated database and buying system. Then apply a hefty amount of experience and good judgment.

Here is an example of how this media-buying recipe might work. Let’s say a client airs a direct response spot during the midday news and it doesn’t achieve the desired cost per response. Was it because it was a slow news day? Was it because Dr. Oz -- running at the same time on a different channel -- had a major celebrity as a guest and drew viewers away from the news? Or was this a sign of a downward trend, which should trigger a negotiation for lower rates with the station immediately?

It takes an experienced buyer to interpret data like this and ensure the final decisions will net in “pie in the sky” results. And the more experience a buyer has, the better his or her judgment will be. That experience can lead to knowing what’s wrong without spending hours or even days checking numerous data points. Intuition is a result of deep experience, and so she can intuit right away whether Dr. Oz is at fault or a downward trend is the culprit. Her hunches might not be 100% accurate, but they’re correct far more often than not.

Let me leave you with one last tip: if you want a flakier piecrust, science tells us that substituting some water with vodka really helps. And if you think you can achieve optimal media results without relying on experience and proper judgment, just like with baking a pie, you may also want to get your hands on some vodka. 

TV Ad Spend Up, National Radio Also Rises

Eicoff's Take: None of these figures are a surprise. We know from our own experience that Spanish-language TV is growing in importance and is representing a larger percentage of our client's advertising budgets because it works! We suspect that spot TV will rebound in 2014 due to midterm elections and the influx of insurers competing for the Affordable Care business.The fact that "television outgrew the market overall" is a testament to the fact that as much as technology changes and viewing options increase, television still attracts the largest and most loyal audience.


money arrowThanks to higher TV spending, total U.S. advertising expenditures perked up some in the second quarter from the same period a year ago.

The second quarter was up 3.5% to finish the period at $35.8 billion, with total spending over the last six months 2% higher -- reaching $68.9 billion. The second quarter of a year ago had a 0.9% rise.

“Ad spend has now increased for six consecutive quarters and in reaching 3.5% growth for Q2, had its best performance in a non-Olympic period since the end of 2010,” stated Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America.

Television outgrew the market overall, with 6.4% higher spending.

Cable TV spending remained the major portion of TV’s overall rise -- up 14.9%. Broadcast network TV spending was up 4.9%. Spanish-language TV spending improved 6.1% as a result of higher budgets from direct-response marketers, auto manufacturers and restaurants.

Spot TV expenditures sank 3.5% in the period -- mostly due to lower political ad spending, which regularly occurs in odd-numbered years. But taking out political spending, core spot TV spending was the same versus a year ago.

Outdoor ad spending grew 7.4%, while Internet display advertising gained 4.1%.

Newspaper media continued to decline. Local newspaper ad spending dropped 4.3% as a result of a decline in auto dealers, financial services and retailers spending. Consumer magazines were up 1.9% -- but with a lower number of ad pages sold. Sunday magazines witnessed spending up 4.1% but ad pages lower by 6.3%.

National radio grew 5.8% from telecommunications, restaurants and retail business. Local radio sank 1.6%.


How This Woman Is Making Tarn-X And CLR Interactive

Eicoff's Take: Great press for our long-time client Jelmar! Wonderful example of using non-traditional commercial lengths (two-minutes) to drive retail sales.

Alison Gutterman

Old and dull does not describe the maker of Tarn-X.

The metal tarnish cleaner, introduced 46 years ago by Skokie-based Jelmar, is the top brand in its category in the U.S. And CLR, the company’s 30-year-old calcium, lime and rust remover, also holds a top spot, according to IRI.

They are among two-dozen products sold by family-owned Jelmar, where President Alison Gutterman has zeroed in on marketing innovation and new product development to reach a new generation of customers since she took over six years ago.

“We’re focused on how we can create dynamic interchange between our consumers and our brands of products and making it more of an interaction versus us just pushing product at them,” says Gutterman, named 2013 Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners in Chicago.

Jelmar’s products clean household items from appliances to barbecue pits, patio furniture, showerheads, tile and stone.

A few years ago, the company put QR codes on all of its products for consumers with smartphones.

“Consumers, when they are at the shelf level, if they don’t understand how CLR works, they can scan the QR code and either watch a video, see frequently asked questions, see our television commercial,” Gutterman says.

Jelmar has also run campaigns on Ibotta, a smartphone app that allows consumers to get paid on PayPal for participating in brand marketing initiatives, and campaigns on Shopkick, an app that lets people earn points and redeem them for gifts.

Changing the company’s TV advertising has been another focus.

“We’ll show a variety of products that we manufacture in one 120-second commercial,” she says. “In the past, we tended to focus on one product, and now at the end of all of our commercials, we have a tagline to our website.”

And the company is now able to track where consumers are seeing its commercials, “so we’re able to allocate our money better,” Gutterman says.

Jelmar has focused on developing environmentally friendly products. Among such new products are CLR Mold & Stain, a bleach-free cleaner, and CLR Stain Magnet, an all-purpose, multisurface stain remover. The company has five products that carry the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment designation, Gutterman says.

Her efforts are paying off. Gutterman declined to share revenue details but says Jelmar has enjoyed consistent growth, even through the recession and as she launched a new division targeting industrial customers.


For entrepreneurs looking to stay relevant and competitive, Alison Gutterman advises:

Do
Listen to consumers. “You have to search out what consumers are looking for and not be afraid to deliver on what they want even if it’s different than what your premise was when you started your company,” she says.

Be slow to hire and fast to fire. “You can’t make a mistake because then you’re not going to have the people that are going to want to go out and search for new ideas and new avenues and ways to grow your company,” says Gutterman, who employs 14.

Don’t
Let concerns about return on investment freeze you. “A lot of these [new marketing] programs, the back end hasn’t been created for you to really understand how you’re going to get that return. But try it because if you wait until that’s figured out, you’re going to miss out on some of the things that are cutting edge.”

Neglect customer service. “It’s such a key driver of your business,” she says.


Seeking New TV Advertisers? Look High And Low -- Income-Wise

Eicoff's Take: Direct Response Television is no longer the medium of the middle of the night targeting an audience of insomniacs. Today it can be targeted effectively to audiences of all ages and income levels. This makes DRTV an enticing option for everything from video game subscriptions to hedge funds.

Looking for TV viewers with a net worth of $1 million or an annual individual income of $200,000? Rich people still watch TV, I hear. But on really, really big TV screens -- like the size of your floor-to-ceiling living room wall.

Companies that market financial hedge funds are now allowed to advertise on TV, targeting wealthy individuals -- especially men. Think financial news channels like CNBC and Fox Business, sports networks like ESPN, as well as news channels , and network evening news broadcasts.

This might not be the biggest boon for TV networks looking for new advertisers to force up TV program prices. But new categories are always welcomed – and not just financial advertisers. Some are predicting the Affordable Care Act will spur new and old health care insurance companies to start doing heavy TV advertising -- up to $1 billion worth. Some years ago, the more relaxed regulations concerning consumer pharmaceutical TV ads brought the promise of some $500 million in new advertising -- which wasn’t fully realized, according to some analysts.

New programmatic systems -- by way of Visible World -- for TV could be another way to get new advertisers to enter the TV world, especially those direct-response marketers more familiar with automated systems via the Internet.

This was the promise of Google TV Ads --an online marketplace to buy, sell and measure national cable TV advertising -- way back when.  It had a roster of cable TV networks, including fringe NBCUniversal cable channels, Hallmark Channel, Bloomberg TV, and others. The thinking was that it could bring new Internet-savvy marketers to the TV table. Problem was, it couldn’t get cautious TV networks to commit inventory at a specific price level. Google shuttered the unit last year.

It’s hard to find new TV niches. But with the growth of digital video, some new marketers may come out of the woodwork, landing first on digital platforms and perhaps moving to traditional TV.

Better still, some of those targeted customers may not all be making $200,000 plus.

 

Read original article here

Digital Set to Surpass TV in Time Spent with US Media

Eicoff's Take: TV is still strong. Digital activity is getting stronger. These changes are broadening the direct response television landscape and creating newer opportunities for DRTV media and direct response channels.

Mobile helps propel digital time spent

Average time spent with digital media per day will surpass TV viewing time for the first time this year, according to eMarketer’s latest estimate of media consumption among US adults.

The average adult will spend over 5 hours per day online, on nonvoice mobile activities or with other digital media this year, eMarketer estimates, compared to 4 hours and 31 minutes watching television. Daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media consumption will be up 15.8%.

The most significant growth area is on mobile. Adults will spend an average of 2 hours and 21 minutes per day on nonvoice mobile activities, including mobile internet usage on phones and tablets—longer than they will spend online on desktop and laptop computers, and nearly an hour more than they spent on mobile last year.

This is eMarketer’s first time breaking out time spent on tablets and smartphones. It’s also eMarketer’s first time creating an overall time spent with digital figure. Previously, online time (desktop, laptop) and mobile time (on feature phones, smartphones and tablets) were kept separate.

eMarketer’s estimates of time spent with media include all time spent within each medium, regardless of multitasking. Consumers who spend an hour watching TV while multitasking on tablet devices, for example, would be counted as spending an hour with TV and an additional hour on mobile. Such multitasking helps to contribute to the increase in the overall time people spend with media each day, which eMarketer expects to rise from 11 hours and 49 minutes in 2012 to 12 hours and 05 minutes this year.

Time spent with mobile has come to represent a little more than half of TV’s share of total media time, as well as nearly half of digital media time as a whole. The bulk of mobile time is spent on smartphones, at 1 hour and 7 minutes per day, but tablets are not far behind. Feature phones account for relatively little time spent on nonvoice mobile activities, since few have robust mobile internet capabilities.

To develop our time spent with media figures, eMarketer analyzed more than 400 datapoints collected from more than 40 research institutions. For example, to forecast time spent on desktop and laptop computers, eMarketer compiled and evaluated figures from audience measurement companies, industry associations, academic institutions, major online media platforms and other research firms—all of which were analyzed to account for discrepancies and convergence in definitions, methodology and historical accuracy.

As a percentage of time spent with all media, eMarketer’s estimate of adults’ average time with TV is roughly in line with other firms’ for this year. Temkin Group is at the low end of estimates among all adult consumers, while MAGNAGLOBAL and GfK figures are more in line with eMarketer’s. Estimates of TV time among internet users only are somewhat lower as a share of all media (with the exception of a USA Touchpoints datapoint), suggesting internet users may devote somewhat less time to TV compared to online media.

Nielsen reported that in Q4 2012, US consumers spent an average of 4 hours and 39 minutes per day watching live TV, and an additional 25 minutes with DVR playback and 11 minutes with DVD playback. That adds up to 5 hours and 15 minutes spent with TV under eMarketer’s definition—significantly higher than our figure. However, Nielsen measures all time a TV is turned on, not the amount of time viewers are actually engaging with the medium.

Chart 1

Research firms differ dramatically in their estimates of how much time US adults spend online on desktop and laptop computers, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total media time.

Chart 2

Time spent with mobile is also the subject of widespread disagreement. Estimates for 2012 usage ranged from just under an hour, averaged across all US adults, according to MAGNAGLOBAL (a figure that includes voice time, which other firms do not) to 2 hours, among the same population.

chart 3 

Research firms agree more closely on time spent with tablets—at least when measured among tablet users. eMarketer estimates tablet users spent nearly 2 hours per day with their devices in 2012; the ‎Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Pew Research had estimates within 10 minutes of that. Averaged across the larger population of US adults, the figure goes down significantly, and research firms that measured tablet usage among other groups that include many consumers who do not own a tablet also reported lower figures.

 chart 4

This article originally stated that US adults spent an average of 11 hours and 39 minutes with media each day in 2012, and would spend 11 hours and 52 minutes with media this year. The correct figures are 11 hours, 49 minutes and 12 hours, 5 minutes, respectively.


Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Digital-Set-Surpass-TV-Time-Spent-with-US-Media/1010096#qGGWJ3m6VyTkzMdA.99 

Internet Ad Spending Up Globally, But TV Still King

remoteEicoff’s Take: Numbers don’t lie. Television ad spending is up again and so is spending on direct response commercials. Recent industry analysis also showed a 99% increase in DRTV media spending over a five-year period.

Spending on online display advertising rose 26.3% globally in the first quarter from a year ago with strong gains, particularly in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Still, the Internet garnered just 4.4% of total ad spending in the quarter, according to Nielsen’s latest AdView Pulse report.

Television again claimed the lion’s share of ad dollars, with 59% -- up 3.5% overall despite a 2.9% dip in Europe. Spending on print advertising continued to erode, with budget allocated to newspapers and magazines down 4.7% and 2.8%, respectively, in the quarter. Together, however, those categories still hold 30% media share.

Other traditional ad segments also saw declines. Radio ad spending dipped 0.2%, and cinema 5.8%, although outdoor climbed 4.3% for a 3.3% share of overall spending.

“We see trends continuing in media, with less steep ad spend increases in TV and very slight declines in print, making way for growth in the digital space. Although these changes in traditional media are slight, it’s worth noting how the placement of ad dollars is shifting over time,” said Randall Beard, global head, advertiser solutions for Nielsen, in a Thursday blog post.

Internet display ad spending was up just 2.9% in North America -- but surged 48.2% in Latin America, and 35.2% in Asia-Pacific in the first quarter compared to the year-earlier period. The Interactive Advertising Bureau in June reported that overall U.S. Internet ad spending increased nearly 16% to $9.6 billion.

Nielsen says it bases its global ad estimates mainly on published rate cards. It also includes data from sources in individual countries, such as IBOPE in Argentina, Yacast in France and PARC (Pan Arab Research Center) in Saudi Arabia.

TV-Centric Apps On The Rise

tvapp imageEicoff's Take: DRTV is evolving, in more ways than one. As viewer habits shift from traditional television sets to TV-Content-related apps, direct response ads are becoming central. Whether they are seeking related information, playing games, or shopping for TV merchandise, TV-Content apps are delivering results. 

Not only is tablet ownership growing, but those using TV-centric apps are on the rise.

In the first quarter of 2013, 14% of tablet/smartphone users were found to use TV-content apps, with 75% of those users satisfied with that experience, per Parks Associates. The highest usage of TV apps comes with watching video related to those TV program/channel -- nearly 50% of those using TV apps.

Other activities in order of high usage include getting related information; checking times/dates of TV shows; playing games; reading comments from users about TV programming; the ability to make comments; and shopping for related TV merchandise.

Millennials have a higher interest in TV-specific apps than older consumer segments, says Parks Associates.

“The latest round of apps is from content providers, not satellite and cable-TV companies," said John Barrett, director, consumer analytics, Parks Associates. "They want to increase viewer loyalty to their shows and enhance the viewing experience with second-screen activities, and it is working, especially among Millennials. This 'second-screen' generation is accustomed to consuming content on multiple devices."

Estimates shows that U.S. tablet ownership is over 50 million with smartphone ownership at 125 million.

Recent research from the Pew Research Center says one-third (34%) of American adults ages 18 and older own a tablet computer like an iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus, or Kindle Fire -- almost twice as many as the 18% who owned a tablet a year ago.

Pew says smartphones are more popular with younger adults 18-34; with older adults 35-44, and those with higher income of $75,000 plus, the dominant group for tablet ownership.


DRTV and the “Rule of Reciprocation”

giftThe Agency Post – Now more than ever before, advertisers need to give if they want to get. For years, savvy direct response TV (DRTV) marketers have used free gifts and giveaways to improve program response. They close the deal when the viewer is on the cusp.

Unfortunately, some marketers view this tried-and-true tactic as passé — a gimmick that cynical viewers won’t respond to. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in a marketplace filled with parity products, advertising saturation and comparable pricing, premiums can provide a critical edge: With one included, the program pays out; Without one, it doesn’t.

Why is this?  Some may cite greed as the explanation, but I believe the truth is much more complex.

There is a great deal of research available today about what’s known as the Rule of Reciprocation. It is a basic human behavior taught in every culture around the world. In its simplest form, this rule tells us that we are not to take without giving something back in return.

For example, according to Arizona State University Professor of Psychology Robert Cialdini, if a restaurant server brings you a check and does not include a candy on the check tray, you will tip the server whatever it is that you feel the server deserves. But if there’s a mint on the tray, tips go up by more than 3 percent and two mints improve tips by 10 percent!

This experiment shows us there is something more to reciprocation — a powerful, learned behavior that compels recipients to give something back. It prompts them to respond in some way when they agree to accept something. And because of the rule of reciprocation, that simple gift to your customer can be leveraged to help drive a sale, which proves to be many times more valuable than the relatively small initial investment that premiums require.

The first step to capitalizing on the Rule of Reciprocation is to determine if a premium can be integrated effectively into a commercial. In some instances, it isn’t appropriate. For example:

You have a “hot” offer that will work on its own, you have a tight test budget and you want to wait until the test is effective before investing in a premium or no premium will work effectively with your particular offer. In addition, some offers involve legal and compliance issues that either prohibit gifts or set a limit on their values.

The majority of the time, however, a premium is a viable option. If it is, then here are three tips to increasing the efficacy of the Rule of Reciprocation:

• Dovetail the premium/gift with the offer. If you’re advertising an upscale product, for instance, you don’t want to offer a seemingly cheap premium. More than that, you want it to feel organic in relation to the offer. If your DRTV spot is for a high-ticket piece of exercise equipment, then a top-tier exercise mat might be a complimentary item.

• Position the premium as value-added. In other words, you want the commercial to create the perception that the item enhances the value of the advertised product or service. If you’re running a spot for a bicycle, the premium might be a chain-cleaning kit.

• Make a convincing pitch for the premium. In other words, don’t treat the gift as an afterthought. I’ve seen spots where the premium offer is made in a hurried way at the end of the spot. Creatively, it seems like a crass come-on more suitable to a carnival barker than a brand-conscious advertiser. Make sure you allocate enough time in the spot for the premium pitch and that you treat it with the same respect as you do the advertised offer.

Following this advice is relatively easy and inexpensive, and it can create the type of viewer reciprocity that advertisers dream about — the type where they feel compelled to respond with a click or a call.

 

Scott Ballew is a Management Supervisor at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Read original article here.


New Awareness Campaign Aims To Help Injured War Vets Regain Their Independence

Logo for Building for america's bravest

Building for America's Bravest gets vets off the wait list and into their Smart Homes

NEW YORK – July 2, 2013: A new campaign is launching this week, coinciding with Independence Day, to raise awareness of the Building for America’s Bravest program. Supported by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the Building for America’s Bravest program strives to empower catastrophically injured war veterans by providing them with custom-designed, specially-adapted Smart Homes. The goal of the awareness campaign is to get the quadruple amputees, triple amputees and other catastrophically injured service members off the wait list and into purpose-built, handicapped-accessible homes.

Frank Siller, Chairman of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and Building for America’s Bravest program, said: “When catastrophically injured war veterans return home, home is sadly no longer the same. They need custom facilities and Smart Homes in order for them to live an independent life. The problem is that there are still so many deserving veterans on the waiting list, which is why we are launching this campaign around Independence Day to raise awareness of the program. These war heroes gave their unconditional support to our country – now we need to help them regain their independence.”

The centerpiece of the awareness campaign is five television commercials, conceived by Chris Wall, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather North America, and directed by award-winning director, Joe Pytka.

The television spots are being aired via a measurable direct response TV campaign from A Eicoff & Company and supported by Public Service Announcements, both beginning w/c July 1. There is also a digital campaign (including online video and social media activation) and some direct response radio. The campaign is underpinned by a new landing destination that seamlessly integrates the imagery of the television commercials to the digital environment – OurBravest.org.

Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman & CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, remarked: “When Frank Siller approached me to get Ogilvy involved on a pro bono basis in Building for America’s Bravest, it was a no-brainer. I recruited a small band of volunteers to work some nights and weekends, with 100% of them agreeing on the spot to participate. When we met the vets, we were stunned by their bravery and optimism. Ogilvy is honored to be part of such a worthy cause.”

Speaking about the creative inspiration for the campaign, Chris Wall, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather North America, said: "The character, purpose and dignity of these men are just extraordinary. The usual problem in advertising is to make boring things emotional or complicated things simple.  This is the opposite. From the start our feeling was: just tell the story. No tricks, gimmicks or shenanigans."  

The Building for America’s Bravest program builds homes that are designed to provide maximum accessibility and independence for catastrophically injured veterans and their families. Each home is custom designed to address the unique needs of each individual. Energy efficient, automated and easily accessible—these Smart Homes use “adaptive technology” to help our most severely injured heroes live better, more independent lives. Smart Homes host a myriad of features such as automated doors and lighting, wider doors and special showers to accommodate wheelchairs, cabinets and counters that can be raised and lowered and central heating and air condition systems that can be controlled by a tablet or smart phone.

Building for America’s Bravest has identified more than 400 catastrophically injured veterans who qualify for the program. By the end of 2013 Building for America’s Bravest has a goal to deliver or begin construction on 23 new homes in 17 states. Veterans from all branches (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, & Air Force) have received homes through the Building for America’s Bravest program.

The Building for America’s Bravest program is also supported by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation 5K Run/Walk Series (T2Trun.org). The Tunnel To Towers Run first began in 2002 as a memorial to FDNY hero and father of five, Stephen Siller.  On September 11, 2001, Stephen was on his way home from the night shift to play golf with his three older brothers. When he heard on his scanner what had happened at the World Trade Center, brave Stephen strapped on 60 lbs. of firefighter gear, rushed on foot through gridlocked traffic and ran from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center site. Stephen was last seen with his brothers of Squad 1, all of whom died saving others. In honor of Stephen and all those that lost their lives on September 11th and while serving our country, the Tunnel To Towers Run program champions our heroes “in the line of duty” - the first responders and United State military, ensuring that together “We Will Never Forget.”

 

- Ends -

 

For more information on Building for America’s Bravest, please visit OurBravest.org

Issued by: The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation & Ogilvy

For more information, contact: Mish Fletcher, Ogilvy

mish.fletcher@ogilvy.com

917 691 3804

 

About Tunnel To Towers Foundation: 

The Tunnel To Towers Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing services for our most seriously injured first responders & military heroes through the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run & Walk Series and the Building for America’s Bravest program. @Tunnel2Towers

 

About Ogilvy & Mather

Ogilvy & Mather is one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world. It was named Cannes Lions Network of the Year and the World's Most Effective Agency Network by the Effie Effectiveness Index for two consecutive years, 2012 and 2013. The company is comprised of industry leading units in all of the following disciplines: advertising; public relations and public affairs; branding and identity; shopper and retail marketing; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion and relationship marketing; consulting, research and analytics capabilities; branded content and entertainment; and specialist communications. O&M services Fortune Global 500 companies as well as local businesses through its network of more than 450 offices in 120 countries. It is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY). For more information, visit www.ogilvy.com, or follow us on Twitter at @Ogilvy and on Facebook.com/Ogilvy.

Cord-Cutting Continues, Broadcast-Only TV Homes Increase

by Wayne Friedman

kids watching tvEicoff’s Take: Cord-cutting continues, but TV-watching isn’t going anywhere. People are simply discovering other ways to watch TV – via broadcast, Internet-connected TVs, or the next big thing. Wherever your favorite programs are delivered, media space for brand and direct response commercials will be carved out to pay for those programs. That’s why DRTV will always be a big part of TV.  

MediaPost – A new study says broadcast-only TV homes are continuing to increase.

This year, 19.3% of U.S. TV homes -- 22 million homes -- will be broadcast-only and not subscribing to any pay TV service. A year ago, some 20.7 million-plus homes were broadcast-only, per researcher GfK.

The research company says this would be nearly a 40% rise from three years ago, when 14% of TV homes were paying for TV via cable, telco, or satellite TV distributors.

The report said the No. 1 reason was financial; 60% of those who cancelled their pay TV service cited cost-cutting as the reason. More online video viewing and Internet-connected TV options may have boosted cord-cutting.

Other reasons for cord-cutting, according to CouponCabin, include not watching enough TV (27%); alternative ways of watching live TV (17%); and watching few TV channels (17%).

Looking at ethnicity, African-American and Hispanic-American TV homes have been climbing among overall broadcast-only households, while Asian-American TV homes are going in the other direction, according to the report.  

Some 23% of Asian-American homes are broadcast-only, down from 30% three years ago. African-American TV homes have jumped to 22% from 12%; Hispanic-American TV homes are up to 25% from 23%.

Read original article here

5 Things That Aren’t Dead in Media

Television setEicoff's Take: Smart digital strategies aren't bypassing TV ads, they're leveraging them. Short-form DRTV spots, one- and two-minute commercials, are serving the digital age well. DRTV media enables brands to tell longer stories, and draws viewers online to find out more and take advantage of exclusive offers.

by Jack Marshall

Digiday- The digital media industry is so fixated with the next big thing that it sometimes loses sight of the realities of the here and now. The fact is, new forms of media rarely replace the old. With that in mind, here are five things that — despite the claims of some — are alive and well in the world of media and marketing.

TV ads
“We’re looking at the death of the ‘TV-comes-first’ model, definitely.”
– Lee Daley, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi UK, 2005

The theory makes sense: As consumers gain access to on-demand video content across digital devices, their TV consumption diminishes and advertiser investment follows suit. But in practice, that’s not the case. eMarketer estimates U.S. TV ad spending will will grow every year from 2011 through 2017. According to Kantar Media data, U.S. network TV ad spending grew 9 percent in 2012, and cable TV spend by 3 percent. Its growth might be slowing, but TV advertising isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It still comes first.

Banner ads
“I guarantee you by the year 2000 Internet banner ads will be gone.”
– Seth Godin, 1996

For the moment, the potential of “native” formats is stifled by things like scale limitations and costly production fees. For marketers looking to reach scale audiences efficiently, the lowly banner ad is often still the best option, particularly for those focused on direct response. According to Comscore, more than 5.3 trillion display ads were served to U.S. users last year, up from 4 trillion in 2009. Despite what some in the industry might hope, that number will grow further in 2013 as advertisers continue to find better ways to target and track their ads. Consumers, publishers and even advertisers might not like banner ads, but they remain the lifeblood of the digital media industry.

Email marketing
“Email is dead. … Young people no longer use email.”
– Mark Zuckerburg, CEO, Facebook, 2012.

Reports of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It’s been predicted for years, and the rise of social has only helped fuel assumptions around its use and effectiveness for marketers, but the fact of the matter is it’s still a staple for the vast majority of major brands and retailers. There’s a reason even social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn regularly email their users with updates. It’s because everyone checks their email regularly, and it still drives action. Yes, things like open-rates and click-throughs might be diminishing, but email still works, and it works well. For the foreseeable future, email is here to stay.

Search
“Google search is dying.”
– Stafford Masie, former head of Google South Africa, 2012.

The rise of social had many predicting that search would begin fall by the wayside. It hasn’t, and it won’t. Yes, users are discovering more content through social media channels and aggregation services, but for on-demand information, search is still king. For marketers, search also has one extremely important asset that social doesn’t: intent. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter might be able to infer interests and tastes from demographic and behavioral information, but those signals are nowhere near as strong as search keywords,

Interruptive Advertising
“Marketing in the future is like sex. Only the losers will have to pay for it.”
– Jon Bond, cofounder of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, 2010.

The rise of “content marketing” has led some to profess that paid advertising as we know it will soon be a thing of the past. Marketers trying to “hijack” consumers’ attention with interruptive advertising will find themselves ignored or avoided, according to some, as consumers expect brands to provide them with utility or entertainment instead. There’s some truth to that. Brands like RedBull do a great job of creating content that doubles as marketing, particularly online. But even RedBull advertises, and it’ll continue to do so. There’s no denying that the concept of brands as publishers is an important industry trend, but the notion that major global brands can rely exclusively on content to help them shift their products is erroneous.

Read original article here.

Bill McCabe interviewed on CEO IntroNet

CEO IntroNet, an online TV show that provides interviews with CEOs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Managing Partners and other chief decision makers across geographical and industry boundaries, interviews A. Eicoff & Co. CEO, Bill McCabe on the company's unique approach to ROI and the unique value it provides clients. The interview touches on the future of DRTV and the advertising industry as a whole as marketers work to combine traditional and new approaches. 

"As companies become much more ROI-driven, Eicoff has been fortunate in that our philosophies and strategies fit their needs, because everything that we do via television is ROI-based."

 

Transcript of interview:

Welcome Bill,  you are President and CEO of A. Eicoff & Company. Tell us about your company and what it does.

Well, we are an Ad Agency based here in Chicago. Our focus as a company is working with companies that want to use television primarily as a way to generate direct sales. At the end of the day our focus is driving immediate measurable results for our clients. As companies become much more ROI-driven, we’ve been fortunate in that our philosophies and strategies fit their needs because everything we do via television is ROI-based. Whether we are doing thirty second commercials or sixty second commercials or two-minute commercials clients find that the ROI-based strategies we use are valuable to them.

 

Excellent. You are the third president at the Agency. What has changed since you’ve taken over?

I think frankly quite a bit. Technology has benefited what we do specifically and ultimately what our clients do. Technology via, obviously the digital space, the ability to greatly improve the analytics of what we do, and the fact that CMOs who are our primary clients are really now coming from a digital background and expect and ROI-based strategy. That’s essentially what we do, so good fit.


Chicago has a lot of different creative agencies and, obviously, your company is one of the top. Tell us how you keep the competitive edge?

Well, I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had great mentors who really have come from an entrepreneurial background. As entrepreneurs you have to continue to test new things and sometimes you fail, but you can’t be afraid to fail. I think between the ability to keep testing new things and breaking new ground, but also the ability to keep and grow good people. Our business model is about having really good people that are very good at what they do. We’ve been fortunate that, for whatever reason, what we do we’ve been able to keep and grow great talent. So we are fortunate in that.

 

Excellent. What's next for A. Eicoff & Company?

Well, I think as the digital space continues to grow, we just think it’s a natural evolution that what we do is going to apply more and more the digital space. What’s exciting for us is that the content we create for our clients naturally extends to the digital space.

 

What are some of the most pivotal moments in your career personally that’s led you to this roll?

Well again, I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors and people that have really instilled in me the ability to look both short term and long term and that it’s not all about trying to make a quick sale, it’s also about looking longterm and seeing what those implications are. Both from a business standpoint as well from a team standpoint in how we look at our business.

 

Bill thank you so much for being with us here today. I wish you continued success.

Thank you.

CPG and Retail Companies to Sell Products More Directly to Consumers in 2013

As CPG and retail companies begin selling directly to consumers, DRTV can play a critical role their success. Short-form, direct response television, used in conjunction with digital initiatives, gives brands an innovative way to engage customers with longer stories, and generate trial with special offers. PwC-US explains why below. 


CPG and Retail Companies to Sell Products More Directly to Consumers in 2013

By: PwC-US

Retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies today continue to deal with new rules of consumer engagement as they seize opportunities from advanced technology and the digitally connected consumer, according to the 2013 Financial Performance Report by the Grocery Manufacturers Association(GMA) and PwC US.

“This report shows that in the midst of a challenging economy, the food, beverage and consumer products industry continues to show great resiliency,” said Pamela G. Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “By providing consumers with innovative products and convenient, cutting-edge shopping experiences, CPG companies are well positioned to enhance consumer loyalty and profitability.”

Despite the overall slow-down of net sales growth rates in 2012, the “Growth Strategies: Unlocking the Power of the Consumer” report showed that food & beverage (F&B) and household products companies experienced positive net sales growth of seven percent, five and a half percent and just over three percent, respectively.

According to the report, in the time of the digital consumer, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and retailers benefit from responding to the speed of the connected consumer and balancing operational quality with innovation accordingly. Top-performing companies see success by identifying their consumers; engaging with them; and focusing on innovation that directly reach their customers. The report explores how numerous digital channels, accelerated mobile adoption and direct-to-consumer approach continue to rewrite the rules of retailing and CPG manufacturing. The report also examines how companies can seize new opportunities by creating lasting brand value.

“CPG companies that engage with consumers directly through digital channels and build out their direct-to-consumer processes will have the best advantage for creating new growth,” said Steven Barr, U.S. Leader of Retail and Consumer Industry for PwC. “52 percent of U.S. consumers are already buying directly online from brands they trust, proving that CPG companies now have far greater opportunities to walk alongside their shoppers in real time while driving sales of existing and new products.”

In 2013, more than 40 percent of CPG companies expect to sell products directly to consumers, up from 24 percent in 2012. According to the report, direct-to-consumer is a potent vehicle to test new products and reach out to new consumers faster and more effectively than ever before to make the retail store aisle no longer the last mile in the purchase journey. Flexibility will be essential, as companies will also need to manage a new set of risks and security concerns.

“Consumers today share much more readily with each other and with the companies than in the past,” said  Bert Alfonso, President, International, for The Hershey Co. “Their input tends to be about your product’s characteristics and about what they like and don’t like. We see it in North America, China, Brazil and in other markets that have a high penetration of both mobile and Internet usage. And that’s a rich body of information for companies, which is much more spontaneous and actionable than what you would have had in the past.”

Additional key findings of the report confirm that:

• Total retail sales reached $1.1 trillion in 2012: $568 billion at grocery stores and $530 billion at food service and drinking establishments

• While net sales had slowly increased since the recession, both top- and bottom-performing CPG companies experienced a slowdown in net sales growth in 2012

• Bottom performers hold onto their cash more, which means they could be ready to make more investments in research and development (R&D) and marketing to launch new products

• Many companies embrace the need for product innovation; and understand consumer and market needs as part of their R&D activities

• One of the key issues faced by food manufacturers during 2012 was the continued rise of commodity prices as there is a growing gap between prices companies pay for raw materials and the prices they can charge for finished goods

• The food sector benefited from higher sales per employee but remained flat on inventory turnover and cash conversion cycle; while the beverage sector also posted a strong performance, with return on sales continuing a steady upward pace. The household products sector experienced better results in 2012, with also a greater increase on return on sales

“Both the U.S. and global economies are marginally stronger than they were last year, and the continued slow recovery has led to correspondingly modest growth for the CPG industry,” added Lisa Feigen Dugal, Advisory Leader, Retail and Consumer Industry, PwC North America. “To drive profitability, providing consumers with the core product may not be enough. Today’s consumers want solutions, they want experiences and value. CPG’s and retailers can address this emergence through social media, innovation and direct-to-consumer channels, which will help them understand the wants, needs and values of their consumers.”

Now in its 17th year, the GMA-PwC Financial Performance Report includes analyses based on public information from 144 companies in the food, beverage and consumer products sectors as well as 69 retailers. The report further highlights best-practices for developing loyalists; determining appropriate social media channels that align with business goals; along with successfully identifying target segments within their organization. The report includes recommendations on how companies can improve existing internal organizational design, talent management and how to best utilize partnerships to build quality relationships with consumers.

Download full report here.

Read original article here.

Rentrak Moves into RTB Metrics for TV

LevikBy David Goetzi

MediaPost – Rentrak is moving into the real-time bidding (RTB) arena for TV. The company said it signed a deal Thursday with an undisclosed “major player” to measure traded inventory.

CEO Bill Livek did not provide further information on an earnings call, except to say it will “power their audience-based selling efforts and their platform.”

In the January-March quarter, Rentrak reported 60% growth to $5.2 million. Livek did indicate that the business experienced some slowness as the local station business undergoes consolidation.

The measurement company lowered guidance for fiscal 2014 for its TV business to 80% growth from 100%, although it expressed bullishness.

Separately, as cross-platform measurement becomes increasingly important, Rentrak expanded its arrangement with cable operator Cox to measure video-on-demand viewing on iPads.

In China, Rentrak continues to invest in a joint venture where it is collecting data from set-top boxes and beginning to sell it. Livek said the company believes it “will pay off handsomely over the long run.”

Overall, Rentrak -- which has a box-office measurement business -- reported revenue growth of 16% to $28.5 million in the quarter ended in March. It posted a loss of $2 million, down from $4.6 million, although it was less if costs related to a deal with Dish Network and other expenses were excluded.

Read original article here.

Are You Ready For The Dual-Screen Future?

by Albert Lai

MediaPost – Dual-screen experiences are about to transform the way people interact with video and the way publishers, broadcasters and advertisers capture and engage their attention. We’ll see handheld devices and big-screen TVs working together to create exciting possibilities for entertainment, game play, social interaction, marketing, and commerce.

The trend is already underway. According to Nielsen, more than 39% of Americans use their smartphone while watching TV at least once each day, and 62% do so multiple times each week.

But are advertisers ready to capitalize on the revenue potential that dual screen will bring?

For marketers, dual-screen advertising opens the door to creative that is more intriguing for viewers, as well as more effective in driving specific types of conversions. For example:

• A national auto ad runs on the TV screen while the handheld device simultaneously shows a geo-targeted companion ad with local dealer information and a build-your-own-car app.

• A TV ad for the latest blockbuster franchise movie presents an interactive quiz on earlier films in the series. Viewers use their tablets to respond, viewing crowd-based results in real time.

• Instantaneous cohort-based surveys delivered through the handheld gauge the effectiveness of a consumer packaged goods brand’s TV ad, rewarding participants with special offers.

For publishers and broadcasters, experiences like these add freshness and interactivity to their properties. They can boost TV ratings and ad revenue, as viewers that might have defected to online and mobile video return to take advantage of the new dual-screen experiences.

The greatest technical challenge will be the definition of standards. Industry leaders are already working on standards for broader compatibility across platforms, so expect dual screen apps to become more popular over the next 12 to 24 months.

Another key element is the ability to sync content between the TV and handheld. One approach is through audio fingerprinting: the microphone on the handheld listens to the TV to identify the content and its timing.

This can work, but doesn’t serve as a long-term solution. A more robust model will deliver information to a handheld app about the TV content available, use viewer data and input from the handheld to drive targeting and content selection, and serve the corresponding video and other content back to the TV seamlessly.

Advertising technology, digital video and rich media ad creative, and IAB ad standards continue to be based entirely on a single-screen metaphor. As programmers and multiservice operators look to monetize the full real-estate inventory afforded by dual-screen viewing, a new standard is necessary to help accelerate adoption of new formats. While experimentation has a valuable role to play, it’s incumbent on groups like the IAB to see that standards do emerge to prevent ongoing splintering of formats, sizes, and server technologies.

For dual-screen advertising to pay off, it needs to reach a critical mass of consumers, which will be challenging early on. Until dual-screen experiences become the norm, we’ll be dependent on a small but growing number of innovators to go first, do the work to deliver these experiences, and prove their effectiveness and ROI to the industry.

The dual-screen future is an exciting prospect, but be ready for the opportunities it presents. Think about what it’ll mean for your business in terms of content, process, and technology. More interactive and engaging ads will drive better results for the brand and publisher alike.

Read original article here

Mother Knows Best: TV Still Dominates Online In Senior Market

Senior Couple Watching TVMediaPost – Marketers see digital as the Holy Grail these days -- a better way to reach the 65+ market than that old-fashioned contraption, the television.

My Mom begs to differ.

She loves to watch television. And, although I’m in media, she thinks every DRTV spot we place was written, shot and produced by me. “I saw ‘your spot’,” she says.

So there you have it…proof positive that TV is the right place for advertisers to be.

Okay, so while my mother’s TV watching habits may not be indicative of the behavior of the entire senior market, there are other facts that support this notion.

A recent eMarketer report, “Seniors Still Lukewarm on Web Activity,” highlights that TV is still the medium that matters most, stating: “Marketers regard the 65-and-older population as a sleeping giant when it comes to digital usage. And for now, at least, the giant still mostly dozes. For media usage, TV is still the medium that matters most for seniors, far more so than for younger generations.”

Sure -- seniors are active, engaged and use the Internet. But according to the report, although many of them have mobile phones, comparatively few have smartphones. Ditto their involvement with social media.

Yet in the fourth quarter of 2012, seniors averaged almost 221 hours per month watching traditional TV -- approximately 40 percent more than the total population average.

According to SpotGenie Partners, TV will continue to dominate the senior-focused advertising media mix for years to come, saying: “Television and television advertising are not only surviving in the new media age, they are thriving.”

And the cherry on top? Growth in online ad spending won’t come at the expense of television. “In fact,” the report explains, “TV is the one medium that complements social media. It impresses and motivates its audience and ensures brand recall. TV remains the medium of choice to influence consumers and drive purchasing decisions.”

I love good quotes -- almost as much as I love my Mom.

So what is the lesson here? The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of percent of population in the U.S. And this age group continues to grow. More people were 65 years of age and over in 2010 than in any previous census.

And what is the most advantageous way to sell to this large, TV-watching audience? Producing ads that motivate, tell a story and prompt a response. Two-minute spots are an ideal way to build your brand and explain or demonstrate your product or service. Seniors insist on a great deal of information before they make a decision. Longer, direct-response spots provide the time they require to get to know a brand and determine if it’s right for them.

Coupled with this approach, is the ability to buy the right stations at the right times. A spot targeted to the right people is an ideal, cost-effective formula for generating interest and response.

Our world today is dominated by people 65 and older. And they are watching TV -- lots of it. An advertiser's dream…if approached with the right strategies for reaching and influencing this important buying audience.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my Mom is calling. She wants to know more about one of the commercials that I wrote, shot and produced.

C’mon -- if she wants to think that, who am I to argue?

Francie Gordon is Senior Vice President, Media at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Read original article here

Top 7 Reasons Why July Is the Perfect Time for DRTV

by Tara Anbudaiyan

tv fireworksDirect Marketing News – The month of July is fast approaching, which means it's mid-year for your annual media efforts. While summertime isn't always viewed as the most advantageous from a television advertising perspective, you may want to rethink your strategy. Starting July with a bang can help make the second-half the strongest part of your year, particularly if your strategy takes advantage of the benefits DRTV offers in July. Here are the top seven reasons why:

1. Rates are down.

The second quarter of the calendar year is typically an expensive quarter for media rates, so many advertisers come out of sweeps having spent most of their media budget. This, and the general lack of summer holiday ad blitzes, has led media operations to lower their rates in July.

2. More ad space is available.

Another side effect of the competition's busted budget is more available ad space. More space means you can create a more robust media plan. This added frequency gives you more bang for your buck, making it perfect for product launches and new brand initiatives.

3. Viewership shifts to more affordable stations.

Summer is when many of the big network shows go on vacation but when it's also when DRTV does best via affiliates and cable channels. During the summer months, viewers gravitate to the off-season replacement shows and original programming that run on these stations. Capitalizing on this shift allows your DRTV spot to get premium attention without paying network rates.

4. Your products may be seasonal.

Summer living comes with opportunities. Your product may have new relevancy in the warmer months or as viewer habits change. School is out and children's stations are at their peak at this time, which means the summer break is a great time to target parents with family-focused products.

5. Response is up.

Much of the programming in summer months falls into a category we like to call “low involvement.” During this passive viewing, consumers are more open to engaging with DRTV's active messaging, and thus to respond.

6. It's time for your mid-year checkup.

DRTV best practices involve constant testing on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Mid-year is ripe for evaluating your campaign's performance-to-date and identifying any necessary adjustments. For a 360 degree evaluation, bring in all the key players in media, creative and telemarketing. You'll be surprised what they have to say to each other.

Here are some key questions to ask:

Telemarketing: After listening into a few calls, what questions/concerns are consumers expressing? Are the leads from your creative aptly qualified? Can these insights help drive changes to the script?

Creative: How is your control creative performing? Does any of the current messaging need to be adjusted? What is the competition doing?

Media: Are there any overages or shortages in the budget? Is the current mix and frequency working? What is the true ROI for your DRTV campaign so far? If you're only tracking calls/leads, how does conversion look down the funnel to sales?

7. There's still half the year left.

Among the many strengths of DRTV are its flexibility and quick reaction time. Using your mid-year checkup as a roadmap now can be the best time to consider producing new creative, adjusting the existing creative or media plan, and laying the strategic groundwork for Q3/Q4 and beyond.

DRTV is anything but lazy in the lazy days of summer. Making the right media moves in July can boost your media dollar and your overall campaign effectiveness.

Tara Anbudaiyan is an Account Supervisor at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Read original article here.

Global TV Ad Growth Forecast At 3% In 2013, 6% Next Year

by Wayne Friedman

dollar arrow upMediaPost – The global advertising market will continue to grow modestly at low single-digit increases through the end of the year --  but will spike up to a 6% growth rate next year.

Magna Global’s latest advertising forecast will get to $486 billion with 3% growth for 2013 -- a slowdown from the 3.9% growth of a year ago. Still, the media agency group unit says the market will show double the growth levels next year -- 6.1%, to reach $515 billion.

Magna says its latest estimate of a 3% growth rate for this year is down from a 3.1% earlier projection. Its new 2014 estimate of 3.9% is up from an earlier 3.8% number.

Key growth regions will include Latin America -- up 12.5% for 2013, and for Asia-Pacific countries (APAC), 5.9% higher -- growing to 12.9% for Latin America and 7.4% for APAC regions next year.

The biggest market -- the U.S. -- will only inch up 0.7% in 2013 to hit $155 billion, but will grow 5.9% next year to reach $164 billion. (Magna had previously forecast a 5.4% hike for 2014).

U.S. television advertising will sink 2.8% in 2013 -- with broadcast TV 6.8% lower. Cable TV will gain 2.4%. Magna says digital media will be the only media category to show significant growth in 2013 -- 11.5%. U.S. mobile advertising will continue to see major growth -- 61.7% to $5.4 billion. U.S. print advertising revenues will see a 6.7% drop for magazines and a 6.8% decline for newspapers. Radio will see flat revenues, with out-of-home advertising up 3.5%.

Western European markets will see advertising revenues decline by 1.6% in 2013, with Central and Eastern Europe growing by an average 7.6%. Magna says Western Europe -- plagued by economic difficulties -- will stabilize in 2014.

Overall ad revenue from Europe, Middle East, and Africa countries (EMEA) will rise 3.3% in 2014.

The second-biggest country -- Japan -- will get to $51.7 billion in 2013 and $53.2 billion in 2014. China, in third place, will total $42.8 billion this year and $48.0 billion next year.

Worldwide digital media will continue to be a major part of overall advertising growth -- up 13.4% to $113.6 billion in 2013. Also for this year, digital search will climb 14.6% to $52 billion; digital video will rise 21% to $6.6 billion; mobile advertising will be 54% higher to $12 billion; and social media will rocket up 39.6% to reach $8.2 billion.

Due to the absence of big TV events, global television advertising growth will slow down this year -- up just 2% to $196.5 billion. TV still holds a leading 40% market share of all media advertising dollars. Print advertising will drop in revenues this year -- newspapers will be 3.3% lower and magazines will have a 5.1% decline to a collective $110 billion. Radio advertising will inch up 1.1% to $32.5 billion and out-of-home media will add 2.9% to reach $32.6 billion.

Magna says automated “programmatic” buying -- which already represents 17% of online display transactions in the U.S. --  now at $2.4 billion -- expects the business to increase to 48% of online revenues by 2017. Other markets show programmatic buying having a 30% share of all online display business.

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Worldwide Pay TV Enjoys 5% Growth

by Wayne Friedman

MediaPost – Worldwide pay TV homes continue to see steady growth -- rising 5% by the end of this year.

Global pay TV homes will get to 814 million households by the end of year, up from 772 million in 2012, Digital TV Research says.

In five years, pay TV homes will climb 23%, getting to 1 billion TV homes, with the Asia-Pacific countries taking a commanding 59% share to reach 587 million pay TV homes.

China will be the top country -- 313 million by end of 2018. India will be next at 158 million, followed by the U.S. at 107 million. These countries will account for 58% of worldwide pay TV households by 2018.

Still, pay TV subscribing homes -- for both analog and digital homes -- will reach 55.7% of all worldwide TV homes by the end of this year, a slight improvement over the 53.6% of homes by the end of 2012. In five years, the pay TV share of the overall TV market is expected to climb to 63.1%.

Among all global regions, the highest pay-TV penetration will continue to be in North America at 86%. The lowest levels will be in the Mideast and Africa at 29%.

Looking at specific countries, pay TV penetration remains highest in the Netherlands, which will be at a 99.5% share by the end of 2018.

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The Whole Story - "On The Go" Video On Rise

by Mike Bloxham

on the go videoMediaPost – How much of the video content we see in the average week is consumed out of home – or on the go?

As our lives have become more complex and fast-paced, and the number of media devices available to us has increased, so has the range of content available through them.

Whether it’s the ubiquitous TV in the sports bar, the mobile phone, tablet or screens in retail venues, elevators, gyms and taxi cabs, the proliferation of screens amounts to one certainly — an increase in the availability of video content wherever we are.

This USA TouchPoints analysis sought to identify just how much of our total video exposure in an average week takes place “On the Go?” across any and all locations outside of the home. The results form part of a broader presentation to be given at next week’s Advertising Research Foundation Audience Measurement 8.0 by my colleague Kevin Moeller, along with Cynthia Machata of Spafax and Paul Lindstrom of Nielsen. They will address the creation of a marketplace ecosystem for planning and buying out of home video.

We looked at USA TouchPoints data gathered over three waves from August 2011 through January 2013 and focused on Millennials, Moms, 45-64 year olds and the broader 18-64 demographic.

• Although the overall trend across all four groups indicates an increase in the amount of On the Go video over time, the extent of the increase appeared to be markedly different across the groups analyzed.

• While the total adults 18-64 showed only an increase from 10% to 11% during the period in question, and the 45-64s remained flat, both the Millennials and the Moms told a very different story, each showing an increase from 12% to 17% and 8% to 14%, respectively.

• The difference between Millennials and Moms and the other groups could be driven as much by broader behavioral issues as by media use itself.  Previous analyses have shown Millennials place a high premium on socializing; they are sophisticated and relatively proficient users of media. These two things in themselves could combine to drive On the Go video consumption above the norm.

• As for Moms, we know that whether they are working mothers or not, they spend a significant amount of their time out of the home running errands, ferrying kids around and — when they get the chance — socializing. This may also account, at least to some extent, which On the Go video they consume.

• It is safe to assume that the percentage of total video consumed in an average week taking place outside the home will continue to increase over time. Screens continue to proliferate in different locations in our daily lives, while the amount of video we consume via mobile devices continues to grow. Time will tell how quickly that growth will occur, and where it may naturally level off.

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Sooner Than Expected, CBS Largely Finishes Upfront Sales

by Stuart Elliott

cbs logo

The New York Times – A second big English-language broadcast television network, CBS, has just about wrapped up its sales of commercial time ahead of the 2013-14 season in what is known as the upfront market.

Word that CBS, part of the CBS Corporation, was finishing up came on Friday afternoon, a week after a network spokesman described the network as “in active negotiations” with advertisers and agencies.

Late on Wednesday, CW, which is owned by the CBS Corporation and Time Warner, became the first major English-language broadcaster to cross the upfront finish line.

The upfront market is called that because the sales take place before the start of the coming season. Industry analysts are predicting that the five big broadcasters — ABC, CBS, CW, Fox Broadcasting and NBC — will struggle to match the estimated $9.2 billion worth of commercial time they sold last spring in the 2012-13 upfront market.

The analysts cite factors like ratings erosion, the bumpy economy and intensifying competition from rivals like cable television and online video.

That CBS is concluding its upfront sales is a bit unexpected because some Web sites of trade publications reported on Thursday and Friday that the 2013-14 upfront market had turned sluggish, slowed or was even approaching an impasse. (Indeed, if this article were to have run decades ago in, say, Variety, it might have carried a headline like “Eye Surprise,” after the CBS logo.)

The rates CBS is charging advertisers for the 2013-14 season — known as c.p.m.'s, for the cost to reach each 1,000 viewers, a standard measurement in the television business — are estimated to be increasing by an average of 7.5 percent. By contrast, in the upfront market last year, estimates were that CBS was able to raise c.p.m.'s an average of 8 to 9 percent.

Analysts also predicted that c.p.m. increases would probably be lower during the 2013-14 upfront market than they were in the 2012-13 upfront market.

Before the current upfront market began, Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive of the CBS Corporation, said he was anticipating that CBS would obtain c.p.m. percentage increases in the high-single-digit to low-double-digit range when compared with last year. Seven and a half percent does qualify as a high-single-digit gain.

Turning to the volume of commercial time sold, estimates are that the CBS total will be about $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion — and perhaps closer to $2.5 billion than $2.6 billion — compared with estimates last year that the network took in $2.5 billion to $2.75. (The numbers are not more definite because during the season,advertisers can usually cancel their upfront market commitments without penalty.)

CBS is selling about 80 percent of its commercial inventory in this upfront market, holding the rest back to sell during the course of the 2013-14 season in what is referred to as the scatter market. That is slightly higher than what CBS did in last year’s upfront market, when it sold 77 to 78 percent of its inventory.

CBS plans to add six series to its prime-time schedule for 2013-14, five in the fall and one in midseason.

With CW and CBS wrapping up their upfront sales, that leaves ABC, Fox Broadcasting and NBC to continue making deals with advertisers and agencies.

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NBA Could More Than Double Its Annual Rights Fees in New TV Deals

by Michael McCarthy

Adam Silver NBAAd Age – Incoming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is about to become the most popular man in sports TV.

The NBA's national media deals with ESPN/ABC and Turner Sports' TNT – which pay a combined $930 million per year – expire after the 2015/2016 season. But the NBA will start discussions with TV networks this summer and could make a decision by 2014, according to people familiar with the matter.

Outside of the Big Ten Conference's $1 billion annual deal with ESPN that runs through 2017, the NBA is the only big-time brand coming up for bid in the next few years. With new national sports cable networks such as Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network thirsting for live game programming, the NBA could boost its annual rights fees by 50% to 100%, if not more, said Ed Desser of Desser Sports Media.

In the middle of it all will be Mr. Silver, deputy commissioner to longtime Commissioner David Stern. He officially takes over Feb. 1, 2014 and no deal will be decided until after that date, people familiar with the matter said.

The NBA signed the current eight-year extension between ESPN/ABC and Turner in 2007. Before that, ESPN/ABC and Tuner had 6-year deals that were set to expire after the 2007/2008 season. When the NBA signed the current extensions in June 2007, it was coming off record-low TV ratings for the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers. The current deal gave the NBA a 20% boost in annual rights fees from the previous contract.

Most Important Content
Sports programming is "now the single most important form of content for networks," said Mr. Desser, who worked closely with Mr. Stern to negotiate the league's media deals with various networks from 1982 to 2005. 

That's resulted in huge gains for the leagues when it's time to renegotiate. For example, Major League Baseball announced a more than 100% increase in annual rights fees from its previous deals when it signed multi-year extensions with Fox, ESPN and Turner Sports' TBS in 2012.

"I like the NBA's position and I think they are due for a very, very substantial catch-up just to get up to the market level," Mr. Desser said. "There's a buzz about the NBA. It's probably the most international of U.S. sports leagues in terms of its appeal."

The jockeying by TV executives has already begun. David Hill, the former chairman/CEO of Fox Sports brought back to help with the Aug. 17 launch of Fox Sports 1, had a private lunch meeting in recent months with Mr. Stern, who's expected to stay involved with the NBA as a global ambassador.

Fox Sports declined to comment on the meeting. But spokesman Lou D'Ermilio issued a statement on its interest in the NBA: "As a sports media business, we naturally would be interested in becoming a national partner with the NBA if and when the time comes."

In the Hunt
NBC Sports spokesman Chris McCloskey confirmed it will be in the hunt. "We're always interested in good properties," he said.

But ESPN and Turner won't give up without a fight. ESPN has proven it will spend whatever it takes to get the sports properties it wants for its multiple channels.

An ESPN spokesman pointed to comments by its president, John Skipper, to Sports Illustrated after the network's upfront presentation to Madison Avenue. "The league is ascendant and the interest in the NBA at least during our tenure is at an all-time high. Ratings are kind of back to (Michael) Jordan levels. You have great teams. Players, big cities, I don't think I can state it more bluntly: The NBA is core and key product for ESPN."

In a statement, Turner said: "We have been partners with the NBA for more than a quarter century. Turner's partnership extends from our content rights on TNT to successfully co-managing the NBA Digital portfolio with the league for the past six years. This is certainly a key relationship for Turner and we look forward to continuing a long, and healthy, business partnership with the league for many years to come."

Turner said it posted its third most-watched and highest-rated regular season this year, averaging 2 million viewers and a 1.4 household rating over 52 game telecasts.

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Rentrak Could Be Impacted By New Nielsen System

by David Goetzl

Remote popcornMedia Post TVBlog – By any standard, Rentrak has done an extraordinary job over the past few years building and rolling out its local TV measurement service. Since Nielsen rarely faces notable competition, Rentrak has authored a compelling narrative about whether it would manifest as a significant challenger.

For its part, Rentrak says there’s room for both and it has plenty to offer as a complementary service. Wall Street seems to agree. Rentrak’s stock has been a solid performer. 

But if Rentrak has thrived in a phase one -- gaining a toehold, if not foothold, in the local measurement business – now it must navigate a second phase that could be very telling about its fate. Nielsen is on the offensive, looking to upgrade its service.

The standard bearer has been installing a new “hybrid” system that will massively increase the sample size in all 210 markets, while adding set-top-box (STB) data and a new “code reader” to complement its traditional panel. There hasn’t been much in the way of updates since last fall when St. Louis and Charlotte began to get the “code reader,” though Nielsen said Friday initial “preview data” should be available for review this summer.

“We announced ‘hybrid,’ that’s when most of the noise started going away,” Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said, referring to the frisson about a Rentrak challenge.

Not sure about that. Nonetheless, speaking at an investor event Friday, Calhoun referenced much of the reasoning why Nielsen feels a product relying heavily on STB data, Rentrak’s core, is inferior. It doesn’t account for periods when a box may still be on, but no one is watching. It doesn’t account for homes receiving only service with an antenna. Homes with STBs don’t offer an adequate reflection of consumer behavior at large.

On Rentrak, Calhoun said: “They don’t really measure all the audiences in any given location -- some locations are better than others because they do have a penetration in a particular zip code -- so they might have some little advantage on that front. But, they’re not going to get the guys who still get their signal by way of broadcast, much less the crowd that’s going to do IPTV. And set-top boxes aren’t very reliable. We’ve always known that. We have access to exactly the same data.”

Rentrak would offer all kinds of retorts, including how its built algorithms and other methods to account for alleged coverage issues. It would also assert its system that gathers data from loads more homes than Nielsen offers far more ratings stability, preventing wide swings where, for example, “Jeopardy’s” ratings could vary widely night by night.

Calhoun seemed to acknowledge how the Nielsen sample has brought some inconsistency when panel members (maybe just one) move in and out, but suggested the new system -- where the sample will be effectively quadrupled in local people meter (LPM) markets – should reduce some of the swings.

“Month to month, if we change out a household something really significant happens in this world, so it basically leads to an unstable metric in the local channels,” he said. “We have been unwilling over time to invest in (adding) lots of more households there because there was no return on it. The local (stations) aren’t going to pay you more … we’ve had two camps frustrated for a long period of time.”

Calhoun downplayed any Rentrak threat multiple times by saying local measurement represents a very minor portion of Nielsen’s overall business. Nonetheless, the company is now making an investment that likely started with considerable R&D and now is including feet on the street installing code readers and recruiting panelists.

Some stations have dropped Nielsen for Rentrak. Others have suggested they might. Rentrak has done well exploiting frustration with Nielsen.

Certainly, over time, Nielsen will look to recoup its investment by charging clients more for the new system. Presumably, if they are satisfied with the would-be improvements, they’ll pay up -- at least a little less grudgingly.

How satisfied they are could have a weighty impact on Rentrak’s fortunes. It might decided to mount a renewed offensive.

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Dish Brings Social Content to TV Screen

by Erik Sass

Dish Hopper AppMedia Post, The Social Graff – Media types have been geekily excited for some time about the “second screen” phenomenon, in which viewers use a computer or mobile device to post social content and interact with other fans around what they’re watching on TV -- but what if the social content were integrated into the TV itself?

That’s the idea behind a new app from Dish: consumers who subscribe to the satellite broadcaster’s (that’s “satcaster” if you’re cool) Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR service can now download an app that allows them to view social content on the TV, alongside whatever program they’re dishing about with their friends. The “Social” app enables subscribers to import content from up to eight accounts (four Facebook, four Twitter) per subscription, with various options for which content is displayed.

One option, “Now Watching,” shows the Twitter feed for the show, while another option, “My Twitter,” brings up your personal Twitter account and allows you to post a new tweet. “Social” offers similar options for Facebook content, and also displays data like the geographic locations producing the most tweets about a program, sentiment about the program, and the proportion, by gender, of male and female commentators on Twitter.

Jimshade Chaudhari, Dish’s director of product marketing and management, noted that in 2012, “Twitter saw 32 million Americans tweet about TV programming… Through our Social app, we’ve made it easier for consumers to follow social conversations and post in real-time without leaving their TV screen.”

The unveiling of the on-screen Social app comes not long after Dish launched its Dish Anywhere mobile app, which offers social functionality for TV viewers through mobile devices.

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TV Upfront Registers Modest Gains

by Wayne Friedman

Couple watching TVMedia Post – TV upfront deal-making continues at a modest -- some would say slow -- pace heading into the weekend. All that might yield slightly lower-than-expected pricing for network sellers.

Fox appears to be the only network fully active in closing deals -- more than 50% sold as of Thursday. By Friday, the network moved to higher sellout levels completing deals with major media agencies.

ABC and CW have also begun deal-making in the "early stages," per executives. A CBS network spokesman said: “We are in active negotiations with major agencies across the industry. We look forward to another successful upfront where we are confident we will lead in both volume and pricing.”

Reports suggest NBC may be getting some pushback from media buyers, due to a plan to selling packages for all its TV properties -- including broadcast and cable networks inventory -- under one media buy.

Media agency analysts believe CBS will still lead all networks in terms of the key buying financial metric -- the cost per thousand viewers. But how much is anyone's guess at the moment.

Network selling executives say the posturing is that CBS is seeking 8% to 9% gains in the CPM viewers. ABC is at 7%, with Fox following at around 5% to 7%. NBC will trail with increases of 4% to 5%, with CW also seeking gains of around 5%.

But many media-buying executives believe these numbers are a "fantasy" -- and that given a relatively modest and perhaps weaker market, prices will come in 1% to 2% lower for their respective CPM ranges for each network seller.

Fox goes into the market -- as it usually does -- seeking young-skewing movie upfront dollars, as well as automotive upfront dollars. Traditionally, Fox has fewer gross rating points to sell because it has one hour less of prime-time programming for night. But next season, that inventory will be smaller due to a steep drop in viewership this past season -- near 20% for some viewing demographic groups.

Fox, ABC, and CW representatives had no comment about upfront dealings. An NBC spokesperson did not return messages by press time.

Overall volume for the five English-language networks is estimated to be around $9.2 billion -- flat or slightly down versus a year ago. Advertising-supported cable networks could see a 3% to 4% rise overall to near $9.8 billion.

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Digital Video Platforms Can't Make Big Gains Without Traditional TV As A Partner

by Wayne Friedman

MediaPost – Media agency executives have made it clear: Buying media -- specifically digital video -- in a vacuum isn't going to cut it. There must be a link -- a strong link -- to traditional TV platforms. 

Recently Twitter moved into the effort with deals with A+E, ESPN, and Turner Sports that would promote TV content with short-form six-second videos attached to the tweet conversations. The company announced the launch of new television ad-targeting partnerships under Twitter's new Amplify initiative to allow marketers to engage directly with people on Twitter who have watched their commercials on TV.

Yes, digital versus TV is not an either-or position. Three big media, network-owned companies already glean dollars from digital dollars from Hulu. But recent major efforts have been made with those more "engaged" social media aficionados, who watch TV and talk about it. 

The downside? Twitter has some 32 million people who have tweeted something in 2012. But that is a fraction of the potential 294 million TV viewers out there -- and not even a representative sample of that TV audience.

In selling these video-attached tweets to advertisers Twitter will share its wealth with the content owners of that video and the TV distributor (network, station, cable operator or otherwise).

Twitter already has partnerships with ESPN, Turner Sports and the NBA to distribute video clips. New partners include A+E, Clear Channel, Conde Nast, Vevo, Major League Baseball, WWE, Vice and others. 

Twitter uses semantic technology to match conversation on Twitter with specific shows on TV -- say, an NBA game on TNT. All of which means that Twitter could sell to TV advertisers that tweet -- perhaps the same advertisers that bought into NBA games on TNT.

Pretty much a win-win-win for everyone here: Twitter, TNT, and the NBA each get a piece.

At an OMMA event last week Chris Raleigh, senior vp of cable and cross-platform ad sales for The Weather Channel, said those NewFronts presentations in large part didn't get this point -- that there must be a strong connection with what they are selling with that in traditional TV land, that being where the current large-media scale lies. The CW has been doing this for years successfully.

"Our perspective is everybody in digital has it wrong; they have been going to market with an either-or proposition," Twitter global head of revenue Adam Bain told Advertising Age.

Years ago, many believed that traditional broadcast networks would package deals with cable networks they owned, but that has not really worked out. But somehow a more complementary traditional TV-new digital video/social media deal might make more sense.



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Worldwide Pay TV On The Rise, Big Growth In Asia

by Wayne Friedman

GlobeMediaPost – North American pay TV subscribers may continue to show little or no growth for the first quarter, but worldwide pay-TV business continues to climb, especially in emerging markets.

Worldwide pay TV subscribers -- business from cable, satellite and telco businesses -- grew by 8% in 2012 to 800 million, according to the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Multimedia Research Group.

Big growth was obtained in Asia -- specifically China, India and Vietnam -- adding on 40 million new subscribers and totaling 445 million. Confirming what other research has shown, two established markets -- North America and Western Europe -- experienced little or no growth.

North American pay-TV businesses, for example, were at 113 million in 2012 -- virtually the same as the previous year.

Overall, global cable TV subscriber households grew a couple of percentage points in 2012 over 2011 to just over 520 million. Worldwide satellite TV service subscribers grew solidly in 2012 -- with rising business from Russia and India -- and was up 12% to just over 202 million. Telco companies' pay-TV business was up 36% -- the best of any TV-video distribution category, to 77 million.

The report's results came from 60 cable, 100 satellite, and 140 IPTV pay-TV operators.

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Aereo Is Not Just For Cord-Cutters

by David Goetzel

KanojiaMediaPost – Are cord-cutters most likely to subscribe to Aereo? Not necessarily, according to early returns. CEO Chet Kanojia told investors Thursday that 50% of its customers have a pay-TV subscription.

He also said the service gets its highest viewing levels on Sundays. News is a popular genre, along with sports and awards shows. The bulk of viewership -- 70% -- takes place outside the home, and 65% of its customers are male.

Aereo recently got rid of its trial $1-a-day and $80-a-year offers. Kanojia said uptake was minimal compared to monthly plans. He spoke at a Barclays conference, and his comments came via a report from analyst Anthony DiClemente.  

The company streams live TV online and to iOS devices and desktops, as well as to TV sets via Roku and Apple TV. It also offers DVR functionality. Android devices will be compatible soon, Kanojia said.

The service is in New York and Boston and coming to Atlanta next month. The company does not release subscriber numbers. Entities linked with the Big Four broadcasters are suing it for copyright infringement, while charging that it deprives them of advertising and retrans consent dollars.

Kanojia was asked about broadcast networks shifting to cable in response to Aereo depriving it of retrans consent fees. He said if they do, other programmers could claim their valuable spectrum.

Kanojia did not seem fazed by broadcaster efforts to roll out their own versions of live streaming of their stations, saying they are pro-consumer. He said that even with Bloomberg on its system, it is not looking to build a cable-like bundle of channels.

Aereo might license its technology to a distributor, he said, allowing them to skirt retrans payments, but only if consumers would benefit.

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No Need to Dream of Interactive TV -- It's Already Here

It's on Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops, but Measurement and Content Lag Behind

by Jonathan Nelson

Ad Age Digital – The dream of interactive TV has been around for almost two decades. We've imagined a TV that allows us to transition seamlessly from watching a Yankees game to pulling up a music video on demand to ordering an advertiser's product. But iTV as we conceived it remained elusive for the brightest of minds, even for the likes of Steve Jobs.

But today's TV is increasingly a laptop, mobile or tablet experience, unless it arrives on a "proper" TV screen through a broadband-enabled device like an Xbox or Roku. It's not coming through the cable operators that, at one time, were thought to hold the keys to iTV. In fact iTV is already here, all but ready to deliver everything we've been waiting for. We've just been waiting for it on the wrong screen.

Nielsen's March Cross Platform Report recently dove into the deep end of this trend, describing the five million homes in the United States that it classifies as "Zero TV" because they eschew traditional cable or satellite viewing -- often for streaming alternatives. Two-thirds of these "Zero TV" homes consume video content on other devices, and the distribution across age groups of "Zero TV" homes is not as concentrated as you might think. Almost two-thirds are age 44 and under, but a healthy chunk -- more than one-third -- fell into older demographics.

Add this group to the tens of millions of people in the United States who watch traditional TV but also use their smartphone to access Hulu, for example, and their iPad to stream TV from Comcast, and what you have is a burgeoning iTV market.

It's predictable that devices -- and consumer behavior -- are well ahead of content providers and marketers. Adoption of technology almost always outpaces the business models that will grow up around them. But given the rapid embrace of iTV services, it is not worth waiting around for the day when seamless, TV-based interactive video is a reality. Let's accept that the hardware -- the devices and infrastructure -- are in place, but the "software" -- the partnerships and standards for iTV -- are not.

Building this "software" will require the media and marketing industries to stop making meaningless distinctions between video-delivery systems, and think of ways to unite older delivery and measurement standards with the expanded possibilities for marketing and content that iTV provides. Building out these capabilities will generally focus around measurement, addressability and accountability, which will be necessary to make iTV attractive to advertisers.

Addressability is one of the great promises of iTV, and there are only a handful of examples of addressable TV advertising, but bringing it to the digital-video marketplace should not be such a big leap. Addressable's cousin, behavioral targeting, has been dominant in digital display for years. It's time to get serious about bringing similar targeting to iTV.

A surprising weakness in accountability is also holding back the video-advertising marketplace, which helps explain why, even though advertisers love video, it still only accounted for 6% of digital advertising spend in 2012, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Advertisers need assurances that their video was served, let alone seen, before they will commit big-time to video advertising outside of TV.

And then there's the issue of audience-measurement standards. Fortunately, the industry is finally getting over its skittishness about measuring off-TV viewing, as Nielsen's embrace of "Zero TV" homes demonstrates. It's about time. That said, we're only scratching the surface in terms of what's possible. In-stream advertising holds the potential to tell advertisers when and whether viewers watched an ad, whether they followed through on embedded calls-to-action, and so forth.

Of course, it's a delicate dance to incorporate traditional targeting and measurement methods with new ones; what will be most important is the ability to build bridges that can transition slowly from one approach to another.

When will people finally realize that iTV has arrived? In 1993, the seven-year-old Fox network shocked the TV world when it won the rights to broadcast National Football League games, outbidding CBS. Just as that deal proved a Trojan Horse for getting Fox into the broadcast mainstream, so it will be with iTV. It's only a matter of time until Google -- or someone like Google -- buys the rights to the Super Bowl and studs it with interactive commercials. But don't wait until the first YouTube Super Bowl to recognize iTV's emergence. By that point, no one will care what device we're watching with.

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Radical Transparency is Coming to TV Advertising

by Dave Morgan

MediaPost – Transparency is coming to television advertising – radical transparency – and the marketplace will never be the same.

While the US television market is much more fragmented and competitive than any other in the world, it is still pretty concentrated by most measures. Eight multichannel operators (cable, satellite and teleco companies) control 80+% of the country’s TV distribution. Six media owners (companies holding TV networks, studios and their syndication arms) capture 80+% of the national ad spend. Five holding companies (marketing service companies) control 80+% of the national TV media buying. One company provides the “stewardship” system for 80+% of that spend. And, one other company provides the core currency for all of that spend, with three or four other companies providing the bulk of the “secondary” currency measures used by the market.

One of the reasons that the TV ad marketplace has grown so large (more than $74 billion in ad spend this year) is that the TV ad industry’s processes are so efficient.  Phone calls, handshakes and faxes may seem archaic, but they’re efficient. Further, love it or hate it, the whole Upfront process has worked very well for ad buyers willing to take risks to get first dibs on the best shows while, at the same time, helping media owners manage the massive and risky investments they need to make to finance and create those best shows. In the relatively closed and concentrated of TV today, these negotiations don’t need to be very open. When you have just few companies negotiating with a few other companies for control of a few essential packages, and buyers can not leave empty-handed or risk losing their clients, sellers can each keep details of their pricing and packaging and inventory avails pretty opaque.

However, this opaqueness is going to start giving way to transparency – maybe radical transparency – over the next few years. Alternative sources of TV viewing data are already starting to flood the market, led by companies like Kantar, Tivo/TRA and Rentrak. Their data is much more robust and granular than the market has ever seen before. TV ad occurrence data – which ads ran where and when – has historically only been available from two vendors, and its availability usually trails the ad delivery by two weeks. We are now starting to see a number of new sources emerging, using “DVR’s in the sky” and automatic content recognition systems.

These two developments alone mean that TV advertisers will soon be able to know the exact results of their TV campaigns with a degree of granularity and timeliness (it’s not unheard of for it to take agencies many months to recover and re-aggregate post-logs from TV campaigns). They will know exactly where their ads ran, who saw them, exact reach and frequency measures (not data extrapolated on a network/day-part basis) and they will have this data in relative real-time (certainly hourly). This data will be instantaneously associated with syndicated pricing data, or integrated with next day “resonance” measures and correlated to just-in-time syndicated purchase data from credit card providers and banks). In other words, every TV advertiser will be able to know exactly how well their ads did irrespective of their objective – reach, frequency, awareness, store sales, competitive share-of voice, ROI, and they will know this the same day or next, and they will know if for each and every one of their competitors. Compared to the TV ad world of today, this is radical transparency.

This world is not years away. All of the components above exist in the market today. All that remains is for them to be stitched together and delivered broadly and in real-time. Watch out. It will probably all be here by the end of the year. What do you think? Is radical transparency coming to TV?

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Upfront Nerves: Digital Executives On Edge. TV Executives? Calm Before The Storm

by Wayne Friedman

MediaPost – Pre-upfront time media executive nerves are on edge.

Senior media agency executives are telling major digital video platforms to get their act together -- figure out a common, easy way to buy some of new 100 digital video program offerings. Also, they should come up a better common measurement plan. Perhaps a currency.


In response, the head of a major digital advertising association, Randall Rothenberg of president/CEO of Interactive Advertising Bureau, is complaining about weak creative digital advertising efforts and those cumbersome silo media buying units.

More importantly, where is the seamless cross-platform media deal? The one one where, if you are watching an episode of NBC's "Parenthood" on TV  you can continue to see an commercial for AT&T on traditional TV, then view the same content and ad on a iPad?

Even WPP Group's CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has his own edgy "personal" view about the current TV currency -- that perhaps TV networks have a point, the viewing metric should go beyond just three days. Group M's senior executives might not exactly agree with this point right now -- not to say they wouldn't disagree that the TV currency shouldn't evolve.

Digital platforms? Media agency executives would love to have an easily defined common currency for digital video publishers. Many digital advertisers --- right or wrong -- don't have easily comparable demographic numbers to analyze like TV's main 18-49 or 25-54 data. Yeah, those age and gender stuff may be lame, and really old-school. But with the upfront starting this week, that is what TV marketers calmly will again be looking at -- right now.

Upfront estimates: around $9.2 billion for TV broadcasting networks, up about 1% at best, or maybe down a bit from a year ago. For cable networks, about $10.1 billion, a gain of a couple of percentage points. What about digital video this upfront? Some are blue-skying a $1 billion number from a possible $3 billion digital video market by year's end.

Nervous? Don't worry. Mosey on over to the sushi table at one of the TV network upfront parties, and have a micro-brew to wash it down. Then think about the new Sean Hayes comedy on NBC or the new "Lost"-like drama from J.J. Abrams on Fox.

Calming, isn't it? For the moment, anyway. Go back to office, get to work -- and hopefully keep you nerves in check.

Read original article here.

Aereo Drops Video Price, Extends Metro Reach

by Wayne Friedman

Guy watching digital programMediaPost – Controversial Internet-based video provider Aereo will be making it easier for consumers to consider their service -- dropping its price to $8 a month from $12.

The new plan, which goes into effect on May 15, gives customers over-the-air channels and 20 hours of cloud-based DVR storage. For another $4 a month, customers can get 60 hours of time-shifted storage.

By way of comparison, many cable, satellite and telco multichannel programming services offer 100 to 300 hours of time-shifting -- with HD quality.

Aereo, which is only in New York City and will start up in Boston on May 15, will allow existing users who are paying $12 per month to opt into the new plan or automatically be updated to receive 60 hours of DVR storage.

All new Aereo consumers will receive their first month of membership for free.

By the end of the year, Aereo plans to expand into 21 additional markets, including Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Detroit and Denver.

Though the over-the-top service has won several key court decisions, many broadcasters look to continue to fight the service. Broadcasters believe their copyrighted content is being taken by Aereo illegally. Recently, CBS has said it will follow Aereo with legal efforts in whatever markets it expands to.

Read original article here

WPP's Sorrell Favors Revising C3 System, Taking Media Risks

by Steve McClellan

Martin SorrellMediaPost – Departing from the stand his company has taken on the issue, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said Friday that the current C3 ratings system would have to be revised.


Sorrell said it was his personal view -- he stressed that it was not the company’s -- that the networks have a “strong argument” for extending the current C3 ratings metric to a measurement that captures more days of on-demand viewing. While noting that GroupM executives believe that C3 is “sufficient for now,” Sorrell said that as viewing patterns continue to change, “the system needs to change.”

He made his comments at a breakfast presented by the Paley Media Council in New York, where he was interviewed by Thomson Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland.

Sorrell also said that in the media and marketing world, legacy companies like the TV networks, and ad firms like WPP, must be flexible and experiment in order to remain current and properly serve audiences and clients.

The $70 billion that is spent on TV ads each year is “about right” given the amount of time that audiences spend with the medium. That said, he stressed that the networks “have to be much more flexible,” given shifting viewing patterns as smaller screens begin to grow in popularity.

Recent Nielsen data in the U.S. “is not pretty” -- especially among younger age groups, who are watching in bigger numbers on the Internet, tablets and smartphones, Sorrell said.

And holding companies that don’t experiment risk disintermediation, he added. That’s why the company has invested in firms like Media Rights Capital, the production studio behind the Netflix original series "House of Cards."

“We need to be a strategic VC,” said Sorrell, noting company investments in firms including The Weinstein Co., Buddy Media and Vice.

Still, with media giants like Google, Amazon and Apple dominating the digital landscape, disintermediation remains a risk. Sorrell pointed to Google as Exhibit No. 1. Recently, the company’s sales force contacted a WPP client. “They wanted to deal directly with them and disintermediate us,” he said, despite the estimated $2.5 billion that WPP will spend with Google this year.

“Life is full of frenemies,” Sorrell said. ‘We have to work together.” For WPP, doing business today is “very difficult. It’s like being in the trenches. It’s a slow growth world with not enough demand.”  

This year, the holding company will produce record financial results, Sorrell said. But like 2012, “we’ll get there ugly,” and with help from acquisitions, a sharp eye on costs and “a currency tailwind.” Ultimately, that’s a “reflection of what our clients are seeing,” he added.

Clients are increasingly focused on finance and procurement issues. He cited the recent case of a client requesting that WPP extend the time that payment was due for services from 30 days to 120 days. “We said no, but it’s a big issue.”

The company also faces pressure from the investor sector “not to do anything” that would jeopardize what little growth is available. “The focus is on buy-backs and dividends," he said. From that perspective, he added, “the private-equity sector is more attractive.”

Read original article here

TV Homes On Rise, Hits 115 Million

by Wayne Friedman

Couple watching TVMediaPost – Based on its new definition of a TV home -- one that can include a broadband connection -- Nielsen says the number of TV homes is up versus the year before to 115.6 million homes.

Nielsen says its TV household Universe Estimate (UE) grew 1.2% over its estimate for the 2012-2013 season, which was at 114.2 million. In addition, Nielsen says the total number of TV viewers is 1.6% higher to 294 million individuals ages 2 and older.

“Though we see slight shifts reflecting trends in population changes, the Advance UEs are largely stable and television viewing remains very strong," says Pat McDonough, senior vice president of insights and analysis at Nielsen.

McDonough adds: "The expansion of the definition of a TV household, which we announced in February 2013, will include viewing from additional sites in current homes and new homes for the September TV season."

Nielsen’s new definition of a TV household states that homes must have at least one operable TV/monitor with the ability to deliver video via traditional means of antennae, cable set-top-box or satellite receiver and/or with a broadband connection.

Nielsen typically offers up its TV home estimate in early May before the television industry’s upfront presentations that showcase the upcoming 2013-2014 broadcast season, which starts in September.

Read original article here.

Nielsen Launches Digital Ratings To Measure TV Viewers Online

by Wayne Friedman, Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:12 AM

Expanding its metrics services on the Internet, Nielsen now has announced a pilot effort for TV/video "program" content -- called Nielsen Digital Program Ratings.

A number of TV networks and media companies have signed -- A+E, ABC, AOL, CBS, The CW, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBC and Univision -- to participate in the online trial which will begin in May and go through July.

Nielsen says the effort will use the same methodology of its anticipated Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings. Nielsen says Digital Program Ratings will provide similar overnight audience data, including unique audience, stream counts and reach by age and gender for TV programming viewed online.

The two metrics -- Nielsen Digital Program Ratings and Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings -- will offer a more "holistic" view of the online and TV audience for both programming and advertising content. Nielsen plans the release of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings later this year, which will include time duration "weighting" of video and reporting of TV-comparable ratings.

Both services will combine "traditional Nielsen TV and online panel data with aggregated, anonymous demographic information from participating online data providers, including Facebook."

Eric Solomon, senior vice president for global digital audience measurement at Nielsen, stated: “As a companion product to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will enable clients to better understand the online audience for their programming by harnessing the same methodology Nielsen already uses to measure the audience for related advertising.”

Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/199272/nielsen-launches-digital-ratings-to-measure-tv-vie.html?print#ixzz2Sii6kBgY

Hulu’s Pitch to Advertisers: Four Million People Pay Us to See Your Ads!

by Peter Kafka

All Things Digital – Today you can watch all the Web video you want for free, with ads. Or you can pay a subscription fee and get no ads.

So how about Hulu Plus, the subscription service that runs ads in the middle of its TV reruns? Turns out it is doing just fine: Hulu says its paid service now has four million subscribers paying $8 a month.

hulu plus paying subscribers

That’s not nearly as much Netflix, which boast some 30 million subscribers for its ad-free service (also $8 a month). But that seems awfully respectable to me, considering that Hulu Plus has been around (in one form or anotherfor less than three years.

Maybe even impressive, since much of what Hulu Plus offers are TV shows you can see for free on broadcast TV, or even on “regular” Hulu.com. The main selling point for Hulu Plus, I think, is that you can watch the service on a variety of screens, including phones, tablets and your actual TV, via devices like Apple TV.

The announcement comes as Hulu puts on a show for advertisers in New York, part of the week-long “newfront” presentations the big video websites are hosting. (Yesterday: Yahoo! Tomorrow: YouTube!)

While Hulu is still best known as the place to watch last night’s TV (or in some cases, last week’s TV), it is interested in promoting the stuff it has that you can’t see on TV.

Like Netflix and Amazon, it is investing in its own original programming; unlike Netflix and Amazon, its efforts have gotten much less attention, a fact that steams Hulu’s management team. So if you want to help them out, go ahead and look at the preview reel for “The Awesomes,” an “animated show for adults,” co-created by Seth Meyers of “Saturday Night Live”; it seems to be the new show Hulu is most excited about.

The good news for Andy Forsell, Hulu’s acting CEO, is that advertisers are already receptive to Hulu’s pitches, both for the reruns it airs and the new stuff it is showing. It looks like TV and Hulu is selling it like TV, and many ad guys like that a lot, especially compared to Google’s more … Googley approach with YouTube.

The bad news for Forsell is that he’s acting CEO, because Hulu’s corporate future is completely unsettled. It’s entirely possible, and probably likely, that the site, currently owned by News Corp.,* Disney and Comcast, will have a different ownership structure by the end of the year, and may have a different agenda, as well.

I’m guessing that doesn’t come up during this morning’s presentation. What I don’t know is whether that matters to advertisers or viewers.

Read original article here.

Local TV Ad Forecast To Hit $21B By 2017

by Wayne Friedman

Pile of moneyMediaPost – Local television ad dollars are expected to slowly rise over the next four years.


By 2017, local TV stations' traditional TV advertising revenues will rise 12.5% to $21.5 billion from $19.2 billion by the end of this year. 

This doesn't include growing digital TV advertising dollars that TV stations are recognizing -- estimated to be $700 million this year and rising to $1.1 billion in four years, reports media advisor BIA/Kelsey.

This year's take -- as expected -- will be down from the $20.8 billion the industry took in last year, $600 million of which came from online revenues. Political and Summer Olympic advertising was a major reason for the rise in 2012 -- a 13.2% gain over 2011.

The gain overall was better than expected.

“Last year's revenues accelerated quicker than we had anticipated and overall, political advertising was the driving force for television stations, as is typical for a presidential election year,” stated Mark Fratrik, vice president and chief economist, BIA/Kelsey. “We expect the pace to normalize this year, but continue its upward trend to pre-recession numbers, in part due to online revenues."

BIA/Kelsey sees a 6.3% rise in traditional TV revenues in 2014 from 2013 to $20.4 billion and a 17% rise in online revenue to $800 million.

The next big election and Olympic year, 2016, will see a rise to $21.9 billion in traditional TV revenue and $1 billion in TV stations' online revenue. It will then fall back (as it has done for 2013 versus 2012) the next year, 2017, landing at $21.5 billion.

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TV Spending Nears $80 Billion, DVR Penetration Chasing 50%

by David Goetzl

Media Post – Wasn’t one supposed to kill the other? Annual TV ad spending is closing in on the $80 million mark, while DVRs could soon be in 50% of U.S. homes by the start of the new TV season.

In an annual report, Nielsen estimates 46% of homes have a DVR, marking a 9% increase over the prior TV season. Meanwhile, the research firm says the U.S. TV market generated $76.5 million in spending in 2012, a 6.5% increase.

Without spending attached to an Olympics or federal elections, the growth rate likely won’t be as robust this year, but a less than 5% increase would still propel the total market beyond $80 billion.

Reality TV continues to deserve some credit. Last year, nearly 40% of all ad dollars were spent in prime time. While drama programming drew the most of any genre at $7.8 billion, the $5.6 billion spent in reality TV dwarfed the $2.7 billion for comedies.

Delving deeper into the DVR-verse, Nielsen data indicates -- not surprisingly -- that the larger the household income, the more likely it is to have a DVR. Nearly 70% of homes with incomes $100,000 or more have a DVR, while 60% have one in the $75,000-$100,000 range.

The data shows 25% of homes with incomes of $30,000 or less have one of the devices. But penetration is growing fastest among that group, up nearly 13%.

If last year’s growth rates repeat themselves, about 60% of homes with incomes of $50,000 or more will have a DVR by the time new shows launch in the fall.

Meanwhile, for all the talk about gaming consoles -- Microsoft and Nintendo are marketing them as entertainment hubs -- growth declined in the past year, albeit by only 0.2%. Data shows 45% of homes have one.

Among the five income segments Nielsen identified, the group making less than $30,000 a year watches the most prime-time TV -- one hour and 23 minutes a night on average. Those with household incomes of $100,000 or more watch barely over an hour.

Time-shifted viewing is growing in all income segments. The daily average rose from 21 minutes to 25 among the $30,000-$50,000 income segment -- the most for any group.   

Read original article here.

The Small Screen Captured Big Ad Revenue in 2012

Nielsen – Advertisers gravitated to the small screen in 2012 and pulled away from newspapers and magazines, according to Nielsen’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report. The $350 billion in global TV ad spending represented a 4.3 percent year-over-year increase, and a strong second half in North America contributed to a 3.2 percent rise in global ad spending for the year. Overall, TV ad spending accounted for 62.8 percent of global ad dollars in 2012.

Ad spending in print mediums other than magazines and newspapers did rise in 2012, but the percentage increases trailed those in the TV realm. While spending in newspapers and magazines dipped for the year (-1.6 and -0.2 percent, respectively), these mediums remain key ways for advertisers to communicate with consumer, as they maintained the second and third place spots based on share of overall ad spend. Newspapers accounted for nearly 20 percent and magazines accounted for 8 percent, proving that they remain major mediums for advertisers to communicate with consumers.

Display Internet advertising, although measured in a smaller subset of countries, grew 9.9 percent in 2012. Latin America played a noteworthy role in the increase, as Internet ad spend in this region jumped 21.2 percent for the year. The 7.4 percent annual increase in Internet advertising in Europe was also noteworthy, given the region’s current economic situation.

Cinema ad spend continued to climb each quarter throughout 2012, which helped the sector see a spike of nearly 6 percent for the full year. While cinema spending remains relatively small, accounting for just 0.3 percent share of ad spend, regions like Europe (7.4% increase YOY) and Asian Pacific (10.3% increase YOY) continue to contribute to the medium’s growing importance among advertisers looking to reach theatre-going consumers.

“With 63 percent of ad dollars being spent to advertise on TV, it’s clear that the medium is widely regarded as the most efficient and effective way to reach consumers, continuing to grow especially in emerging markets,” said Randall Beard, Global Head, Advertiser Solutions for Nielsen. “As we move into 2013, we’ll be monitoring which regions, sectors and media types continue to drive global advertising, and which emerge and propel the industry to new heights.”

change by media type 2012 2011

global ad spend media type  2012

Read original article here.

Twitter Said to Seek Deals With Viacom, NBC to Feature TV

Ad Age Media News - Twitter is close to reaching partnerships with TV networks that would bring more high-quality video content and advertising to the social site, according to people familiar with the matter.

The San Francisco-based company has held talks with Viacom about hosting TV clips on its site and selling ads alongside them, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. Twitter has also discussed a content partnership with Comcast's NBC Universal, said two of the people.

Twitter, which began in 2006 as a service for 140-character status updates, is racing to add video content that will get users to spend more time on the site and watch ads. Building on its existing partnerships with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, Weather Channel and Turner Broadcasting System, Twitter is seeking to add more entertainment and news video, two people familiar with the plan said. NBC, which also owns the USA Network, and Viacom, which owns MTV and Nickelodeon, would make attractive partners given the popularity of their content.

The partnerships would let Twitter stream videos on its site and split the resulting ad revenue with the networks, said one of the people familiar with the discussions. One or more deals could be reached by mid-May, and Twitter may strike deals with other networks, the person said.

Gabriel Stricker, a spokesman for Twitter, declined to comment, as did Mark Jafar, a spokesman for Viacom, and Cameron Blanchard, a spokeswoman for NBC.

Last June, a third of active Twitter users posted on the site about something they watched on TV, up from 26 percent at the beginning of the year, Nielsen Holdings NV (NLSN) said in a report on social media last year. Twitter and Nielsen have agreed to form a partnership to measure the amount of online discussion being generated by TV programs.

In February, Twitter also bought Bluefin Labs, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that makes software that lets advertisers, agencies and networks monitor and analyze social-media comments about TV shows and commercials.

Peter Chernin, a former News Corp. president, last November joined Twitter's board to help the company navigate the media industry, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said at the time.

Last year, Twitter teamed up with NBC to promote use of the social site among audiences of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Twitter tracked more than 150 million Twitter posts about the games over the course of the 16-day event, it said on its blog.

The TV push coincides with the Twitter's expansion into music. The company is planning to release a mobile application that lets users stream and share music with others on the social site, a person familiar with the matter said March 14.

~~Bloomberg~~

Read original article here.

Are We Asking Search to Do Too Much?

Mouse KeyboardDirect Marketing News - Search advertising is overrated. I realize this is a heretical statement in an environment where search is king. Just about every advertiser talks about the ways in which search is producing new and better leads and how it's played a crucial role in their brand strategy.

Yet search creates an illusion that it is more effective than it is in reality. This doesn't mean it shouldn't be part of the advertising process; search is very important. But when it becomes the main area of focus, advertisers rely on it too heavily and discount other advertising tactics—many times to their chagrin in the long run.

Consider why people lionize search. An individual goes to Google or another search engine and types in a brand name. The searcher ends up at the brand's website, where he or she becomes a qualified prospect or a new, paying customer.

In either case, the search professionals can demonstrate that it was search that hooked and landed the fish. In reality, however, they may have just pulled up the line that was baited by others.

In marketing, last click attribution is common. In other words, the sale goes to the last touchpoint before the customer converted. But what's often unseen by the advertiser is the winding path that led to that last click. A click and a purchase result from cumulative exposure to an advertised product or service. Prospective customers are exposed to a print or broadcast ad, often more than once; they see banner ads online for the product or service; they do research about competing products or services, triggering additional exposures to a site. The last click may be the result of paid search, but advertisers should recognize how people reached that buying point.

In the direct response television advertising business, we are well aware of the correlation between DRTV spending levels and branded search traffic. Time and again, we have documented higher levels resulting in more traffic (and lowered levels resulting in less traffic). Just as tellingly, our research shows that a significant percentage of viewers buy later rather than sooner. They don't call an 800 number or click on a website immediately after watching a spot but wait until they have more time to shop and buy. They may wait an hour, a day, or a week until they search for the advertised product (using Google to search for the product's brand name), arrive at the website in question, and make a purchase—but the impulse to do so was sown during the viewer's exposure to the television commercial. From a direct response perspective, Google is the new 800 number.

From any advertising perspective, however, it would be wise to be wary of depending too heavily on search alone, despite its enticing promise of generating high website traffic and increased business at a low cost. It used to be that advertisers bragged at cocktail parties about their brand-building advertising or their results-producing sales promotions.  Now they boast about their search optimization strategies.

Again, we're not suggesting that search is bad—we integrate search into everything we do—but that it's being asked to do too much. Instead of focusing most of their energy and budget on search, advertisers would be better served by combining traditional ad media and search analytics.

There are a number of variables that should be measured: the advertising media used, the ad spending, the search strategy, and the website ordering process, to name just a few. How many times does a given viewer need to see a commercial before he or she does a search and ends up on the advertiser's website? What is the percentage increase of clicks that occur because this viewer also saw a banner ad for the product? What creative content is most likely to motivate the viewer to buy and not just visit the site?

These are crucial questions in the age of search. If we are not able to answer them correctly, it may be we haven't yet reached the golden age of advertising the industry claims.

Bill McCabe is the President/CEO at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Read original article here.

Response-Driven TV: the Newest Channel of Commerce

remote and tv

By: Jim Madsen

The Agency Post - In a world of time-shifted TV viewing and increased advertising accountability, is direct response television (DRTV) the future of advertising?

Stay with me.

Since the earliest days of television, direct response commercials have leveraged the technology of the times. From the USPS “send your check or money order to P.O. Box …” to the telephone “Don’t wait, call now!” to the Internet “Visit us online at …”, the evolution continues, and DRTV stands at the threshold of a giant leap forward.

Take for example the TiVo and PayPal announcement about their game-changing alignment designed to give TiVo viewers the power to buy advertised products with their remote and pay for them safely and securely through PayPal. Wow. Suddenly advertisers can turn 30-second spots and interactive TiVo placements into “actionable purchasing opportunities.” In other words, TiVo and PayPal just opened a new line to the cash register. But what it all boils down to is a new spin on DRTV.

“We see television as the newest channel in commerce,” said Scott Dunlap, vice president of emerging opportunities and new ventures for PayPal. “Teaming up with TiVo will help us connect merchants and consumers via the TV set in the fastest and safest way possible. We are excited about the prospect of delivering a more complete and seamless couch commerce experience.”

A “seamless couch commerce experience.” No doubt this evolving technology will make buying products on television as easy as everything else TiVo offers. So what are the key implications for advertisers and agencies?

Greater Levels of Accountability

Determining the success and ROI of an ad spot will be easier than ever. Measuring its response rate and actual sales via PayPal will enable advertisers to evaluate a spot’s impact more accurately. If the spot works, break out the champagne. If not, what then? Partnering with an agency that understands the nuances of direct response — and how to revise creative or media strategy quickly and effectively — will be critical.

Harder-Working Creative

Creative utilizing this technology will need to sell. Instead of generating emotion and awareness, it must motivate viewers to click the remote and take action on the spot. Advertisers may consider versioning spots. By leveraging TiVo’s targeting capabilities, multiple versions of one spot could be tailored, featuring different offers for different markets. This can make the spot more relevant and appealing to the viewer and thereby increase response rates.

Savvier Offers

Not every offer is right for a DRTV approach. The TiVo/PayPal combo will entice advertisers who have never used DRTV before to try it. Invariably, they’re going to run direct response spots for products and services that are positioned poorly for this advertising method: spots missing a product demonstration or failing to use an incentive when an incentive is crucial. Advertisers will need to develop DRTV know-how, and this is only possible through hard experience or bringing in people who know what they’re doing.

While TV has been an important channel in the digital commerce arena for years, the TiVo/PayPal alliance and other trends will attract a wider range of advertisers than ever before. For DRTV to be the future of advertising, however, advertisers and their agencies must educate themselves about the connection between the ads they create and the actions they want viewers to take. As soon as they become skilled at making this connection work, a new era in accountable, response-driven television advertising will begin.

Jim Madsen is a Copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

Read original article here.

Smart TVs, Smart Advertisers

smart tvs smart advertisersMediaPost - At consumer electronics events globally, much attention is being paid to the launch of “Ultra HD” televisions. Yet the real news for advertisers is coming from introductions of smart TVs, like Samsung’s “Smart Hub,” that not only allow apps to be used when watching television, but provide improved gesture and voice interactivity -- you can point with your finger or use your voice to search for content or change channels. 

In and of itself, this may not be major news, but it presages a time when smart TVs will be as common as smartphones. It may take five years or perhaps even longer, but inevitably, smart TVs will revolutionize advertising -- especially advertising that requests a response from viewers. 

Consider that in recent years, there has been a trend toward spots that include a response vehicle -- an 800 number to call or a URL to click. Those of us in the Direct Response Television (DRTV) advertising business know that conversion rates increase when viewers are able to respond quickly and easily and receive the information they seek about an advertised product or service with equal speed and facility. 

We have made quantum leaps since the early days of DRTV in improving the quality and professionalism of the 800 number response process -- service representatives are better trained and computers provider faster access to requested information. Similarly, when television commercials direct viewers to click on URLs, they may well find themselves navigating to a “dedicated” site -- one designed specifically to pay off the promise of the spot that the viewer just watched.

So the current system is highly effective. Yet we also know that two obstacles stand in the way of a call or a click: lag time and device-switching. In terms of the former, we know that if people don’t respond immediately after watching a spot, they are unlikely to respond at all. They don’t feel like calling the number on the screen or using their computer to go online for any number of reasons (they’re paying attention to the next commercial airing or the program they were watching is back on or they just don’t feel like getting off the couch). Lag time, then, is a challenge for advertisers.

So too is device-switching. While some people watch television with a phone in their hand and a computer on their lap, they are the exception rather than the rule. Some viewers are reluctant to leave one device for another.  Thus, an opportunity is missed for a response.

Now consider what would happen if people had the capacity to watch a commercial and while it’s airing say to the television:

“I’m interested; I’d like more information.” 

Instantly, they would be connected through their television to a live service representative. No lag time. No device-switching.

Imagine what else a smart TV might be capable of. During the airing of the spot, a particular feature strikes the viewer as compelling. They might say to the television: “Tell me more about your new and improved widget.” Immediately, a new sub-commercial would air, focusing on that particular widget feature.      

The possibilities are endless. For instance, let’s say a viewer is watching a car commercial and he’s intrigued by the car being advertised. He says to the television: “I’d like to test drive that car.” Thirty minutes later, a car salesperson arrives at his home with the car.

And of course, some people may not need more information to order; they may take advantage of the smart TV technology by ordering the product or service before the commercial finishes airing. 

In our industry, interactive television has been more a much-discussed concept than a reality, but as smart TVs become the norm, things will change. Samsung is clearly ahead of the game, but competitors will catch up. As technologies converge and smartphone apps translate to television, people will find it easier to respond to commercials than ever before.

When that happens, every commercial will be a direct-response one. With the capacity to respond immediately and easily to viewers, what advertiser won’t take advantage of this sales capability?

Bill McCabe is the President/CEO at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

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The Whole Story - Media Double Acts

By: Mike Bloxham

media double actsThe growing multitude of media devices and channels available to us has made media multitasking more complex. This USA TouchPoints analysis looks at which pairs of media devices are most commonly used at different times of the week.

The data within USA TouchPoints is provided throughout the day by respondents in half-hour increments. This makes it possible to investigate how behavior differs by time of day, impossible to determine with next day recall or one-off surveys.

As a result, it is possible to understand which media double acts occur most frequently and what reach they deliver among Adults 18-64 by day part and day of week.

For this analysis, we have compared the standard working day of 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. with the evening — defined as 5 p.m.-11 p.m. (True, not New York media community hours, but perhapas more in line with the general population.) We also looked at media most commonly used within the same half-hour.

One notable finding is the extent to which we see the same devices occurring within the seven media pairings that deliver highest reach. While there is theoretically room for as many as many as 14 different candidates, there are in fact only five: Computer, Mobile Phone, TV, Radio and Print.

TV appears most frequently (fours times), which is not surprising, given how much time we spend with it and considering we watch in an environment compatible with other media use. Mobile Phone, Computer and Radio all feature three times — speaking to their ubiquity throughout the day — and print just once.

While some may expect TV to dominate the findings, things are not so clear cut. For example, more people use a computer and a mobile phone in the same half hour on a weekday than any other combination, though this slips to third place behinds Mobile and TV and Computer and TV on the weekends, when far fewer people are working in offices and computer use declines.

Computer / Mobile is most distinctly dominant during the work day in the week, but tails off markedly into the evening as time with TV increases and the hierarchy of device combinations is impacted.

The strength of the Mobile Phone within the various device combinations is a reflection not only of it’s ubiquity but of the multiplicity of functions. Most of which can demand little in terms of time commitment. Also, as a communications device the Mobile is both perennially available and the one device that has the ability to “interrupt” wherever you are.

Understanding which media combinations are most likely to be used by a given audience at different times of the day or week will increasingly help shape media plans and budget allocation — particularly as such insights become linked to other behaviors, such as shopping trips, visits to QSRs, restaurants and the movies. The result: creative will be shaped to leverage accordingly.

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New Study Confirms Correlation Between Twitter and TV Ratings

Source: Nielsen

U.S. TV viewers are taking to Twitter to talk about TV, and the digital chatter is building steam. According to SocialGuide, 32 million unique people in the U.S. Tweeted about TV in 2012. That’s quite the confab, but what does it all really mean for the TV industry? Should networks and advertisers be paying attention? Early research on the subject from Nielsen and SocialGuide says yes.

By analyzing Tweets about live TV, the study confirmed a relationship between Twitter and TV ratings. It also identified Twitter as one of three statistically significant variables (in addition to prior-year rating and advertising spend) to align with TV ratings.

“While prior-year rating accounts for the lion’s share of the variability in TV ratings, Twitter’s presence as a top three influencer tells us that Tweeting about live TV may affect program engagement,” said Andrew Somosi, CEO of SocialGuide. “We expected to see a correlation between Twitter and TV ratings, but this study quantifies the strength of that relationship.”

Much of the correlation is being driven by the rise in media consumption across multiple device screens. We know that 80% of U.S. tablet and smartphone owners who watch TV use their device while watching at least several times a month. We also know that 40% of U.S. tablet and smartphone users visit a social network while watching TV.

How well does Twitter align with TV program ratings? The recent Nielsen/SocialGuide study confirmed that increases in Twitter volume correlate to increases in TV ratings for varying age groups, revealing a stronger correlation for younger audiences. Specifically, the study found that for 18-34 year olds, an 8.5% increase in Twitter volume corresponds to a 1% increase in TV ratings for premiere episodes, and a 4.2% increase in Twitter volume corresponds with a 1% increase in ratings for midseason episodes. Additionally, a 14.0% increase in Twitter volume is associated with a 1% increase in TV program ratings for 35-49 year olds, reflecting a stronger relationship between Twitter and TV for younger audiences.

Percent Increase In Twitter GraphFurther, the study found that the correlation between Tweets and TV ratings strengthens for midseason episodes for both age groups. An increase in Twitter volume of 4.2% and 8.4% is associated with a 1% increase in ratings for 18-34 year olds and 35-49 year olds, respectively. Moreover, by midseason Twitter was responsible for more of the variance in ratings for 18-34 year olds than advertising spend.

“The TV industry is dynamic and it was important for us to analyze multiple variables to truly understand Twitter’s impact on TV ratings,” said Mike Hess, Executive Vice President of Media Analytics for Nielsen. “While our study doesn’t prove causality, the correlation we uncovered is significant and we will continue our research to deepen the industry’s understanding of this relationship.”

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Alternate Screens Expand TV, Video Audience

Mobile TV Thumbsby Mark Walsh

TV may still be king, but the fragmenting video landscape has increasingly challenged media buyers in how and where they allocate budgets in a multiscreen world. Given that 120 million people in the U.S. now have smartphones, and 57 million own tablets, the potential viewing audience beyond the TV screen has grown enormously in recent years.
 
“There’s some real numbers here that will wake people up if you shake them a little bit," said Lynn Bolger, executive vice president advertising solutions, at comScore, during a presentation Friday at the OMMA Video Summit conference. She noted that adoption of tablets has been especially swift, rising much faster than for smartphones.
 
That has translated into rapid growth in the mobile video audience, which has grown 282% (across smartphones and tablets) during 2012 compared to just 8% on PCs. Keep in mind that mobile video was starting from a much smaller base -- rising from 2 million to 14 million, compared to 32 million to 38 million on the desktop screen.
 
Bolger pointed out that people are overwhelmingly (91%) using tablets at home, typically in the living room and bedroom. Hence, the rise of two-screen viewing. More than half (53%) of those surveyed by comScore said they use their tablet while watching TV, with more than half of that group (56%) doing activities related to what they are watching.
 
When it comes to time of day, tablets are used mostly in the evening, in line with TV prime-time hours. Regardless of when and were people are using tablets, they are also the preferred device for mobile browsing and app use. People spent twice as much time on the mobile Web on iPads on average compared to iPhones, and seven times as long with apps.
 
Looking more broadly at the digital audience across devices, comScore estimates the unduplicated audience on PCs, tablets and smartphones in the U.S. at about 235 million. Through its new cross-platform measurement service, the company has also begun to rank digital properties based on their combined desktop Web, video and mobile audience.
 
More mobile-centric companies like Zynga, Pandora, AccuWeather and Groupon have seen the biggest gains from the inclusion of mobile traffic. But Bolger pointed out that traditional publishers -- including The New York Times and ESPN -- have also seen a boost in incremental traffic coming from mobile, at 77% and 41%, respectively.
 
Vimeo, Hulu, Sony Online, Disney Online and Discovery saw the biggest audience gains coming from video channels. Focusing just on traffic on smartphones and tablets, Disney, Discovery, Dow Jones and The Weather Channel had the largest share coming from tablets, at about 30% each.
 
Citing research that comScore has done in relation to sports TV content, Bolger said the firm has found audiences on alternative screens are adding to the video audience rather than duplicating the TV audience. 

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U.S. Digital TV Users Soaring

Guy Watching Digital ProgramBy Wayne Friedman

U.S. digital TV users are climbing faster than expected.

The number of U.S. digital TV users -- those who view at least one TV show per month via the Internet -- will climb 37% in four years to 145 million in 2017, from 106 million in 2012. This amounts to digital TV user growth climbing at a 6.9% compound annual growth rate -- a higher increase than previously forecast in August 2012 by eMarketer.

Next year, it says digital TV viewers will cross a critical tipping point -- surpassing 50% of the U.S. Internet user population. Those users who watch at least one movie per month on any Internet-capable device will climb to 115 million in 2017 from nearly 80 million in 2012, a 9.7% annual growth rate.

A Belkin and Harris Interactive survey of U.S. Internet users said 12% would consider replacing their cable or satellite subscription with a streaming media subscription, such as Netflix or Hulu Plus in 2013. A total of 30% of respondents were inclined to at least consider cord-cutting.

Still, another 37% "strongly disagreed" when asked whether they would consider replacing cable and satellite with only digital Internet TV.

Evidence of growing digital TV/movie usage, says eMarketer, comes from Netflix -- which reported U.S. streaming revenues of $2.19 billion for 2012, growing moderately from quarter-to-quarter, with its U.S. rental DVD revenues totaling $1.14 billion and declining each quarter.

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What a Difference the Day(Part) Makes

Source: Nielsen

Knowing when consumers are watching TV is just as important as knowing what they’re watching. Without this insight, marketers would need to schedule their advertising to run 24 hours a day to ensure they were reaching their consumers. To that end, Nielsen’s Advertising and Audiences Report tunes in to the amount of traditional TV consumers in the U.S. watch at different parts of the day, which varies greatly among different income and education levels.

Overall, the report shows that higher education and income levels were correlated with less TV usage, particularly at the early and late parts of the day. For example, homes with a head of household who did not attend college watches more TV in the morning and daytime than all other groups. This group watches an average of 1 hour and 18 minutes during the morning rush and 2 hours and 5 minutes during the day, respectively.

Conversely, the need for sleep is more important among homes with higher income and education levels. For example, homes where the head of household has four or more years of college watch an average of 52 minutes of TV during the late night and a mere 48 minutes in the morning. The average home logs an hour and 5 minutes of late-night TV daily and nearly the same amount during the morning hours.

We will include more insights on viewership trends in the full Advertising and Audiences report, which we will release later this week.

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TV Usage Dayparts

TV Advertising Goes Cross-Channel: Threat Or Opportunity?

digital mediaBy: Jim Nail

I just wrapped up my report on the future of television: “Digital Disruption Rattles the TV Ad Market.” And, while I was interviewing and exchanging views with advertisers and senior TV industry executives, a clear and surprising find emerged…

I wasn’t surprised to hear visions of dynamically targeted ads to deliver the right message to the right household. Neither was I surprised by the dream of synching messaging on the living room screen to the screen in people’s hands. Nor was I surprised that many in the industry still want to shoehorn these new ad opportunities into the old Nielsen rating model of the TV ad market.

What surprised me was the general optimistic outlook that these new developments will bring even more dollars to the TV ad market.

For decades, talk of the impact of cable television, VCRs, DVRs, online advertising, etc. has usually predicted the end of TV’s reign as marketing’s most powerful medium. New technologies would sap advertising effectiveness and splinter the audience. New advertising opportunities would be more engaging and measureable than the soft branding of TV.

But the fact is the opposite happened: TV is stronger and more important than ever. Even as prime time TV audiences have shrunk, fragmenting across hundreds of channels on the cable spectrum, the rest of the media landscape has fragmented and faded even faster.

But perhaps I should amend my statement that TV is more important than ever: something like “video entertainment content originally created to be broadcast on television networks is stronger and more important than ever.” As these programs find new audiences, on new devices, at new times in viewers’ lives, it creates opportunities for video advertising to draw more dollars and more advertisers to it.

But the box we call a “television” is not the only device on which people view video entertainment content. And broadband internet is rapidly joining coax cable and satellite connections as the superhighway to bring this content to viewers.

As a result, live viewing audiences are declining and new kinds of viewing and engagement – along with opportunities to get high-impact marketing messages in front of the audience – are emerging. But current responses like pushing for a C7 measurement standard or simply bundling online views into packages with live views are only short-term reactions that ultimately must fail.

It is fascinating to watch as programmers, cable and satellite providers, and advertisers try to catch up to this fast-moving change in consumers’ viewing behaviors.

Join me at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum “Create Brand Advantage with the Perpetually Connected Customer” in Los Angeles April 18-19 where I’ll be presenting details of my new research.

Where better to talk about the future of television than in LA!

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Recording TV Content Is Popular, But Many Shows Are Never Watched

DVR ImageBy: Wayne Friedman

TV time-shifting -- the activity of consumers and their DVRs -- can be wasteful.

A new study says about a third (36%) of all worldwide recorded TV content is never watched. In the U.S. that number is higher -- 41%, per Motorola Mobility's annual media survey.

Consumers behavior with recorded content comes in different variations. For example, 72% are "hoarders" -- recording to collect the "box-set" of a specific TV program.

The reasons for recording: 77% record because there is other content airing at the same time that the viewer would prefer to watch live, while 68% globally record to skip ads on commercial channels. It's higher in the U.K. and the U.S, where this reason scores 75% and 74% respectively.

Motorola says that almost a third -- 29% -- of global weekly TV viewing is of recorded content.

Overall TV viewing says the average consumer watches 19 hours of TV content and six hours of movie content a week.  The U.S. is at the top of the list among countries --  23 hours of TV and six hours of movies watched each week. The lowest TV consumption is seen in Sweden and Japan, at 15 hours and two hours, respectively.

Concerning new technology, consumers want to be able to move content between devices more easily, and 76% would be interested in a service that automatically loaded content a user liked to their mobile phone or tablet.

Tablet users are more likely than non-tablet owners to use a service provider’s TV catch-up service  -- 47% versus 31%.

Motorola Mobility’s Media Engagement Barometer says it's an independent global study of video consumption habits among 9,500 consumers in 17 countries.

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Ad-Supported Cable Ups TV's Viewing Numbers, Time-Shifted TV Climbs


By: Wayne Friedman

Couple Watching TVFirst-quarter 2013 so far has brought more overall TV viewing for U.S. consumers -- with ad-supported cable TV a big contributor, as well as "other" TV viewing.

The average hours of TV viewing per person per week climbed to 36 hours, up from 35.6 hours in the first quarter of 2012. This was down from 2011 total at 36.2 hours and higher that the 35 hours in 2008, according to a Turner Broadcasting research report via Nielsen data through March 10.

Ad-supported cable TV contributed 17.9 hours, up from 17.6 hours the two previous years. All this occurred while the four broadcast networks viewing dipped again, down to 8.4 hours from 8.5 hours in 2012. The broadcast networks were at 9.4 hours in 2008.

Another major factor are networks in the "other" category: Turner includes the CW, ION, the Spanish-language broadcast networks, other independent networks, Disney, premium pay channels and all other tuning. This category was up to 9.7 hours from 9.4 hours in the first quarter of 2012. This category was at 9.1 hours in 2008.

Although time-shifted viewing has generally taken some inroads in total viewing, the first quarter of 2013 so far has seen live viewing actually inch up to 32.9 hours a week from 32.8 hours. In 2008, live viewing was at 33.6 hours per week per person.

Time-shifted viewing also climbed during the period -- now at 3.0 hours a week per person up over 2.8 hours a year ago. Time shifting viewing was at 1.4 hours in 2008.

Turner now says as of February 2013, digital-video recorders are in 47% or all TV homes and 50% of all TV viewers, up from 43.3% and 46.0% respectively. In 2008, DVRs were in 23% of TV homes and 25.3% of all TV viewers.

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Satellite Adds Video Subscribers, Cable Dips

By: Wane Friedman

U.S. multichannel video subscribers eked out a small gain in 2012 -- coming from satellite and telco distributors.

SNL Kagan says the three TV distribution platforms added 46,000 video customers in 2012, getting to 100.4 million consumers. Kagan says the three primary TV platforms now account for 84.7% of the occupied homes in the U.S., down from a high point of 87.3% in first quarter of 2010.

Most of that gain appears to have come in the fourth quarter, where Kagan says all the multichannel service providers in the U.S. collectively added 51,000 new customers. It says there were seasonally weak second and third quarters erased a 2012 first-quarter bump.

Cable TV distributors continued to lose ground, now at 56.4 million -- but still the biggest U.S. TV multichannel distributor -- a loss of 1.66 million subscribers versus 2011. The year before it lost 1.8 million.

Satellite TV distributors grew slightly, adding 288,000 customers to 34.1 million. Telco TV companies continued to have the biggest rise -- 1.4 million to 9.9 million, respectively. This area had a 1.6 million gain in 2011.

Kagan says "the modest fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 subscriber growth suggests the segment is not rebounding with the broader economy, and customer formation is lagging the rebounding housing market."

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TV, Twitter Share A Ratings Relationship

By: Wayne Friedman

Woman watching TVTV-related social media activity does have a relationship to TV ratings. But does it cause TV ratings to climb? Nielsen says it has no proof -- yet.


In looking at an recent study Nielsen compiled with SocialGuide, its social TV measurement unit, it says there is a "statistically significant relationship" between Twitter volume and TV ratings.

For example, in evaluating the fall 2012 premiere TV program ratings of over 140 broadcast and cable programs, an 8.5% increase in Twitter activity was associated with a 1% rise in TV program ratings among 18- to-34-year-old viewers.

A higher volume of Twitter activity was needed for older viewers to be associated with the same TV rating movement. Nielsen says a 14% increase in Twitter volume was associated with a 1% rise in in TV program ratings for 35- to-49-year-olds.

Looking at the regular fall 2012 season episodes, the Twitter association is stronger in connection to TV program ratings. A 4.2% rise in Twitter volume is associated with a 1% rise in ratings among 18- to-34-year-olds. There was an 8.4% rise in this social media Twitter activity is connected with a 1% climb in ratings among 35- to-49-year-olds.

Mike Hess, executive vice president of media analytics for Nielsen, stated: “While our study doesn’t prove causality, the correlation we uncovered is significant, and we will continue our research to deepen the industry’s understanding of this relationship.”

Nielsen says its analysis included a list of other variables that could impact ratings, such as ad spend, prior-year rating, promotional spend, and differences in age and gender.

While most of these factors have a logical relationship with TV ratings, its analysis looked at "statistically significant alignment" with TV ratings. Three factors showed this: prior-year ratings, ad spend and Twitter volume.

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Local Spots Prove Cheaper Than Network Scatter Ads

By: Wayne Friedman

For years the traditional wisdom was that buying local spot TV advertising is always more expensive than buying broadcast network television -- on a comparable national basis.

But the TVB, the advertising trade association for TV stations -- with the help of TV research company SQAD and its data estimates -- now says that in many more dayparts, local spot is cheaper than buying broadcast network TV scatter commercials.

For example, the TVB notes that second-quarter late-night network scatter for the adults 25-54 demographic will average $37.19 in the cost per thousand viewers (CPM) while spot TV is averaging $19.19.

In addition, morning broadcast network TV is 47% more expensive than local spot among 25-54 viewers for the second quarter of 2013 ($23.78 CPMs for network, $16.20 CPMs for local spot) and early news TV broadcast programming is 11% higher-priced than local TV spot among 25-54 viewers ($25.75 for network, $23.12 for local spot).

One veteran media agency executive is shocked by these numbers: "I have never seen anything higher than around $18 or $20 for adults 25-54 or 18-49 [in late-night network programming]." He maintains: "Local TV is generally less efficient that national TV."

The group also notes that broadcast network scatter CPMs rose faster from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year -- 32% -- in adults 25-54 CPMs than a rise during the same period for local TV spot CPMs, which witnessed a 10% hike.

TVB also says "spot TV prime CPMs are right on par with network scatter." Those came in at a $50.20 CPMs second-quarter projection for broadcast network; $50.39 CPMs for local spot.

Jack Poor, vice president of marketing insights for the TVB, stated: “Based on the analysis of the second quarter 2013 SQAD data, it is clearly incorrect to conclude that it’s more efficient for an advertiser to default to a national network scatter approach."

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A. Eicoff & Company Growth and Increased Spend on DRTV Advertising Nationwide Signals Industry-Wide Movement to Longer, Direct Response Ads

Industry Analysis Shows 99% Increase in DRTV Spend Over Five Year Period, while :120 Spots Increased 117% over same Time-frame; Eicoff is Largest Buyer of :120 Spots Nationwide

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) March 12, 2013

Longer television advertising spots that enable marketers to tell a story, motivating viewers to respond via 800 number calls, web site clicks or store visits, are becoming increasingly important marketing channels for businesses nationwide. A. Eicoff & Company, the leader in direct response TV(DRTV) advertising, has experienced this trend firsthand, growing its business 20 percent year-over-year in 2012. This growth is in part a result of the increase in overall industry spending and usage of two-minute and direct response commercials. Overall spending on :120 commercial spots has increased 117 percent from $638 million in 2007 to $1.39 billion in 2012 according to Kantar Media. During that same time period, spend on direct response TV (DRTV) ads increased by 99 percent.

“Longer, direct response commercials enable advertisers to tell a story, increase brand recognition and most importantly, prompt target audiences to act,” said Bill McCabe, president and CEO of A. Eicoff & Company. “DRTV ads also better serve the Internet age, as they can draw viewers online to further engage. The Super Bowl is a great example, where we’re seeing more one and two minute spots containing direct response vehicles – like a URL or phone number - that let consumers strike up a conversation and really connect with the brand. As the largest DRTV ad agency and buyer of two-minute spots nationwide, we have experienced these trends firsthand and are poised to help even more clients make the transition as DRTV advertising best practices become the industry norm.”

Orders from TV Advertising on the Rise

• In correlation to the spend increase on longer, direct response commercial spots, Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons National Consumer Study shows that overall orders as a direct response from TV advertisements are on the rise.

• TV orders from a combination of online, phone and catalog increased 17 percent from the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012 and 30 percent from spring 2006 to spring 2012.

• Online orders have increased the most significantly over the same time period, growing 23 percent year-over-year from the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012 and 115 percent from the spring of 2006 to the spring of 2012.

• Consumer spending as a direct response to TV advertising has also increased. Experian Marketing Services reports that consumers who spend more than $1000 annually as a direct result of TV ads increased 26 percent between the spring of 2006 and spring of 2012. During this same time period, there was a 35 percent increase in consumers who spent $150-$199 annually and a 5 percent decrease in those spending less than $50 per year.

• Consumers are also spending more money online as a result of TV offers. Experian Marketing Services reports in the spring of 2006, 865,000 consumers spent over $1,000 online annually as a direct result of TV ads and in the spring of 2012 that number climbed to 1.7 million consumers, an increase of 97 percent.

 

A. Eicoff at the Forefront of DRTV Trend and Industry Growth

An ongoing focus on data, customer centricity and accountability has enabled A. Eicoff & Company to thrive in a changing market. Advertising industry trends, combined with Eicoff’s ability to recognize the importance of accountability in television, have led to the agency’s growth and ability to deliver results. In 2012, Eicoff business milestones included:

• 20 percent year-over-year revenue growth in calendar year 2012

• 12 new clients signed during the year, signaling ongoing adoption of DRTV best practices

• Larger, established brands like TD Ameritrade, Chase Bank, Lenovo and Genworth Financial have worked with Eicoff to establish DRTV strategies

• The design and development of Eicoff proprietary software to track real-time analytics incorporating both offline and online ad data to provide sophisticated metrics to clients

• Appointment of Bill McCabe as the agency’s new CEO – the third in the agency’s 54 years in business. McCabe was named to Crain’s Chicago Business “Who’s Who” in 2012.

• Increased opportunities for advertisers to target new markets and conduct language testing – i.e. Spanish, Polish, Asian and more – is a unique differentiator for Eicoff that drove additional business throughout 2012

To download the infographic related to today’s news, please go to http://www.eicoff.com/drtv-news/drtv-blog.

Click to Tweet: @Eicoff – New report: Research shows advertising industry shifts to longer length, direct response spots; A. Eicoff at forefront of the trend. Click to tweet:http://clicktotweet.com/a3R8j

About Experian Marketing Services


Experian Marketing Services is a global provider of integrated consumer insight, targeting and interactive marketing. We help brands from around the world intelligently interact with today’s dynamic, empowered and hyper-connected consumers. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, we enable marketers to plan and execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximize profits. We call it Marketing Forward. For more information, please visit http://www.experian.com/marketingservices.

About A. Eicoff & Company


Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the country. The company was founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff, who understood that television had the ability to function as a store and that media rates were a negotiable commodity. The phrase “or your money back” was coined by Alvin, and the 800 number came into being, in part, because of his vision and direction for the television advertising industry. In 1982, A. Eicoff & Company became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

Andrea Cousens
Cousens Communications
310-270-8903
Email Information

 

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First Release Of Actual TV Buying Data Shows It's Still Madison Ave's Alpha Medium (But Oh, The Oprah Effect)

by Joe Mandese

In what may be the first public accounting of the actual supply and demand of media compiled directly from the data processing systems of major agency holding companies, television is showing incredible resilience as Madison Avenue’s alpha medium. Despite the hyper-fragmentation and onslaught of new media options, TV took nearly two-thirds (62.4%) of all the ad dollars spent by major agency holding companies during 2012, according to data provided to MediaDailyNews by Standard Media Index. 

The data, which comes directly from the systems used by four of the Big 6 holding companies -- Aegis, Havas, Interpublic and Publicis (see Wednesday’s story) -- is the most empirical view yet of actual media-buying behavior among major ad agencies, because it is based on their actual buys, not the kind of estimates supplied by third-party syndicated researchers or industry analysts. It shows that overall demand for television remains constant, with total TV ad dollars rising 6.5% during 2012, about the same rate of expansion (6.9%) as the total ad dollars spent by those agencies that year.
 
Even more interesting patterns begin to emerge when you drill into specific sectors of the TV advertising marketplace (see table below), including the fact that demand for broadcast network television was among the strongest, with broadcast network ad spending rising 10% over 2011.
 
Much of that incremental growth no doubt was attributable to NBC, which aired the London Olympic Games during the third quarter. Advertising buys on NBC rose 51% over 2011, making it the only broadcast network other than Spanish-language broadcaster Univision (+10%) to show any growth last year. Ad buys on CBS were flat, ABC’s declined 1% and Fox’s declined 5%, according to the SMI data.
 
While most other sectors of television showed healthy growth in 2012, one, syndication, declined precipitously, falling 12.7% from 2011.
 
The decline in advertising buys in television syndication does not correspond with any loss of audience share among the major television syndicators, but it does follow the loss of a major, high-demand, and likely high-dollar source of advertising buys: “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which went off the air in September 2011.
 
 
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Copy of A. Eicoff & Company Growth and Increased Spend on DRTV Advertising Nationwide Signals Industry-Wide Movement to Longer, Direct Response Ads

Industry Analysis Shows 99% Increase in DRTV Spend Over Five Year Period,while :120 Spots Increased 117% over same Timeframe; Eicoff is Largest Buyer of :120 Spots Nationwide 

Chicago, IL – March 12, 2013 – Longer television advertising spots that enable marketers to tell a story, motivating viewers to respond via 800 number calls, web site clicks or store visits, are becoming increasingly important marketing channels for businesses nationwide. A. Eicoff & Company, the leader in direct response TV (DRTV) advertising, has experienced this trend firsthand, growing its business 20 percent year-over-year in 2012. This growth is in part a result of the increase in overall industry spending and usage of two-minute and direct response commercials. Overall spending on :120 commercial spots has increased 117 percent from $638 million in 2007 to $1.39 billion in 2012 according to Kantar Media. During that same time period, spend on direct response TV (DRTV) ads increased by 99 percent.

“Longer, direct response commercials enable advertisers to tell a story, increase brand recognition and most importantly, prompt target audiences to act,” said Bill McCabe, president and CEO of A. Eicoff & Company. “DRTV ads also better serve the Internet age, as they can draw viewers online to further engage. The Super Bowl is a great example, where we’re seeing more one and two minute spots containing direct response vehicles – like a URL or phone number - that let consumers strike up a conversation and really connect with the brand. As the largest DRTV ad agency and buyer of two-minute spots nationwide, we have experienced these trends firsthand and are poised to help even more clients make the transition as DRTV advertising best practices become the industry norm.”

 Orders from TV Advertising on the Rise

• In correlation to the spend increase on longer, direct response commercial spots, Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons National Consumer Study shows that overall orders as a direct response from TV advertisements are on the rise.

• TV orders from a combination of online, phone and catalog increased 17 percent from the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012 and 30 percent from spring 2006 to spring 2012.

• Online orders have increased the most significantly over the same time period, growing 23 percent year-over-year from the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012 and 115 percent from the spring of 2006 to the spring of 2012.

• Consumer spending as a direct response to TV advertising has also increased. Experian Marketing Services reports that consumers who spend more than $1000 annually as a direct result of TV ads increased 26 percent between the spring of 2006 and spring of 2012. During this same time period, there was a 35 percent increase in consumers who spent $150-$199 annually and a 5 percent decrease in those spending less than $50 per year.

• Consumers are also spending more money online as a result of TV offers. Experian Marketing Services reports in the spring of 2006, 865,000 consumers spent over $1,000 online annually as a direct result of TV ads and in the spring of 2012 that number climbed to 1.7 million consumers, an increase of 97 percent.

 

A. Eicoff at the Forefront of DRTV Trend and Industry Growth

An ongoing focus on data, customer centricity and accountability has enabled A. Eicoff & Company to thrive in a changing market. Advertising industry trends, combined with Eicoff’s ability to recognize the importance of accountability in television, have led to the agency’s growth and ability to deliver results. In 2012, Eicoff business milestones included:

• 20 percent year-over-year revenue growth in calendar year 2012  

• 12 new clients signed during the year, signaling ongoing adoption of DRTV best practices

• Larger, established brands like TD Ameritrade, Chase Bank, Lenovo and Genworth Financial have worked with Eicoff to establish DRTV strategies

• The design and development of Eicoff proprietary software to track real-time analytics incorporating both offline and online ad data to provide sophisticated metrics to clients

• Appointment of Bill McCabe as the agency’s new CEO – the third in the agency’s 54 years in business. McCabe was named to Crain’s Chicago Business “Who’s Who” in 2012.

• Increased opportunities for advertisers to target new markets and conduct language testing – i.e. Spanish, Polish, Asian and more – is a unique differentiator for Eicoff that drove additional business throughout 2012

 

To download the infographic related to today’s news, please visit A. Eicoff & Compay's blog.

Click to Tweet: @Eicoff – New report: Research shows advertising industry shifts to longer length, direct response spots; A. Eicoff at forefront of the trend.  Click to tweet: http://clicktotweet.com/a3R8j

 

About Experian Marketing Services

Experian Marketing Services is a global provider of integrated consumer insight, targeting and interactive marketing. We help brands from around the world intelligently interact with today’s dynamic, empowered and hyper-connected consumers. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, we enable marketers to plan and execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximize profits. We call it Marketing Forward. For more information, please visit http://www.experian.com/marketingservices.

 

About A. Eicoff & Company

Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the country. The company was founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff, who understood that television had the ability to function as a store and that media rates were a negotiable commodity. The phrase “or your money back” was coined by Alvin, and the 800 number came into being, in part, because of his vision and direction for the television advertising industry. In 1982, A. Eicoff & Company became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

Contacts:

Andrea Cousens                                   

A. Eicoff & Company             

Phone: 310-270-8903            

andrea@cousenscomms.com     

Despite Cord Cutting, TV Dominates Advertising

By: Wayne Friedman


Cord CuttingPay-TV cord cutting will be minimal over the next several years. And while traditional TV viewership is in decline, TV will easily remain the most dominant platform for advertisers in years to come.

"Even though some consumers are cutting the cord, reducing their subscriptions, or not subscribing when starting a new home, the impact to the pay TV industry over at least the next five years will be minimal," says PwC's Cord Cutting and the Second Screen report.

PwC says there are multiple concerns about cord cutting, "cord trimming" and those who will never "cord" -- young viewers who never becoming pay TV subscribers.

Still, TV will continue to have major sway. The company notes that TV advertising influences on those 18+ are 37% compared with newspapers at 11%; Internet; 6%; and mobile, 4%. Other research, from eMarketer, says TV remains the dominant platform for advertising at 39% market share versus 22% for the Internet.

"While consumers are spending more of their media time on mobile and Internet-enabled devices, TV viewership remains strong... certain comedy and drama content, live sports, reality TV, award ceremonies, and other exclusive content remain largely real-time programming not conducive to time shifting," notes PwC. It also cites TV as a "communal activity that cannot easily be replaced."

Still, estimates are that there will be a 0.9% TV viewership decline annually through 2017 due to increased online consumption of TV programming.

Screen-screen activity continues to grow. For example, Internet-protocol TV (IPTV) ownership doubled in one year to 10.4% penetration in 2011 from 4.7% in 2010. PwC says almost half of American households own gaming consoles -- which are Internet-capable and can be used to stream TV content through multiple OTT options.

Some 36 million Americans report watching video content on their mobile phones. Smartphone sales are forecast to grow to $141 billion by 2016 from $79 billion in 2011; and tablet sales are projected to grow to $100 million by 2016 from $28 billion in 2011.

Please click here for the original article. 

Why Nontent Is Your Greatest Opportunity to Sell

Girl watching vintage TV

What is nontent? Nontent is what you watch on television when you’re not really watching anything.

Nontent is your fifth consecutive “House Hunters International” episode or another History Channel retrospective on an obscure general. Or a mindless game show. Or a “Leave It to Beaver” marathon. This is nontent. The direct response television (DRTV) advertiser’s dream.

Everybody watches nontent. If they say they don’t, they’re lying. As much as people love their favorite shows, many viewers use TV to simply unwind, relax, or zone out after a hectic day. If content is what people are yearning to spend their time watching, nontent is what they’re using to escape.  And that’s where advertisers can find their greatest opportunity to sell.

The propensity for a viewer to become a buyer goes up to the degree that their involvement in what they’re watching goes down. There’s an inverse relationship between program involvement and response. In other words, if you’re bored, you’re more likely to buy. A common term for this is “impulse buying.” This is tried and true. It’s been working for DRTV advertisers for years. In fact, it was one of the principles that Alvin Eicoff used to build his DRTV agency over 50 years ago, and it still stands today.

Facts About Impulse Buying

Consider some of the facts according to the US Department of Commerce.

    • Impulse buying is big business. It is estimated that 40% of all money spent is through impulse buying.
    • - 60% of females made an impulse purchase in 2011.
    • - 90% of people make an occasional impulse purchase, and between 30-50% of all purchases were classified by the buyers themselves as impulse purchases.
    • - Younger consumers with higher incomes have a greater percentage of impulse purchases.

The business implications: Reach people at the right time with the right message—even when they’re not planning a purchase—and you’re likely to secure a sale.

So, how can you be sure to take advantage of the right time slots to draw your audience in? Here are a few questions to consider before planning your next advertising campaign.

    • - Given the demographics of the target audience, are they more likely to respond to my offer while at home watching television? If so, what type of programming are they likely to watch during off-time to unwind?
    • - What type of advertisement and offer is going to entice my audience to make an immediate purchase or act on another call to action?
    • - Does the majority of my target market spend more time watching television or using iPads, web-enabled mobile devices, or other types of new media?

Your answers to these questions will help define your strategy in terms of direct response calls to action, programming, and markets in which to air your ads.

The bigger question for advertisers looking to pursue a nontent strategy is: As the tablet and mobile phenomenon continues to expand and as the device of choice evolves, what is the level of involvement for these tech-savvy content consumers? How does “involved viewing” breakout across the multiple screens that are an ever-increasing part of the media landscape? How much nontent is making its way to those screens?

The jury’s still out. But, rest assured, DRTV agencies and their clients are already testing these propositions. And you can also count on the fact that whether it’s a mobile device, a tablet, a computer, or some new version of the good old TV set, nontent viewers and related advertising opportunities will abound.

Mike Powell is SVP, ECD of A. Eicoff & Co.

Please click here to read the original article.


Se Habla Español? The Growing Opportunity of Hispanic Direct Response

Se Habla Español? The Growing Opportunity of Hispanic Direct Response
Se Habla Español? The Growing Opportunity of Hispanic Direct Response

The U.S. population of Hispanic consumers wields a formidable combination of fiscal optimism and buying power in excess of $1 trillion—a number expected to increase to nearly $1.5 trillion by 2015, according to theSelig Center for Economic Growth. This means that today's more acculturated Latino demographic accounts for nearly 11% of the nation's total buying power—a group capable of shaping the nation's future economic and marketing trajectory.

As such, the Spanish language market is potentially the next big trend in DRTV advertising. Consider some simple facts that indicate why this market is ripe with opportunity:

  • Sales, lead response, and conversion for Hispanic direct response campaigns have been greater than similar English language campaigns for a range of products and services. According to Simmons research, while 11% of U.S. general market consumers will make a purchase via direct response, fully 15% of U.S. Hispanics will do the same.

  • Simmons also reports that Hispanic consumers feel more respected and loyal and have higher product recall when advertised to in Spanish.

  • DRTV among Hispanics has experienced a major rise. More than 1.8 million Hispanic shoppers purchased goods and services via DRTV in 2011.

  • Recognizing these trends, a growing number of network and local Spanish language stations are seeking DRTV spots and catering to advertiser requirements.

Why then is this growing market only “potentially” the next big trend in DRTV? Because many advertisers have not yet determined a way to overcome the obstacles keeping them from launching successful Spanish language DRTV campaigns.

First, there's the combination of cost and time requirements. Yes, advertisers must direct dollars to Spanish language stations and either modify existing commercials or create new ones in order to address the needs of the Hispanic market—but despite the added effort, the cost is often much lower than most marketers think. Prevailing rates on many Spanish language stations are relatively low, and when created with the Hispanic market in mind, the majority of general market commercials “translate” easily from English to Spanish.

Second, and perhaps more problematic, is that advertisers often fail to understand the Hispanic audience. The misconception still exists that Hispanics prefer to buy in stores rather than through direct response because they prefer to pay in cash or don't own a computer or smartphone. In fact, 84% of Hispanic consumers have a credit or debit card, 93% own a mobile device, and 89% have Internet access. If anything, this audience is at least as willing to buy via DRTV as other segments of the population. Many of our clients have had great success with Spanish language DRTV spots, including Winn-Dixie, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and others.

Third, many marketers assume they will reach the Spanish language market through traditional buys. While they will no doubt reach some of this coveted market using the same channels they know, what they may not realize is Spanish language stations have changed. The quality of programming is much higher, the number of stations has multiplied, and a significant percentage of viewers are more comfortable making purchases on these channels, rather than English language stations.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, advertisers must understand that the Spanish-speaking population is not only growing rapidly, but is skewed much younger than its English-speaking counterparts. In fact, the average direct response buyer is nearly ten years younger. As a result, DRTV advertisements should be developed with these younger consumers in mind.

For too long direct response advertisers have failed to target this market effectively, both on Spanish language stations as well as in traditional DRTV media. Yet looking at the ongoing growth of the Hispanic market, as well as its spending power and influence, this is a group that cannot be underestimated and should not be ignored.

Reaching out to the U.S. Hispanic market may take a little more effort and a slightly different approach than many DRTV advertisers are accustomed to. But for those that take the time to understand Spanish-speaking market trends and opportunities—and are willing to address the audience with ocho ciento numeros (800 numbers) and other tailored response vehicles—the extra effort will be well worth it.

Steve Miller is SVP of A. Eicoff & Co.

Please click here to read the original article.

A. Eicoff & Company Receives National Association of Music Merchants Excellence Award for Music

Chicago, IL – February 26, 2013 – A. Eicoff & Company (www.eicoff.com), the leader in direct response TV (DRTV) advertising, announced today that UnitedHealthcare’s “Playing for Keeps” television advertisement, produced by Eicoff, was recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for its Excellence Award for Music on January 27, 2013. The award celebrates creative uses of musical instruments and music-making products in television commercials.

The “Playing for Keeps” DRTV advertisement, which promotes the AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans insured by UnitedHealthcare, is part of UnitedHealthcare’s Go Long marketing campaign that celebrates people going the distance, doing what they love and doing it well.

The advertisement tells the story of four individuals who found a passion for playing music together many years ago. The spot takes viewers back in time to the early 1960s, when the young, not-yet-skilled musicians first discover their spark. The ad then flash-forwards to the present day and finds they are still getting together to share that passion. And while they may not have gained fortune or fame from their music, they find they have created something very special. “Playing for Keeps” is about commitment, camaraderie, and simply giving something everything you’ve got. 

The nominated UnitedHealthcare commercial came in second out of seven mainstream ad campaigns from 2012 that featured music-making. A brief preview of the nominated advertisements for 2013 can be seen on YouTube.  

“Music resonates with audiences of all ages and ethnicities,” said Bill McCabe, President and CEO of A. Eicoff & Company. “Yet, until recently, music was not seen as an important element of direct response TV advertising. Working with our clients, we have helped to show the value that the right music can provide to a TV advertising strategy, helping products and services win the hearts and minds of a client’s target audience. The key is to find the right music content that will both connect with a specific target audience and feel authentic to the brand. We are honored NAMM recognized our work with UnitedHealthcare for doing just that.”  

About A. Eicoff & Company

Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the country. The company was founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff, who understood that television had the ability to function as a store and that media rates were a negotiable commodity. The phrase “or your money back” was coined by Alvin, and the 800 number came into being, in part, because of his vision and direction for the television advertising industry. In 1982, A. Eicoff & Company became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

Super Bowl Ads Measured In Relevancy, Audi Parks In Top Spot

By: Laurie Sullivan

MediaPost - Scoring the value of the Super Bowl XLVII these days comes down to advertising and searches, rather than scrimmages and touchdowns.

This year, Experian Marketing Services created an ad relevancy model to determine ROI and ad value.

Audi takes the top ad relevancy score of 167 when combining brand purchase behavior and the universe of brand user and Super Bowl viewer statistics, according to Experian Marketing Services. That means an estimated 67% lift in likelihood that someone will purchase from the brand when targeting the ad to the Super Bowl audience.

The model estimates Audi spent the most "per likely buyer" of any Super Bowl advertisers, based on the price tag of more than $4 million for a 30-second spot and market size of potential buyers. Rescaling the ad relevancy score to take into consideration the number of likely buyers changes the outcome; it looks at the cost of the ad per thousand likely buyers reached.

Budweiser, Best Buy, E*Trade, and Chrysler round out the top five spots, with ad relevancy scores of 133, 128, 125, and 124, respectively.

Assuming each advertiser runs one 30-second spot, the top two brands at the lowest cost per likelier buyer reached are Coke and Tide.

While Experian created a method to determine a brand's lift, Microsoft Bing analyses searches on its engine to predict the winning team. The San Francisco 49ers drive twice as many searches on Bing than the Baltimore Ravens, with the team's quarterback Colin Kaepernick leading the Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco by more than double the searches.

The sports entertainment and marketing firm said its sponsorship evaluation division, Front Row Analytics, will evaluate ads in real-time and deliver results on its Twitter @FRAnalytics or #SuperBowl24hours. The analysis will span across Web sites, television, and social media, exposure received by the National Football League and Superdome partners, as well as broadcast advertisers.

Please click here for the original article. 

TV Still Tops, But Multiscreen Viewing Commonplace

By: Wayne Friedman

MediaPost - A majority of U.S. consumers -- 60% -- still want to watch their shows on TV, but these same consumers also want their smartphones and tablets by their side.

Drilling down to other data, KPMG International said in a new report that in the U.S., 42% of consumers say they watch TV and access the Internet via a laptop or PC, while 17% watch TV and access the Web via a smartphone. The study also found that 22% watch TV and use a social networking site at the same time.

In the U.S., 40% own or intend to own a smartphone in the next 12 months, compared to 53% globally; 26% own or plan to purchase a tablet over the next 12 months, which is the same percentage globally.

Paul Wissmann, national leader of KPMG's U.S. Media & Telecommunications practice, stated: "The introduction of smart TVs is an indication of how the digital transition is accelerating to coincide with the demand of today's consumers to access anything, anywhere and at any time. The smart TV is beginning to reveal itself as the next disruptor."

In the U.S., the study said 14% of those polled prefer to watch TV via their mobile or tablet for greater flexibility -- mostly coming from what the report says are largely "mobile-centric consumers" 25-34 years old.

Urban consumers in China, Brazil and Singapore are proving to be the world's biggest users of digital/mobile media.

KPMG polled more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. and 9,000 globally.

Please click here for the original article. 

Super Bowl: 39% Prefer Ads Over Game

By: Karlene Lukovitz

MediaPost - Thirty-nine percent of American adults say that the ads are their favorite part of the Super Bowl, versus 28% who favor the game itself, according to a survey by market research company Lab42.

The online survey was conducted among 500 adults (50/50 male/female split).

The ad preference is more pronounced among women: 44% of women say they prefer ads to any other aspect of the game, while 41% of men prefer the game itself.

In order not to miss ads, 38% of all respondents prefer to take bathroom breaks during the game; 23% prefer to take them during commercials.

There’s been much debate as to whether Super Bowl ads are worth the investment. (The New York Times recently reported that agency executives estimate that advertisers paid an average of $3.7 million to $3.8 million for a 30-second spot this year, up from $3.5 million last year.)

But Lab42 CEO Gauri Sharma argues that, “with 64% of respondents saying that half or more of their Super Bowl conversations the next day are about the commercials, it’s clear that consumers are not only paying attention to the commercials, but they are also engaged in a way that’s nearly impossible to replicate at any other time of the year.”

More than one-third of respondents reported that they’ve shared a Super Bowl commercial via social media, and 69% said that they’ve re-watched a Bowl commercial online.

In addition, 72% of respondents said they think that Super Bowl ads are funnier than standard commercials, 57% consider them more creative, and 21% perceive them as more memorable.

Please click here for the original article. 

Global Ad Spending Rises 4.3% in Q3 2012

Nielsen - The global advertising market saw healthy growth during the third quarter of 2012, according to Nielsen’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report. Spending was up 4.3 percent over Q3 2011, to $139 billion. This gain outpaced the 2.7 percent growth seen in the first half of 2012.

An influx in advertising investments drove growth in the Middle East and Africa (up 18.9% YTD), as well as in North America. The North American market showed a 5 percent increase through September, bolstered by an impressive 10.2 percent increase during Q3. In North America, both the automotive and industry and services categories increased by double digits year-over-year, for both the year-to-date and Q3. The industry and services category includes political ads, a big spend area leading up to the U.S. presidential election.

“Growth in global ad spend accelerated in Q3.The Olympics, a major media event in all parts of the world, and the U.S. presidential election helped drive investment up,” said Randall Beard, global head, advertiser solutions for Nielsen. “We’ll be watching carefully to see if the growth was sustained in Q4 and into 2013, or if there’s a dip in comparison to this year.”

Ad spend also grew in the Asia Pacific region, reporting a 2.7 percent increase in ad spend for the year-to-date through September and a 3.5 percent increase for Q3. Ad spend for the region was supported by the recovery of China’s advertising market, which showed positive ad-spending trends in Q3 (up 3.1%) after two consecutive quarters of decline.

Western Europe, which reported a 2.7 percent decrease in year-over-year ad spending during the first half of 2012, saw deeper Q3 cuts in advertising (-4.8%), as advertisers watched their budgets carefully due to ongoing economic instability. This decline contributed to a year-to-date decrease of 3.4 percent in Europe.

Please click here for the original article. 

Top 5 Media-Buying Predictions For 2013

By: David Jakubowski

MediaPost- As a category, digital spend continued to grow in 2012. I expect this trend to continue in 2013, with a few interesting twists on the evolution of the media mix, where brands focus their media spend, and how technology, data and measurement are used to meet the needs of marketers in justifying media budgets.

The current challenge in the industry centers on “big data” and how to extract relevant data from this enormous pool of information so that marketers can take action. According to IDC, by 2020 the amount of per-person data will be 50 times more than in 2010. Yes -- only about .5 percent of the universe is actually analyzed, despite 25 percent of the data having value if analyzed. Getting to the valuable “nuggets” of data across media and channels can help marketers put a finer point on where they spend today, why, and the tangible results they are seeing in order to justify current (and future) budgets.

Here are a few turns we might see in 2013 that will make for an interesting ride.

1.) Media-buying agencies and agency trading desks will private-label their own DMP: Successful agencies will integrate DMP capability with user-level analytics and advanced attribution, allowing them to build and optimize media plans and targeting tactics holistically. They will not build the technology themselves, but will partner (and license the technology).

2.) Actionable data is key: The real value will come from media intelligence -- the ability to unify siloed data sets such as CRM, Web sites, or offline data and measure media and audience across all marketing channels, generating actionable insights that move the needle across large portions of the media budget. Moving the needle will help both marketers and media buyers justify their current budgets and effectively pitch their executive team for an increase going forward.

3.) 2013 will not be the year for mobile: Today there is no justification to move budget from current media channels into mobile. While many report that mobile has the most potential going forward, until there is proof that mobile can deliver the additional reach or sales a brand is looking for, advertisers will continue to do small-scale trials but will not shift a significant portion of their spend in this direction. 

4.) The debate over the value of social ends in 2013: Social will become a larger part of the digital marketing mix due to analytics and measurement that substantiate its value as a channel. This includes its influence on conversions throughout the sales funnel and across all customer touchpoints. For example, we have seen that media plans with Facebook drive 24 percent more new sales than those without. This trend will continue as others within the social landscape try to validate their advertising value as well.

5.) Industry consolidation will continue: Twenty percent of LUMAscape companies will merge, get acquired or go bankrupt. The ad tech landscape in general is very confusing, with marketing messages that all sound the same. The time is now for those wanting to justify their existence to validate big data with actionable insights and deliver measurement that means something. Without driving increased reach or sales, companies will struggle to inform marketers and demonstrate value as part of the digital landscape.

Those are some of our predictions. What do you think will be some of the biggest twists and turns for 2013?

Please click here for the original article. 

Google, Microsoft Race To Dominate Live TV, Internet Connections

By: Laurie Sullivan

MediaPost - A recently granted Google patent describes technologies and systems for the distribution of advertisements through Internet television devices and television advertisement broadcasts. 

Microsoft made the trend more apparent Thursday after confirming that it acquired the home-entertainment technology startup id8 Group R2 Studios, whose founder Blake Krikorian has been working on a home-media and automation technology.

As the Xbox division works to strengthen its entertainment services, messages will appear as traditional paid-search ads, but also content. Granted, first tech companies need to improve the connection between the Internet and broadcast TV. Most of the problem has involved integrating live TV. Internet services like Google TV and Xbox 360 don't carry live TV and most people, including myself, don't want a set-top box.

Imagine each show or broadcast network having its own app with the ability to watch live content as it airs on network television.

Once Internet services connect with live broadcast TV, the rules will change for search engine marketing and digital advertising. It's one reason why image-based ads, such as Google product listing ads or Amazon image ads, will produce a better click-through and conversion rate, compared with traditional paid-search text-based ads.

id8 Group R2 Studios lays claim to a patent titled "Method, system, and computer program product for managing controlled residential or non-residential environments." 

The patent, granted in June 2012, describes how "a control server, or similar central processor, manages the distribution of data (including audio and video), voice, and control signals among a plurality of devices connected via a wired and/or wireless communications network."

It names audio and visual devices, such as, televisions, monitors, PDAs, notepads, notebooks, MP3, and portable stereo, as well as household appliances like lighting, ovens, and alarm clocks. The control server supports video and audio serving, telephony, messaging, file sharing, internetworking, and security."

Although unconfirmed, from a description in the patent it seems R2 Studios could have been working with Microsoft prior to the acquisition.

Microsoft also hired Krikorian, who earlier had founded the company behind the Slingbox, which EchoStar acquired.

Please click here for the original article. 

Does College Play a Role in Media Consumption?

Nielsen - The 18-24 year-old consumer demographic consumes media where it can, when it can. Nearly half the viewers in this demo grab their smartphones at least once per day while watching TV, topping any other group. What’s more, the most recent Nielsen Cross-Platform Report notes that this group spends the most time watching video on the Internet—almost an hour-and-a-half each week.

However, according to a recent study by Nielsen based on the 2011-2012 school year, consumption differs within the 18-24 demo itself, and the variations are predicated on consumer lifestyle, education and living situation.

Given the variations, the study broke the 18-24 demo into five segments: extended home college students (live at school during the year, yet still part of their parents’ household), independent college students (attend college but identify themselves as independent household members), college students living with parents (live with parents and commute to college), college graduates and non-college students (not attending college and have not graduated from college).

Quick facts: 

1.) Independent college students were less likely to own a DVR, video game console, or tablet. In fact, 15 percent of college graduates owned a tablet, compared with 8 percent among independent students.

2.) Extended home students leave the game console behind. While 72 percent of this group has a game console in their primary residence, that number drops to 53 percent when this group is in their extended homes, such as a college dorm room. The DVR also sees a dramatic decline with this group. Sixty-six percent has a DVR in their primary household, compared with just 9 percent when they’re away at school and perhaps saving their pennies for other forms of entertainment.

3.) Extended home students have an appetite for streaming video. Among the total minutes they spend on days they watched TV and streamed content on their PCs, 18 percent of time was spent streaming and 82 percent spent watching a traditional TV. This group streams more than other 18-24 year olds.

4.) The study also revealed that higher education leads to increased smartphone penetration. In Q2 2012, smartphone penetration was 63 percent among viewers 18-24 years old whose highest level of education was high school graduate or less. The penetration was 76 percent for college grads or above during the same quarter—a possible indication that higher earning power means being able to afford higher-level technology.

Please click here for the original article. 

Exploring the Consumer Media Universe

Nielsen - From televisions and smartphones to tablets and game consoles, Americans are consuming content on every device under the sun— the latest versions of which will be on display this week at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

According to Nielsen’s new U.S. Consumer Usage Report 2012, nearly 120 million people within television homes own four or more TV sets, and 16 percent of television homes own a tablet. Smartphone owners officially make up the majority of mobile subscribers, as 56 percent owned a smartphone as of Q3 2012. Additionally, the number of social media users continues to increase across all platforms as consumers use social networking as a vehicle to navigate the ever-expanding media universe.

For more insights on the consumer media universe, download Nielsen’s State of the Media: U.S. Consumer Usage Report 2012.

Please click here for the original article. 

Rentrak Launches Mobile Broadcast TV Ratings

By: Joe Mandese

MediaPost - On the eve of this year’s annual CES mecca, where an array of new mobile gadgets are expected to be unveiled, audience measurement firm Rentrak announced a deal to begin measuring the mobile broadcast TV audiences of stations and networks in local markets.

The deal, which was unveiled late Thursday, will provide mobile broadcast TV ratings to 12 major broadcast television groups that operate the Dyle mobile television service.

The service, which is operated by Mobile Content Venture (MCV), is active in 35 media markets across the U.S. and represents more than 93 stations from broadcast groups including Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media, all of which are part of the stand-alone entity known as Pearl, LLC, as well as Fox, ION Television and NBC.

The Dyle application enables live broadcast programming, including local and national news, as well as sports and entertainment content, to be viewed by consumers utilizing devices equipped with the ATSC-Mobile DTV standard.

Consumer electronics giant RCA this morning unveiled a new mobile TV tablet device, which it said is the industry’s first “dual-tuner mobile TV.” The device includes both a standard over-the-air digital TV tuner, as well as a Dyle compatible mobile TV tuner.

The device, which will be on display during next week’s CES show in Las Vegas, has an eight-inch, high-definition screen capable of receiving 130 mobile TV stations, over-the-air TV signals, as well as Wi-Fi and GPS signals.

"Research consistently shows that consumers who try mobile TV not only watch television with greater frequency, but they also enjoy catching up on the latest information wherever they go,” stated Chris Lee, vice president-marketing for Digital Stream at RCA.

Rentrak did not disclose how it will be measuring audiences of mobile broadcast TV, but said it would be “census-level data,” as opposed to the kind of sample-based ratings that Nielsen provides the TV industry. Rentrak utilizes a census-based approach for conventional TV audience measurement by utilizing data from digital set-top devices.

Please click here for the original article. 

Interactive TV: The Future That’s Never Quite Here

By: Shira Ovide

The Wall Street Journal - The dream has been just around the corner for a decade or more: A home TV that let’s you flip seamlessly from a live Cubs game, to a “Gangnam Style” music video on YouTube, to a Judd Apatow flick new on Netflix. But this dream has long been elusive for some of the brightest minds in technology, including Steve Jobs.

A range of companies including Google Inc GOOG -0.52%Apple Inc. AAPL +0.39%, Microsoft Corp Intel Corp. INTC -0.75% Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -1.32%, Roku Inc. and Comcast Corp. CMCSA +0.53% each have sought to define the future of home entertainment, often by creating TVs or TV hubs to stitch together programming across live TV with entertainment or other offerings available online. Microsoft, Apple Sony 6758.TO -1.78% and Intel also are among companies that have tried and so far failed to convince TV programmers — many of whom rely on fees from cable-and-satellite companies — to let them offer a cable-like bundle of TV programming over the Web.

Because of those failed efforts and others, many in the tech industry have grown disillusioned at how little the TV industry has changed despite a revolution in consumer-entertainment habits.

“The TV ecosystem hasn’t been disrupted even though half of U.S. households have DVR whose explicit feature is to skip ads, [and] at the same time Web and mobile usage during prime time is through the roof,” said Bijan Sabet, a general partner at Spark Capital and an investor in Boxee Inc., a startup that makes a TV-connected gadget to stream Web video or record TV programs.

At the 2010 All Things D conference, Jobs said breaking into the TV business was daunting, in part because of a lack of consistent technology across the cable-and-satellite TV business, and because consumers are used to relying on their pay-TV company for their set-top boxes. “The TV is going to lose until there is a viable go-to-market strategy; otherwise you’re just making another TiVo,” Jobs said.

More recently, Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “finally cracked” an easy-to-use TV technology, according to Isaacson’s 2011 book. Apple has been testing high-definition TV sets and talking with pay-TV companies about potential partnerships in set-top boxes.

With the Xbox, Microsoft so far has come perhaps closer than any other company to grabbing a significant share of the interactive TV market, though it remains unclear whether it can maintain its position against a growing number of contenders.

Some entertainment programmers are enthused about the future of interactive TV to give them more outlets to distribute their programming, and to find new ways to make it come alive.

“This completely changes what we can do, especially as creators and owners of our original programming. We are just getting started realizing what is now possible.” said Otto Berkes, HBO’s senior vice president of digital products, and its soon-to-be chief technology officer.

Still, traditional TV remains the king of home entertainment. On average, U.S. consumers spend nearly 147 hours a month watching TV in the home, compared with four-and-half hours a month watching video on the Internet, according to a Nielsen report published last February.

For Xbox, the data is mixed on how important the videogame system is for entertainment, compared with other ways to watch video or other entertainment. According to the Nielsen report, 6% of online consumers watched video daily on a videogame system, compared with the 20% of people who watch video on a mobile phone daily.

For its part, HBO said people using computers and mobile devices are the biggest users by number of the company’s HBO Go streaming-video app, but by hours viewed, Xbox is the top source of usage. Netflix recently said Sony’s PlayStation 3 is the most important device to watch Netflix movies and TV shows from a TV.

Video-advertising firm FreeWheel early last year said Xbox was the most common way, besides computers, to watch online video, with more than 28% of non-computer usage on Xbox. At least one senior Xbox executive has publicly pointed to the figures. However, more recent FreeWheel data show Xbox was responsible for less than 10% of total online video views in the third quarter, compared with 50% for iPhones and iPads. (The FreeWheel data exclude some important sources of online video, such as Netflix and user-generated videos on YouTube.)

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Despite Cable-Costs Crackdown, New Channels Keep Coming

AdAge - Players ranging from WWE to ABC News and Univision will again try to elbow their way onto pay-TV program guides this year. But 2013 may prove particularly inhospitable for upstart networks as cable and satellite distributors get serious about mitigating rising content costs.

Time Warner Cable just dropped the arts channel Ovation, arguing that fewer than 1% of its subscribers tune in on any given day -- not enough to justify the $10 million in carriage fees it says it has paid over the past several years. Ovation isn't even an arts channel any more, Time Warner Cable says, contending that 70% of its schedule is now turned over to old movies, repeats of "Antiques Road Show" and direct-response product pitches.

Cable operators say they are open to talks about carrying new networks -- Time Warner Cable added NFL Network, BBC World News and Aspire, among others, last year -- but those conversations are becoming more difficult.

One of the most recent arrivals, a new court and legal news channel called Justice Central, is trying to avoid the headwinds by forgoing carriage fees entirely. Justice Central, which arrived on AT&T's U-verse system last month, believes that the tactic will help it expand to 80 million homes in two years from just 4 million homes today.

"If you ask for sub fees and you are not sports or broadcast it's near impossible," said Byron Allen, CEO at Entertainment Studios, which introduced the network. But negotiations with AT&T were quick once the company found out that Justice Central wasn't seeking fees and ultimately yielded a 10-year deal, he said.

"We are going to start seeing MVPDs drop networks consistently," Mr. Allen added, referring to multichannel video programming distributors, industry jargon for pay-TV distributors. "They are not even going to go through the motion of negotiating."

That prospect isn't stopping new cable networks from trying their hands - with the hope of collecting both ad revenue and traditional carriage fees.

"Cable is still a viable business channel, if you can get the finances to work," said Noah Everist, associate director of media investments at Campbell Mithun's Compass Point Media. "And who doesn't appreciate the potential bottom-line benefits of a dual revenue model?"

Digital distribution is an essential complement but not yet a financial alternative on equal footing with cable, Mr. Everist said. "As for YouTube, everyone should be there, but unless you are Psy, the main driver of your ratings generally will be via the traditional channels," he said.

Some would-be newcomers said they understand the challenges ahead.

Back9Network

Back9Network, which touts Clint Eastwood as its chairman, is looking to tap into the golf lifestyle beyond the professional tour and open the sport to a broader audience.

The network is about halfway through initial carriage negotiations with some of the bigger satellite and cable operators, according to CEO Jamie Bosworth.

"Unless you're live sports, it's hard to get carriage right now," Mr. Bosworth said. "Cable companies don't want more. They are looking to get rid of networks. They are skeptical."

Mr. Bosworth is working to differentiate Back9Network from the Golf Channel in pay-TV executives' minds. Its focus will encompass more than just the sport itself, with plans to imitate successful reality shows like "Pawn Stars," "Antique Road Show" and the "Real Housewives" franchise using golf as the backdrop.

The network has recently hired former ESPN producer Robert Abbott as exec VP-production and content development and Matthew Singerman as exec VP-programming. Mr. Singerman joined Back9Network from Reelz Channel and previously was at TV Guide Network and Fox News Channel.

Having Mr. Eastwood on its board also helps the network by boosting its credibility. "He is more involved than any MSO would think he is," Mr. Bosworth said, referring to multiple system operators, another industry term for pay TV companies. "He is hands on, involved in the talent we pick to the look and feel of the brand."

The company plans to roll out its full multimedia site, which is currently in beta, at the end of January. While Mr. Bosworth said he is still a big believer in traditional TV, Back9Network will also launch a digital platform in the spring whether or not any carriage agreements have been reached.

The ad-supported digital platform will be free for viewers and is designed to expose people to the brand. Fledgling networks have been turning to digital distribution as a way of expanding their audience and prove their value to cable and satellite distributors.

WWE

WWE hopes it already has a head start for a network of its own, with huge existing fan base and experience in producing content.

The company, which produces "Monday Night Raw" and "Friday Night Smackdown" for USA Network and Syfy, intends to make an announcement this year about a launch date, according to WWE CMO Michelle Wilson. Earlier reports had the company aiming to introduce the network back in April 2012.

The most challenging part of starting a new network is gaining distribution, Ms. Wilson said, adding that she sympathizes with pay-TV companies. "I appreciate the challenge of increasing programming costs and the operators' need to control those costs," she said.

That could mean that the network appears on distributors' premium tiers, where channels such as HBO and Showtime reside, rather than the more broadly-distributed basic tier. WWE is currently in discussions with potential carriers and is looking at potential models.

Ms. Wilson said "Raw" and "Smackdown" will remain on their current homes, driving viewers to the new network, which will include new, in-ring content in the vein of "Raw" and "Smackdown" as well as pre-show and post-show coverage. WWE also plans to draw from its 100,000 hours of library content for planned series such as "WrestleMania Rewind."

WWE may also look to genres like reality TV and talk shows, Ms. Wilson said.

ABC News and Univision

ABC News and Univision are looking to tap into the growing number of bilingual Hispanics with a 24/7 English-language news network. The unnamed network, which was announced by the two programmers last May, will include lifestyle, entertainment and health-related programming as well as traditional news.

Its biggest concern is getting pay-TV providers to pay for another news network, especially as mainstays like CNN try to ascertain how to present TV news as more viewers turn to social media.

ABC parent Walt Disney will be in charge of distributing the channel, however, which lends it some of the leverage of Disney's portfolio of networks, including ESPN and Disney Channel. The venture is also banking on the growing Hispanic population, particularly the younger, wealthier demographic. Nielsen projects that the buying power of Hispanics in the United States will reach $1.5 trillion in 2015, making it an appealing demographic to advertisers and pay-TV companies.

Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision and Google Fiber have already agreed to pick up the network, which is slated to arrive in mid-2013. The channel will introduce a website in the first quarter of this year.

Participant Media

Participant Media, which finances and produces socially relevant films and documentaries, is planning to introduce a network targeting millennials in the summer of 2013.

To that end, the company said last month, Participant has acquired The Documentary Channel and entered into an agreement to buy the distribution assets of Halogen TV from The Inspiration Networks. Participant will combine and rebrand the services as a new cable channel, which will be available to about 40 million subscribers.

The network, whose name will be announced in March, will be competing with channels like ABC Family and MTV. Participant plans to stand out on a crowded programming grid by creating entertainment that inspires change, said Evan Shapiro, head of the new network and former president of IFC and Sundance Channel, in an interview at the time of the announcement.

Most of the programming at the onset will be acquired, but Mr. Shapiro said original content across all genres will be key. Participant plans to work with a bevy of producers, directors and writers, including Brian Graden, producer and former president of entertainment at MTV Networks; The Jim Henson Company's Brian Henson; director David Guggenheim; "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock; journalist and docu-filmmaker Gotham Chopra; and Cineflix Media, an international TV producer and distributor in which Participant controls an equity interest. Participant's credits include movies like "An Inconvenient Truth," "The Help" and "Lincoln."

Aside from socially-conscious programming, Participant is also looking to build a service in step with the way millennials consume video.

"Our content will be specifically designed for the viewers that the pay TV eco-system is most at risk of losing," Mr. Shapiro said last month. "We all know that millennials are changing how media is consumed. However, they also have the strong desire and inimitable capacity to help change the world. Our research shows that there is a whitespace in the television landscape and we believe that a destination for 'the next greatest generation' will be a win for our affiliate partners, advertisers and the creative community."

Fox Sports 1

There is a way to gain widespread distribution without giving up hope for a retransmission fee: take over an existing channel. That's what's happening at the motorsports channel Speed, which Fox Sports plans to rebrand as Fox Sports 1 this summer in the latest effort to take on ESPN.

Fox has remained mum on the network, which would also compete with NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network. And the success of the network will depend largely on its sports rights, whose costs have been steadily increasing. But conversations with advertisers have already begun, according to one person familiar with the network. Speed is currently in about 80 million homes.

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What Do Young Viewers Actually Want From Traditional TV?

By: Wayne Friedman

MediaPost - How do you draw digital-centric millennials to a new entertainment company? If you answered, “Start another social media service, website, or premium entertainment service,” you'd be wrong.

For some, the better answer is to start an old-fashioned cable network.

Big-time movie producer Participant Media  ("Lincoln," "The Help,” "An Inconvenient Truth") which started a TV division in April, is looking to do that through the combined assets of Jim Henson Company, TV producer/ex-MTVer Brian Graden, and others.

The proposed as-yet-unnamed channel hopes to start with more than 40 million subscribers next summer.

All this would seem counterintuitive: Why not start a new digital business -- something young consumers 18-24 and 18-34 seemingly want more of? Participant believes it's all about telling stories -- which TV does well.

The truth is somewhere in between. Research shows that television viewing continues to grow. But young viewers increasingly multitask, which many say hurts consumption of traditional TV entertainment and advertising content.

Lean back and watch TV? Young viewers still watch CW, MTV, Adult Swim, and early-evening syndicated off-network sitcoms. The answer seems to be that young viewers are still looking for real story-telling.

Much of the new channel's intent might be in the documentary area – perhaps akin to "An Inconvenient Truth," Participant’s socially conscious theatrical movie, perhaps taking on Current, the young-minded news channel. (Participant did buy assets of The Documentary Channel.)

And then there is this: "The goal of Participant is to tell stories that serve as catalysts for social change. With our television channel, we can bring those stories into the homes of our viewers every day," said Jeff Skoll, chairman and founder of Participant, in a press release.

Is this what young viewers want from traditional TV?  Surely, the new channel will have digital components like a website and social media area -- all the stuff a modern media/entertainment enterprise needs.

The sense is that while all future digital media is important, near-term the real business model will center around the place that still brings in the big national advertisers dollars, through a somewhat traditional  -- make that cable -- TV network.

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Hispanic Networks Rebrand en Masse

All the cool demographics were doing it

By: Sam Thielman

AdWeek - For some reason, every Spanish-language network seems to want the same thing for Christmas: a rethink.

NBCUniversal's growing broadcast network Telemundo, Univision's smaller broadcast network Telefutura (now UniMas) and even CNN are undergoing major changes this winter—the first two have unveiled full-blown rebrands, while CNN is piloting a Spanish-language programming block in Los Angeles.

All three are working hard at making sure their programming targets U.S. Hispanics, especially the ever-growing contingent of bilingual Americans in the second and third generations who aren't necessarily looking for programming that reminds them of life outside the United States.

It's a trickier proposition than many neophyte marketers and distributors imagined. SNL Kagan estimated earlier this year that Spanish-language digital TV availability doubled between 2011 and 2012—there are now fully 216 Spanish multicast channels, so the competition is fierce. And of course, the political season proved definitively that it's not enough to just crank out Spanish-language versions of spots that target middle-aged Caucasians. If an advertiser can't demonstrate to the Hispanic audience a sufficient understanding of the culture, he ends up spending nearly $400 million to no effect whatsoever. (We're looking at you, Karl Rove.)

And yet, the growth of the demographic continues to astound. "We saw it in the census, and we've seen it in experience, and we've seen it in recent elections," said Jackie Hernández, COO of Telemundo. "We want to be the network that celebrates that."

The network's rebrand launches today, with its new logo slathered all over Telemundo content on every platform, and a new campaign featuring fully 90 of the network's performers shot over the course of just a few days. And, just as Tr3s, UniMas and Mun2 trade on puns, the new "T" (pronounced "te") logo will create its share of multiple double entendres ("te informa," "te inspira"—it's also the informal "you," so there's some presumed intimacy there, too).

"We did a lot of research on our viewers, and they said they wanted us to be more modern and bold," Hernández said. On Monday, Telemundo Media president Emilio Romano will ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq—NBCU's popular morning show Today will cover as well—and there will be a live performance in Times Square.

But it's not the only network that's changing gears. Telefutura has changed its name to UniMas and has a healthy slate of programming to back up its new brand. The network will air action novelas Made in Cartagena and Quien Eres Tu, and boxing drama Cloroforma. It's also doubling down on sports programming, with a slew of FIFA games and the 2014 World Cup (although NBCU has the all-important Spanish-language rights to the next championship game in 2018). The company's cable network, Galavision, also rebranded this year.

Cesar Conde, president of the Univision Networks, said that UniMas would be relying primarily on RTI and Caracol for its programming (both based elsewhere in the Americas), but that its U.S.-based studio would be producing "primarily reality" for the network in the near future. Competitors are quick to criticize Univision and Telefutura for relying heavily on foreign product when the demographic content of the U.S. is changing so rapidly, but thus far, you can't argue with results. Univision's market share is huge, and the company's increased investment in the newly rebranded UniMas would suggest that it's not exactly resting on its laurels. "We want to be the No. 2 Spanish-language network in the world," Conde said with a smile.

CNN's rebrand is a little softer, though it does mark the first major change overseen by new head Jeff Zucker, who will take over at the end of the year. The network is launching CNN Latino in the U.S., starting in Los Angeles next month. The network has a huge international component, of course, and it will repurpose much of that content for the large Hispanic population in L.A. alongside a locally produced debate show. It already has CNN en Espanol. But now, it's going to experiment with a broadcast block on local station KBEH, where it will show eight hours a day of content geared to appeal to U.S. Hispanics. "The U.S. market is so diverse and so large that there is room for two distinctive content options," said Cynthia Hudson-Fernández, svp, gm of CNN en Espanol.

L.A. also presents a unique opportunity. Besides a rare foray into domestic broadcast for the cable network, KBEH also covers 14 million viewers' worth of territory—CNN en Espanol has about 30 million viewers on cable, so a few choice broadcast locations could increase CNN's Hispanic presence by quite a bit.

Hudson-Fernández said she wanted the network to represent "the dual reality of U.S. Latinos today who are multigenerational and proud to be bilingual" in a statement, and in the end, that's what all these rebrands are about: finding commonalities among a demographic that is turning out to be as diverse as the U.S. itself.

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Data: The New Creative

By: Louis Winokur 

MediaPost - One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.

Data is the new creative!

For those who are squarely in the analytics camp, this new sentiment must feel like a vindication for long years slaving away, gleaning insights from facts and figures without much appreciation (well, maybe that's not entirely accurate, but sometimes it feels that way.) It's about time colleagues and clients realize they could have avoided numerous mistakes if they had only taken the time to look at the data first. The argument is that for too long, people have used "smoke and mirrors" to sell clients programs with flashy creative that was not built on a solid foundation based on data-driven insights.

Is data the new creative?

On the flip side, many talented creative people see clients doing the same boring old things they have always done based on some stodgy egghead's calculations. The inherent fear of trying any new ideas due to the threat of running afoul of FDA regulations or supposed lack of evidence for success makes creative marketers want to scream! It's bad enough that people hide behind an army of lawyers who are afraid of government censure -- now we have to come up with a master's thesis before we can proceed with any new ideas. Sometimes you have to have a little faith to be innovative.

Data + creative = success

Actually, the truth lies somewhere in between. Data, and analysis of existing programs, should be used to refine ideas or cut out tactics that have not performed as expected in the past. To evaluate success, initial targets should be created based on similar programs or events that have been implemented before. At the very least, regular reporting should be included in the evaluation process to monitor results as you move forward.

That doesn't mean that it's wrong to take a chance once in a while. Sometimes it's equally important to break out of old routines and come up with some new ideas. Better to try and fail than to never try at all. But even a brand-new idea should be based on some sort of logic. Believe it or not, analytics people are not afraid to be challenged. A rough ROI model can be hammered out if the creative and analytics people get together and have a conversation. The key is to establish initial objectives and figure out the answer to the age old question: What does success look like.

Sometimes data can fuel new creative ideas. A global health care company that manufactures a number of prescription medicines recently embraced the capabilities of an in-house survey tool that enhances the ability to receive feedback from patients involved in relationship marketing programs. A series of short surveys were conducted to learn from the people who have opted in to receive educational materials about a chronic condition. The results of the surveys were extremely valuable.

The responses revealed that over 50% of those receiving treatment were apprehensive about starting treatment because of concerns about side effects. We also learned that 75% of enrollees felt that the condition had a significant impact on their lives and their daily routines. When we polled patients about potential tools, we learned that a smartphone application received high marks, while text messaging was of little value.

The above data points have been shared with the creative team and have provided specific direction to focus their energies. This in turn will fuel a new program strategy and provide the foundation on which to build creative ideas for 2013. Program enhancements based on patient feedback will boost engagement metrics and will ensure that existing consumers stay on treatment and have positive medical results.

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The Key to Keeping Your Employees: Do It the Old-Fashioned Way

By: Bill McCabe

Forbes - Turnover in the managerial ranks has reached epidemic proportions. Downsizing, mergers, early retirement, career shifts, and midlife crises are among the many reasons. Most people see this as an inevitable and not particularly disturbing fact of our volatile age. I see it as a major obstacle to productivity and profit.

As the chief executive of an advertising agency, I work in an industry plagued by turnover. When an agency loses a big account, its reflex is to fire people. As you might imagine, that doesn’t foster employee loyalty; most workers have little compunction about switching agencies when they receive an offer. Sometimes they leave not for more money or better positions but because they expect the agency to lose an account or engage in unrelated “cost-cutting” measures.

The problem grows from there. Clients are upset when an esteemed account, media, or creative person suddenly isn’t there anymore. Perhaps even worse, rapid turnover disrupts the work. Not only are there delays in projects when people leave and new ones must be brought up to speed, but knowledge falls through the cracks.  The five- or ten-year veteran invariably takes a certain amount of savvy with her that is difficult to replace. Agencies dilute or even lose their identities when they can’t keep most of their people in place for sustained periods. In Chicago, if you look at the top ad agencies from 30 years ago and you look at the leading agencies today, you’ll see that many of the former aren’t on the current list, and that a sizable percentage of them no longer exist. And obviously this problem isn’t limited to advertising.

However, senior leaders can limit turnover. I know they can, because 50% of our own staff has been with us for 10 years or longer. That’s not because we pay better than other agencies or because we provide great perks and luxurious offices. It’s because we value continuity and have enacted policies to promote it.

Any organization can do what we’ve done, but it takes a leap of faith. If you’re cynical about employees, if you believe that loyalty is an outmoded concept, then you won’t take continuity-enhancing steps. If you’re convinced that greed trumps all else, that you can’t keep your best people for long because there is always someone out there willing to make them a better offer, then you should stop reading now. But if you believe that the majority of people want to grow with a growing enterprise, and want to develop and sustain relationships over the long term, then consider implementing the following policies:

1. Avoid downsizing and other mass terminations at all costs. Or, more to the point, cut other costs before you give people the ax. Forgo the Christmas party, limit expense accounts, reduce or eliminate bonuses. These are tough pills to swallow, but when your people understand you’re administering them to avoid mass layoffs, they’ll be more willing to swallow them.

2. Create a familial culture. That doesn’t mean talking about how we’re one big family and then taking actions that contradict the assertion. It means institutionalizing small and big policies that demonstrate that the company cares. Providing generous support for those who have to go on disability leave can be one. Being transparent—communicating important decisions quickly, soliciting feedback regularly—is a second. A third is holding events that bring people together, such as dinners and outings.

3. Define your values and hire accordingly. Do you believe that work comes before family, or that one must strike a balance? Do you feel that just about any tactic is valid if it lands a client, or are there higher standards you adhere to? We hire for knowledge and skill, but we try to determine if a job applicant is a good match in less tangible ways. What books is he reading? What is she passionate about outside of work?

These tactics don’t work 100% of the time. You’re always going to lose some good people. But they do significantly increase the odds that you’ll limit your losses and establish the continuity required to build a sustainable enterprise.

Bill McCabe is the President/CEO at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

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Call Me Maybe? The Key To Effective Advertising

By: Jim Madsen

MediaPost - 

Hey, I just met you,

And this is crazy,

But here’s my number,

So call me, maybe?

Call Me Maybe was the song of Summer 2012. But Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy little earworm contained a truth that everyone should heed. If you want someone to call you, they’ll need your number.

Duh.

So how does a no-brainer like this get lost in the world of advertising?

Because agencies and advertisers don’t realize their brand-building commercials have morphed into direct-response ones.  Somehow, a Web site address or 800 number snuck in, and this changes everything. Oh, they still retain all the branding elements -- the ads position products and services strategically and with impact. They possess great production values and don’t look like traditional two-minute direct-response spots.

But these commercials have become all flirtation, with no follow-through. They want viewers to respond, but they don’t provide sufficient motivation or information for them to do so.

No matter how sexy a spot looks, how cleverly it’s written, how accurately it’s targeted, or even how much social media it uses, it won’t make the register ring repeatedly without doing what Carly does: making it easy to call or click. These days, advertisers want their ads to be accountable -- even their brand-building commercials -- and so customers need a phone number, a link, a point of sale. But once a commercial tries to evoke a response with an 800 number or URL or even a retailer location, it has crossed the line from general to direct-response advertising.

Direct-response leverages brand, strategy, creative and media. But it doesn’t leave its audience hanging. It takes their hand and invites them to the next step forward, toward making an actual purchase.

Branding is great -- and if branding is the sole purpose of the ad, then forget about Carly’s message. But if any type of response is requested, then think about that message long and hard.

The next time you see a commercial, ask yourself two questions:

Do I know exactly where or how I can buy this product? Do I care enough to call or click?

Don’t get me wrong. Having a great product with smart advertising will definitely get you noticed. But until you’re as well-known as Apple, Pepsi, or Carly Rae Jepsen, the register won’t ring as much as it should until you follow through with those magic words: …here’s my number, so call me, maybe?

Jim Madsen is a copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies. 

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To Click or Call: The DRTV Question

By: Mike Powell

Direct Marketing News - This is a question that has created a great deal of discussion—as well as a lot of confusion—among direct response agencies and advertisers. Some believe that the URL offers tremendous advantages over 800 numbers—lower cost, website resources, flexibility—not to mention that it represents the converging technology future. Some argue that 800 numbers are far superior because more people are comfortable responding through phone calls than via websites and that conversion rates are higher using phone than URLs. 

In fact, both sides have valid positions, but this isn't an either/or question. DRTV advertisers should capitalize on both phone and web as response tools, but they should do so knowing the best ways to use both in a given spot and for a given offer. To that end, here are five principles that we've found beneficial when considering the 800 number/URL issue:

1. Prioritize your response tool. In every spot, one tool should be the primary focus while the other is the secondary focus. Giving the 800 number and the URL equal time tends to dampen the response, perhaps because it creates confusion in the minds of viewers—they're not sure if they should call or click, and that internal conflict delays their response and ultimately stops them from taking action.

2. Create a unique landing page for your URL. Don't just direct viewers to a general website; it will lack the “dedicated” features that convert clicks to sales. Instead, design a landing page that mirrors the look and feel of the commercial.

3. Feature the phone number and URL individually. Do so in the bottom bar of the spot. Rotate them rather than trying to fit both in the same space. Again, you don't want to create a conflict between the two response options.

4. Recognize that the old phone technology is superior to the new URL tool in certain circumstances. Phone calls will likely convert at a higher rate than the (user-controlled) web channel, and in situations that are complex, demand longer decision time, and provide greater upsell opportunity phone is generally a better option.

5. Include search as a metric when using a URL. You're likely to find an increase in searches generated by views of the commercial (product or company name, for instance) from people who may not have written down the URL but are interested in the offer.

Finally, keep in mind that new technologies will keep producing new response options. In a few cases, we've included text response tools as an option in spots. Admittedly, this is still a small slice of the pie, but invariably, it will be a growing slice. The key is to keep an open mind about all new response options and recognize the continued viability of the traditional one.

Mike Powell is the SVP/Executive Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.

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3 Building Blocks for a Long-Lasting Client Relationship

Here are three guiding principles that are essential in sustaining long-term relationships:

By: Bill McCabe

1to1 Media- We live in a time when business relationships and valued partnerships are fleeting— where it's assumed that the volatility of the business environment makes long-term client relationships a thing of the past. We've found, however, to maintain your brand and successfully grow your organization, solid business relationships should not be built to go fast, they should be built to go far.

What are the essential building blocks for long-lasting collaboration and partnership? First and most obviously, excellent work is paramount. This means everything from meeting deadlines to executing strategies effectively. But in a fast-changing world, excellence is not always enough to sustain a relationship beyond a certain point.

Today, companies evolve their market models and strategies to adapt to market transitions and industry trends. At those evolutionary points, which occur more frequently now than in the past, companies often review their existing business relationships and make changes.

So, how can professional service agencies and other firms prevent that seemingly inevitable switch after a short period of time? Here are three guiding principles that we've found to be essential in sustaining long-term relationships: 

1. Consistent staffing 

In professional service firms, especially in the advertising business, organizations routinely move people onto and off of accounts. This is done for many reasons. For example, to bring fresh thinking to the account, to ensure professional staffers don't get bored, or to shift a talented employee to a bigger or more difficult client. Many times, however, these movements can do more harm than good. It takes time for people to trust each other and learn the best ways to communicate. If changes are constantly made to an account and the personnel don't remain for longer periods of time, bonds between client and agency don't form or have the opportunity to deepen. For instance, we have one account that has been with us for more than 40 years. While we certainly have had some turnover on the account because of retirement or other reasons, a number of our key people have worked on the account for more than 20 years. 

Understandably, some personnel changes are out of your control. Individuals leave the company or are let go. The client may also experience some personnel turnover. While these changes can't be planned for, professional service firms and other vendors can control their overall approach to staffing accounts and ensure the priority is always on the continuity of personnel.

2. Business-driven results 
In the world of advertising, many agencies measure the success of their ads in terms of industry awards or research (i.e. viewer awareness scores). Agencies often believe they've done a great job when there's a flattering article about their work in a trade publication or when everyone compliments them on how "creative" or "cutting edge" an ad was. Law firms take pride in the quality of their briefs and judgments rendered in court; financial service firms measure themselves by how well they performed against standard measures. 

We're not discounting these measures—they're important. But if you expect a client or customer to become a long-term one, then you had better deliver business-driven results. In our business, we work with clients to measure how a television ad campaign impacts sales in different regions of the country; how it affects distribution of products in stores; how it drives viewers of commercials to websites.
Developing criteria and the means for measuring tangible success metrics can be a challenge. And, there is typically little to no wiggle room if you fall short of your mutually agreed upon goals. Still, it is better to drive toward a realistic goal and be judged on something tangible. This is what cements relationships.

3. Common values 
Making your values and philosophies clear from the start is a good way to come to a mutual understanding of the way you and your clients operate, and what is expected from both parties. If there is an obvious disconnect between your respective views of the relationship and its goals, you might think twice about engaging in that relationship altogether. For instance, we look for clients that value transparency and frequent and straightforward communication. We aren't interested in clients who enjoy game-playing, who sugar-coat their comments or who fail to return calls. No doubt, these types of clients aren't interested in us because of our values. When you can find a value match, however, you create bonds with clients that are difficult to break.

Adhering to these three building blocks doesn't guarantee you will hold on to your clients indefinitely. But, it does increase the odds that you will extend the length of your partnerships, in a volatile business environment where relationships seem to last about as long as a Kim Kardashian marriage.

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A Cleanser Manufacturer Cleans up with a Mobile Marketing App

Jelmar used the Checkpoints app to encourage store shoppers to view video ads.

By: Amy Dusto, Associate Editor

Internet Retailer - Cleaning products manufacturer Jelmar had stuck to TV and radio ads to promote its CLR and CLR Bath & Kitchen products for decades, says Matt Cote, director of emerging media at Eicoff, Jelmar’s advertising agency. But in September the manufacturer tested a national campaign that encouraged in-store shoppers to scan CLR products with their smartphones and the CheckPoints mobile app to view Jelmar video ads.

The ads garnered 50,000 views in about two weeks—faster than expected—and a before/after survey revealed that more consumers recognized the CLR brand and expressed intent to purchase CLR products by the campaign’s end, though Jelmar did not disclose exact numbers, Cote says. Jelmar is working with stores now on turning the in-store app activity into sales, he says. He adds that more consumers used CheckPoints to engage with CLR at large retail chains like Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp. than at smaller stores. The CheckPoints app is available for Apple Inc. or Android devices, according to the company that developed it, inMarket Media LLC, which reaches 20 million U.S. consumers in its network.

The app offer consumers points for completing activities after scanning products in stores. For example, they may be prompted to watch a video, take a survey, play a game, search the web or complete brand offers. They can then redeem those points for prizes ranging from a $1 gift card to a Nintendo Wii gaming system or an Apple TV. The app uses geolocation to tell consumers which stores are nearby and what products are available in those stores to scan for points. 

“It’s an ideal situation for a marketer to be able to hit someone in the store while they’re holding the product and scanning it,” Cote says. His agency is looking into future campaigns that could use games to engage customers in stores, he says.

On average among CheckPoints clients, consumers spend 90 seconds interacting with a brand’s campaign on the app after they scan a product—three times longer than the average TV ad, an inMarket spokesman says. Additionally, consumers who pick up and scan products on average report in surveys a 30% higher intent to purchase, he says.

The CLR campaign carried almost no risk for Jelmar to try, Cote says—inMarket’s clients pay a fee only when consumers engage with their brands on the app, which in Jelmar’s case was when they watched the video after scanning a CLR product. In that campaign, the fees were less than a dollar per view, Cote says, though inMarket says the rates vary between clients and campaigns.

CheckPoints is one of three mobile apps inMarket offers designed to engage in-store shoppers. The others are Extra! Extra!, a coupons and deals app that displays offers based on votes from users, and List Bliss, a collaborative shopping list app that allows, for example, everyone in a household to see which kitchen supplies have run out and either add items to a collaborative list in the app or mark them off when they’re bought.

Please click here for the original article. 

TV Remains Decision Driver For Purchases

By: David Goetzl

MediaPost - A study commissioned by the TVB shows that local television is the dominant influencer of decisions throughout the purchase funnel from awareness at the top through purchase at the bottom. Research shows that 64% of respondents say TV is the “primary action driver” of awareness and 39% of purchase.
 
Newspapers came in second with awareness at 10%, suggesting that coupons still have an appeal. The Internet (online behavior save email) was second at 10% for purchase, as TV watchers may have gone online to seek more information about advertised products.
 
In the auto category, TV led at 70% with awareness and 43% for purchase, while the Internet was at 9% and 12%, respectively. The Internet did particularly well in the consideration phase of the purchase funnel at 17%.
 
With the supermarket/grocery category, there is evidence that newspaper coupons still play an important role, but 28% said TV influences purchase decisions in-store -- well above the level for all 10 categories combined.
 
The entertainment category (movies/shows/concerts) is one area where TV leads, but there is considerable fragmentation. In awareness, TV is at 21%, but newspaper, social and Internet display are all at 10% or higher. In purchase, TV is at 22%, with social and Internet display at 10% and newspapers down at 7%.

The results come from a survey conducted by Yankelovich (now the Futures Co.) of about 2,500 consumers who have seen a TV ad in the last two months. The interviews took place in March.

Please click here for the original article. 

Web Connected TV Users Prefer Ads Over Fees For Video And Streamed TV

MediaPost - According to YuMe and research firm Frank N. Magid Associates, 30% of all Internet homes have TVs connected to the Internet, and users of those sets are generally receptive to advertisements and ad-supported business models.

Almost 90% of connected TV users reported that they noticed ads on the platform, with 60% noticing pre-rolls. The majority of those users also interacted with ads and 19% of users subsequently purchased a product as a result of an ad they've seen on connected TV.

Travis Hockersmith, senior director of client strategy at YuMe, points out that “... like any nascent medium, it is difficult to find baseline information that would help advertisers make informed decisions... much (like) the early days of the internet... users weren't yet bombarded with ads... engagement and ad recall were much higher... “

59% of viewers of short-form video on connected TVs and 44% of those streaming TV shows preferred viewing 15- or 30-second ads over monthly subscription or the pay-per-view model. For movies, however, more than six in 10 users preferred either subscription or PPV models over ad-supported viewing.

Hockersmith continued, “... users of connected TVs seemed willing to watch ads in exchange for getting free content... for TV length content, they would rather see ads than pay for the content... movie viewers were much more willing to accept subscription or PPV models.

The report note that game consoles were the most popular with Internet connected TVs, with 77% of connected TVs connected to a game console, 34% connected to a Blu-ray player, 28% being a smart TV with an internal internet connection and 25% hooking up a streaming device or set-top-box.

Other significant findings from the study include:

1.) The living room was the most popular room to have a connected TV, with 52% reporting they had a TV hooked up to the internet in the living room, followed by the bedroom (47%) and the family room (29%)

2.) The most popular connected TV apps were Netflix (with 52% saying they used the service), followed by YouTube (47%), Hulu (28%) and Amazon (19%)

3.) Overall the connected TV users were young and skewed male

4.) About 24% of users viewed TV shows on networks several times a week, while 29% watched TV shows streamed from the internet multiple times per week

Please click here for the original article. 

TV Ads: Out With The Old, In With HD

MediaPost - Old-fashioned, standard-definition TV ads are outnumbered. National advertisers who haven’t yet moved to high definition (HD) are, for the first time, the minority on network broadcast and are becoming the minority on network cable too. Among financial services, political, entertainment, retail and automotive, political advertisers -- at 51% -- had the greatest percentage of ads delivered in HD, while financial services, at 76%, aired the greatest percentage of HD ads.

The insights are from Needham, Mass.-based ad distribution and rights management company Extreme Reach, Inc., whose second-quarter 2012 HD Advertising Trends Report details how the industry is moving to HD. The study, based on the analysis of 1,900 active television advertisers across 28 verticals, 615 active video production studios and content providers, and most North American broadcast outlets shows a 150% increase in HD ad distribution since the same quarter two years ago. 

The firm says that two years ago, HD ads made up about 10% of all TV ads distributed by advertisers to broadcast and cable media outlets. Today, that number has grown by 150%. The firm says that in the second quarter this year, 25% of ads delivered to TV media outlets were in high definition. 

According to Extreme Reach, 44% of financial services advertising is now in HD versus 29% in 2010. For automotive ads, that differential is 26% versus 16%. The biggest jumps are in entertainment advertising, where HD format has risen from 17% of the mix in 2010 to 50%, and political ads, where HD has increased from 8% to 51% in two years. The study finds similar -- although in some cases (political and entertainment) not as dramatic -- increases in the number of advertisers using HD.  

The Extreme Reach study has also found acceptance of high-definition advertising around sports venues, in places like lounges, concession areas, and JumboTrons. The firm says that compared to local TV broadcasters, sports venues have higher HD adoption and distribution rates. Extreme Reach data says 63% of sports TV destinations -- defined as venues where sports teams are playing -- accept HD advertising. And those sports destinations are receiving a significant portion of their advertising in HD, too.

Please click here for the original article. 

Look Ma, TV! First broadcast TV phone appears on MetroPCS

GigaOM - Starting now, MetroPCS is in the free-to-air TV business, but the sets it’s selling are rather small, fitting not only into the palm of your hand but within the confines of a smartphone screen. MetroPCS on Friday began selling the Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G, the first U.S. smartphone to pluck local broadcasters’ TV signals out of the air.

Phone

You’re probably thinking you’ve seen this before in the guise of Qualcomm’s failed FLO TV service. But Qualcomm tried to create an entirely new digital multicast network for mobile phones and devices – and charge premium rates for the service. The Dyle mobile TV service MetroPCS is offering is the brainchild of the Mobile Content Venture, a consortium of local and network broadcasters, who are using their existing DTV airwaves and infrastructure to replicate their regular programming on the small screen.

So this service isn’t so much a new form of mobile TV as it is just regular TV miniaturized for your handset – without all of the bells and whistles such as DVR capabilities and on-demand programming we’ve become accustomed to having at home. Its biggest advantage, however, is price. It’s free – though Phone Scoop is reporting that Metro may start charging in 2013 – and it runs over broadcast frequencies, meaning you can watch as much as you like without incurring data charges.

The Dyle service is available in about 45 markets today, and within those markets only a handful of stations are participating. For instance, in Chicago you can get the Fox, NBC and Telemundo affiliates as well as the Qubo children’s channel, while in Columbus, Ohio, you can receive the signals of ABC and CBS and NBC, but not Fox.

The MCV says its receiver chips and Dyle software will be available on other Android phones and even iOS devices(presumably with external hardware) soon. The venture may be too late to market to have any kind of impact though. Since participating in the Dyle program requires having local TV spectrum, only the networks, their local affiliates and independent broadcasters can participate. Meanwhile, consumers are not only shifting their viewing to paid cable programming, but also looking to new sources of streamed video on the internet, mobile phone and connected TV platforms.

The best thing Dyle has going for it is it’s free. If it’s true that the MCV and its carrier partners actually plan to start charging for programming, then there could be a big backlash from both regulators and consumers. Broadcasters aren’t using any kind of private cable network or mobile broadband spectrum to deliver this content.  They’re using public free-to-air airwaves, handed to them by the FCC.

Please click here for the original article. 

I Want my IPTV! The Growth of the Connected Television

Nielsen - As new ways to consume media give viewers greater choice of how, when, and where to watch, an old standby—the television—is making headway in the race for market cachet.

Americans spend 35 hours each week watching content across screens, and 94 percent of that is still on a traditional television. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), which allows viewers a direct connection to video that is watchable on the living room TV but streamed from the Web, is gaining traction.

“’Internet Protocol TV’ has grown dramatically over the course of the last year. People talk about ‘the TV is dead, or that it’s dying,’ but it doesn’t look like it yet,” said Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s SVP Insights Analysis and Policy.

Traditional TV distribution—such as broadcast or cable—and watching on a TV set continues to be the dominant means of ingesting video content. Much like eReaders, which saw small but noticeable gains in penetration in the last three quarters of 2011, but have since made nice strides and has Q1 2012 penetration at 21 percent, IPTV seems to be following suit and market penetration is on the rise. As of February 2012, 10.4 percent of homes had an IPTV, compared to just 4.7 percent that same month a year prior, according to a recent Nielsen study.

The emergence of IPTV is one of a growing number of viewing options to emerge over the past decade and continues to compete with a gaggle of other advances for market share. Unlike other burgeoning tech-sector technologies, IPTV functionality is being built right into current and future generations of televisions, which could drive an increase in usage as penetration increases.

In October 2011 the use of the Internet feature in IPTV-enabled homes was estimated at about 2 percent of their TV use. In February 2012 it jumped to about 5 percent in Internet-enabled homes.

While traditional TV is still the major player in most households, viewing options are ever-evolving. DVRs now appear in 44 percent of homes, up almost 80 percent since 2007. Conversely, some devices—once seen as tech breakthroughs—are falling off. VCRs and DVDs are down over that same time period, serving as a reminder to marketers, manufacturers and consumers alike that the only constant is change.

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Apple, Microsoft, Google and the sad state of TV

GigaOM- The latest news on Apple’s plans for the future of television is that the company is in talks with big pay TV operators to carry their live programming. This would turn a future Apple TV product into a kind of set-top box, reported the Wall Street Journal Wednesday. Negotiations with cable companies are ongoing, with no deal in sight, and operators are wary of Apple’s quest for control, according to the paper.

But the sad truth is that even winning a contract like this would be a defeat for Apple. The company originally set out to disrupt the TV space and sell programming directly to consumers. It wanted to unbundle cable much in the same way it unbundled the CD when it started selling single songs on iTunes for $0.99. A move like that would have been truly innovative. But as it looks now, Apple is just going to repackage the good old cable bundle and make it available through yet another device.

If it’s any consolation for Apple, it is not alone with this path. Numerous companies have tried to reinvent TV, only to end up with products that look just like more of the same:

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is arguably the most innovative living room entertainment device out there. It has gesture control, gaming, access to live TV and over the top video content. And yet, the TV part of the box is as boring as it could be. Redmond initially set out to have its own live programming, and reportedly even negotiated with Conan O’Brien to get him on the Xbox exclusively. Instead, it had to settle for TV Everywhere apps from HBO and EPIX and live feeds from Verizon FIOS, all of which only work if you already have an existing pay TV subscription.

Google TV’s struggles with the broadcasters are well-documented. The search giant tried to appease Hollywood by making a platform that was decidedly pro-cable, and even struck an agreement with DirecTV. Dish. But its vision to unify web video and pay TV didn’t sit well with broadcasters who across the board decided to block Google TV devices from accessing their online content. That’s why it’s no surprise that Google’s latest TV venture – the pay TV component of Google fiber – pretty much looks like your plain old cable bundle.

TiVo also tried its luck at becoming a kind of set-top-box provider, much like Apple is reportedly doing now. And guess what: It may be much less ambitious (and disruptive) than taking on TV with your own content distribution, but it’s not that easy either. Case in point: When TiVo started leasing its boxes through cable operators like Suddenlink, Cox and RCN, customers of those companies suddenly found that they didn’t have access to apps from Netflix or Hulu Plus. Cable operators like Suddenlink actually wanted to have Netflix on these boxes, but Netflix’s and Hulu’s contracts with studios simply don’t allow them to deliver their services to leased pay TV equipment.

So who is killing TV innovation?

Broadcast channels and their local affiliates increasingly ask pay TV operators to pay up for content that was previously available for next to nothing. Operators unwilling to pay up face blackouts, and routinely cave in after their customers rebel.Unbundled programming, access to web content on the TV and apps on a pay TV set-top box: All these issues have something in common. They’re a threat to big broadcast’s newfound love for retransmission fees. Facing the threat of a disruption to their ad revenue, broadcasters and cable TV networks have in recent years massively grown their B2B relationship with cable and satellite operators.

Retrans fees are expected to net broadcasters $2 billion this year, up from $1.46 billion in 2011, according to SNL Kagan estimates. And that doesn’t even include what pay TV operators have to shell out for ESPN and other popular cable channels. The flipside of these billion dollar deals is exclusivity. Broadcasters can ask for more money if their content isn’t available to TV viewers through anything but a TV subscription. That’s why TV Everywhere is growing, and why broadcasters like Fox have policies not to allow web video on any connected device.

There is a silver lining

The good news is that there is still room for innovation in the TV space – but it likely won’t happen with the consent of big broadcast. Instead, it’s time to innovate on content delivery outside the world of cable television. Companies like Netflix and Hulu are starting to produce their own contentthat doesn’t come with the same strings attached as the shows airing on major broadcast networks. YouTube is also massively investing in content that looks more like TV fare without being TV-only.

But the biggest push towards innovation may just come from one of the oldest technologies of the TV business: over-the-air television. Startups like Skitter are redefining what pay TV looks like, delivering live broadcast streams within the existing legal retransmission framework. Aereo is pushing the envelope when it comes to personal over-the-air transmissions. Simple.tv is reinventing the DVR with cord cutting in mind. And Boxee is rumored to have a cloud-based DVR in the works.

All of these efforts bypass negotiations with broadcasters and instead rely existing legal exemptions. It’s a risky strategy, but also one that has worked in the past. Just look at Netflix and how it used the first-sale doctrine, which allows the rental of DVDs without any explicit contracts with Hollywood studios, to build out a giant, postal service-based content delivery network. Of course, Netflix’s DVD business is now fading, and Hollywood is making good money with its streaming business.

Let’s hope that innovative companies are going to pull of the same thing in the TV space. Otherwise, the future of TV may just be a pig with some shiny new lipstick.

Please click here for the original article. 

Know Your Audience (and Where They Are and How to Reach Them)

By: Bill McCabe

Marketing Profs - In this article, you'll learn:

1.) Three crucial questions advertisers should ask before investing in new media

2.) How to effectively differentiate between the reality and the promise of existing and emerging ad technologies

3.) Some common misconceptions about television advertising's demise

As a marketer, you understand that to achieve brand marketing goals you must know your target audience inside and out.

Given this notion, a look beyond the numbers can be enlightening, particularly in terms of the many misconceptions regarding television—particularly, that the influence of TV advertising is waning.

All indications are, however, that TV viewing is at an all-time high.

Watching the evolution of all the new technology available for reaching consumers (mobile, tablets, gaming, 3D, e-books, online video, to name just a few) is fascinating as a marketer. It's even more intriguing for those of us working in direct response (DRTV advertising)—as not a day goes by that we don't see a new application for the ad campaigns we currently air.

And yet, we continue to remind ourselves not to be distracted—and to keep our eye on the proverbial ball. That's not to say that new technologies won't continue to grow in importance. They will (and they will become a larger source of revenue for traditional TV advertisers). Yet, the larger message sometimes gets lost in the numbers.

For example, let's take a look at some Nielsen numbers from earlier this year:

Looking at the large viewership numbers—pretty substantial—is one thing. However, looking at the types of programming generating the large viewership is just as important: American Idol, Voice, NCIS, Walking Dead, Jersey Shore, WWE.

Now, I am sure that a certain percentage of viewers of those show who own an iPad, who watch video online or via mobile. However, I am equally sure that the vast majority of these viewers don't.

The point is not that we shouldn't target audiences via new technology channels—that's a no-brainer. The point is to remember that what may be old hat to us marketing folk may be new to—and may be much more slowly adopted by—a broad audience.

Therefore, here are three key questions to ask yourself before funneling marketing and ad dollars out of your television advertising budget and toward new media:

1.) Does the majority of my target market spend more time watching television or using iPads, mobile devices, and other types of new media?

2.) Given the demographics of my audience, are they more likely to respond to my offer when driving, waiting at the airport, or taking a break at work—versus sitting at home watching television?

3.) Will I be better able to reach a significant number of my target market with a strategic buy of a combination of cable/network/independent stations or via new media?

But don't just take it from me. The next time you go to the DMV to renew your driver's license, count how many iPads you see. In 10 years (or sooner) iPads will most likely be ubiquitous, but until then we have to remember what any comedian already knows: know your audience.

The impact of new technology on television advertising media, such as DRTV, is both exciting and complex. The messages must continue to appeal to mass audiences, but they must also be served up in a myriad ways to allow consumers to digest them the way they feel most comfortable.

As we continue to layer on new technology to traditional advertising media, we must continue to analyze "who" our audience is in addition to "how" we are reaching them.

Please click here for the original article. 

 

How To Reel In The Elusive 18-34-Year-Old Man

By: Margaret Firalio

Media Post-- Okay, before you get any ideas, no, I’m not going “there.” Not really, anyway. I’m talking about how to effectively market to what is considered a very non-traditional direct response TV (DRTV) advertising target: males between the ages of 18 and 34.

This sports-loving, beer-guzzling demographic is commonly perceived to be at the top of advertisers’ most-desired list. Whether or not this is (or should be) the case, over the past decade or so it has been documented that these guys are becoming increasingly harder to locate. It’s not that they aren’t watching TV -- they are doing a lot of other things too such as going online, watching DVDs, and playing video games.

So can 18- to-34-year-old men still be found via television, a medium that is approaching 100 years of age? And more importantly, can we get them to respond to DRTV’s alluring charms? As I have seen firsthand, the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “yes.” And, perhaps not coincidentally, the means to our success is not so different than those of highly successful daters.

As an example I’ll cite a rental-service company we partnered with that deals in something the testosterone-laden target male group covets: video games. Attracting our targets is always easier when you are able to showcase the right assets -- and this company unquestioningly has them. Armed with a compelling commercial, we were ready to cut to the chase.

Our first step was to ensure that our ads were showing up in precisely the locations where those-hopefully-receptive-to-our-message men hang out. In the dating world, outdated logic says a good man can be found in your local house of worship or grocery store. Today, we’d be better off hitting the sports bar. So how do you find the equivalent of the sports bar in the world of DRTV?

Not the traditional networks. Outside of Family Guy, the weekend sporting events and late-night mixed martial arts programming, the “Big Four” networks don’t have a whole lot of what appeals to our target. In fact, you could make the case that these networks are now more like the aforementioned pews or produce sections. No -- the real sports bars of DRTV are the cable networks, or more specifically, the niche networks, of which there is a seemingly endless supply. Don’t believe me? Would Fox really be thinking about creating a 24/7 Simpsons channel if this wasn’t true? For our rental service client, we strutted our stuff directly atop the beer-soaked pub tables of Adult Swim, Comedy Central and MTV.

So now that we’re parading in the right places, will our target pay attention and respond? If we’re handing out phone numbers, not necessarily. That’s a more conventional approach, and for males 18-34, it’s hit or miss. Nowadays, this demographic is more apt to text than to call. So for our client, we performed a “text to mobile” test and saw a great response. One could even say we had to beat the boys off with a stick.

Of course, once they’re genuinely interested, it’s your job as a client to keep your customers happy with your great product, service or business. After all, that’s the real key in a long-term commitment. And as Beyoncé would tell you, if they like it, then they should put a ring on it.

Please click here for the original article. 

MyWebGrocer to Expand Advertiser Reach Via Digital

Progressive Grocer - Digital grocery solutions vendor MyWebGrocer has partnered with direct response TV (DRTV) provider A. Eicoff & Company to pilot a new digital advertising campaign for Jelmar’s CLR line of cleaning products across its network of food retailer websites to increase awareness of CLR and reach online consumers s they are interacting with web-based grocery planning and shopping tools.

“We have already experienced the benefits of DRTV advertising for a number of years,” said Alison Gutterman, president of Jelmar, LLC. “The pilot program will allow us to extend our already successful campaigns to the web through MWG’s platform and provides the opportunity to connect with even more consumers as they are planning purchases. The program allows us to maximize the impact of our overall advertising campaigns through multiple online channels.”

MyWebGrocer placed the CLR advertisements, created by Eicoff, on its network of 114 national grocery sites dedicated to online shopping and planning. This network reaches 6.4 million unique visitors, according to MWG. The initial CLR campaign ran in early 2011 and drove a 14 petrcent lift in new consumers who saw the ad. In an effort to replicate this success, Eicoff and MWG partnered for a second campaign in fall of 2011. The campaign significantly built upon the success of the first phase, providing a 67 pertcent lift in new consumer trials. Both campaigns were successful in attracting new shoppers who had previously been purchasing competitor’s products.

“The Jelmar CLR ad campaign was designed to communicate brand benefits, drive purchase intent and strengthen online category share while increasing brand loyalty for CLR in the digital space,” said Dan Vanchieri, SVP of national sales for MyWebGrocer. “This was accomplished by placing the CLR ads at the point of decision, in online environments that already had an active consumer audience.”

Jelmar provides leading household cleaning products, including the nationally-recognized CLR and Tarn-X brands, to consumers globally. The family-owned business, which was started more than 50 years ago, distributes its products throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia. In addition to the core CLR and Tarn-x products, Jelmar develops other innovative cleaning solutions for the kitchen, bathroom, outdoor furniture, silver, brass and more. For more information, visit www.jelmar.com.

Colchester, Vt.-based MWG manages digital solutions for more than 114 retailers nationally, representing more than 10,000 stores, and 90+ major Consumer Packaged Goods brands.

Please click here for the original article. 

MyWebGrocer Partners with A. Eicoff & Company to Expand CLR Customer Reach through Digital Advertising

Applying DRTV Advertising Best Practices to Online Ads Produced 67% More Consumer Trials

Chicago, IL-- (PRWEB-April 25, 2012) - MyWebGrocer, the leading provider of digital grocery solutions has partnered with direct response TV (DRTV) leader, A. Eicoff & Company, to pilot a new digital advertising campaign for Jelmar’s CLR line of cleaning products. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness of CLR in the digital world and reach online consumers at the point of decision - as they are interacting with web-based grocery planning and shopping tools.

“We have already experienced the benefits of DRTV advertising for a number of years,” said Alison Gutterman, president of Jelmar, LLC. “The pilot program will allow us to extend our already successful campaigns to the web through MyWebGrocer’s platform and provides the opportunity to connect with even more consumers as they are planning purchases. The program allows us to maximize the impact of our overall advertising campaigns through multiple online channels.”

MyWebGrocer placed the CLR advertisements, created by Eicoff, on their network of 114 national grocery sites dedicated to online shopping and planning. This network reaches 6.4 million unique visitors, the largest digital grocery audience in the country. The initial CLR campaign ran in early 2011 and drove a 14% lift in new consumers who saw the ad. In an effort to replicate this success, Eicoff and MyWebGrocer partnered for a second campaign in fall of 2011. The campaign significantly built upon the success of the first phase, providing a 67% lift in new consumer trials. Both campaigns were successful in attracting new shoppers who had previously been purchasing competitor’s products.

“The Jelmar CLR ad campaign was designed to communicate brand benefits, drive purchase intent and strengthen online category share while increasing brand loyalty for CLR in the digital space,” said Dan Vanchieri, Senior Vice President National Sales from MyWebGrocer. “This was accomplished by placing the CLR ads at the point of decision, in online environments that already had an active consumer audience.”

“With consumer attention divided among multiple screens today, companies are recognizing the benefits of developing more engaging, actionable ads using multiple environments,” said Bill McCabe, CEO of A. Eicoff & Company. “Working with MyWebGrocer to extend Jelmar’s CLR ad campaign to new audiences online has proven that DRTV campaigns are effective across any medium.”

MyWebGrocer can provide a Total Shopper Analysis to its advertisers, which is a test measuring the difference between consumers who had seen the advertisement and those who had not. This research approach has been reviewed by the Advertising Research Foundation and according to ARF “Independent review of that procedure has found that it delivers valid measurement.”

About Jelmar

Jelmar provides leading household cleaning products, including the nationally-recognized CLR and Tarn-X brands, to consumers globally. The family-owned business, which was started more than 50 years ago, distributes its products throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia. In addition to the core CLR and Tarn-x products, Jelmar develops other innovative cleaning solutions for the kitchen, bathroom, outdoor furniture, silver, brass and more. For more information, visit http://www.jelmar.com

About MyWebGrocer

MyWebGrocer drives digital connections between consumers, grocery retailers, and Consumer Packaged Goods brands. MWG manages digital solutions for more than 114 retailers nationally, representing more than 10,000 stores, and 90+ major Consumer Packaged Goods brands. To find out more about MyWebGrocer’s digital grocery solutions, visit http://www.mywebgrocer.com

About A. Eicoff & Company 

Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the country. The company was founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff, who understood that television had the ability to function as a store and that media rates were a negotiable commodity. The phrase “or your money back” was coined by Alvin, and the 800 number came into being, in part, because of his vision and direction for the television advertising industry. In 1982, A. Eicoff & Company became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

Contact Information

Contact:
Andrea Cousens
A. Eicoff & Company
630-778-0208
Email Contact

 

Young, Mobile and Growing: The State of U.S. Hispanic Consumers

Nielsen- More than 52 million strong and representing the majority of population growth over the next five years, Latinos have become prominent in all aspects of American life. A growing, evolving population, Latinos are a fundamental component to future business success, with a buying power of $1 trillion in 2010 that is projected to grow 50 percent to $1.5 trillion in 2015.

In State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative report, Nielsen has identified several unique circumstances that combine to make Hispanics the largest population group to exhibit culture sustainability—ever. Borderless social networking, unprecedented exchange of goods, technology as a facilitator for cultural exchange, retro acculturation, and new culture generation combine to enable Hispanic culture in the U.S. to be sustainable. In other words, Hispanic culture may evolve but will not go away.

For businesses, this makes understanding Hispanic consumers essential. Key findings of The Hispanic Market Imperative include:

1.) The overall U.S. population is graying, but the Latino population remains young and the primary feeder of workforce growth and new consumption. The median age of the Latino population is 28 years old, nearly ten years younger than the total market median age of 37 years. Given that the age for a new home buyer is between 26 and 46 years old, Latinos will become a force in residential purchasing over the next ten years.

2.) Technology and media use do not mirror the general market but have distinct patterns due to language, culture, and ownership dynamics. For example, Hispanics spend 68 percent more time watching video on the Internet and 20 percent more time watching video on their mobile phones than non-Hispanic whites.

3.) Latinos exhibit distinct product consumption patterns and are not buying in ways that are the same as the total market. Hispanics make fewer shopping trips per household than non-Hispanics, for instance, and spend more per trip.

4.) Rapid Latino population growth will persist. Between 2000 and 2011, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase; in other words, their 10-year increase was slightly greater than that of all other non-Hispanics combined. Hispanics will contribute an even greater share (60 percent or higher) of all population growth over the next five years.

5.) Hispanic culture is sustainable. A 2011 national survey of Hispanic adults found that nine out of ten Hispanic parents and parents-to-be want their children to be able to speak Spanish, even though they also want them to become fluent in English.

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Double Vision – Global Trends in Tablet and Smartphone Use while Watching TV

Nielsen- Whether to check email or to look up program or product information, watching TV while using a tablet or smartphone is more common than not according to a Q4 2011 Nielsen survey of connected device owners in the U.S. , U.K., Germany and Italy. In the U.S., 88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period. For 45 percent of tablet tapping Americans, using their device while watching TV was a daily event, with 26 percent noting simultaneous TV and tablet use several times a day. U.S. smartphone owners showed similar dual usage of TV with their phones, with 41 percent saying their use their phone at least once a day while tuned in.

Device owners in the U.K. also logged heavy usage for tablets (80%) and smartphones (78%) while watching TV. British daily usage of smartphones or tablets while watching TV rivaled that of the U.S.. Nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed claiming to use their device several times a day while watching TV.

Italians and Germans were the least likely to use a device while watching TV. In both countries, 29 percent of users said they never use a tablet and TV together and 34 of Italians and 35 percent of Germans said they don’t use their smartphone while watching TV.

What’s on the second screen?
The most frequent tablet or smartphone activity across all countries while also watching TV was checking email — either during a commercial break or during the show. Yet device owners also seem to engage with content related to the TV as well, either by looking up information related to the show or looking for deals and general information on products advertised on TV.

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Hispanics in the U.S. use many devices to go online, but they're more likely to own high-tech gadgets than non-Hispanics

AdWeek- Advertisers need to keep many factors in mind when marketing to Hispanics, and technology is a key one of them. Hispanics are early adopters of the latest devices, including Internet-enabled TVs, e-readers and iPads.

They're also slightly more likely than the overall population to own a mobile phone. The Internet is a prime source of entertainment, and social media are a big part of that, with Hispanics spending more hours a day on social networks than other ethnic groups or races. 

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Leader in Direct Response TV Advertising, A. Eicoff & Company, Names Bill McCabe President and CEO

McCabe Succeeds Advertising Industry Veteran and 32-Year Eicoff CEO, Ron Bliwas

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Mar 1, 2012) - A. Eicoff & Company, a division of Ogilvy & Mather, announced today that Bill McCabe has been named President and CEO. McCabe succeeds Ron Bliwas, who has occupied this position for the last 32 years. Bliwas will continue to provide leadership and support to the agency as Acting Chairman.

McCabe is a 27-year veteran at Eicoff, having previously held the position of Executive Vice President/COO for the agency. During his career, he has provided strategic counsel to many of Eicoff's major accounts, including United Healthcare, Quicken Loans, AARP and Genworth Financial, among others.

"This is a tremendous opportunity, not only because Eicoff is a great agency but because the DRTV industry is growing by leaps and bounds, particularly as online and television technologies converge," said McCabe. "In the agency's 57-year history, Eicoff has had only two previous CEOs -- founder Alvin Eicoff being the first one -- so this appointment is a great honor. Though Ron's shoes are big ones to fill, I am grateful he will remain an involved presence in all of the agency's activities."

"I am stepping down from my long-term CEO position at Eicoff, in part because I want more time to pursue my love of travel, and in part because I have done this job for longer than just about any other major agency CEO," said Bliwas. "I felt it was time to give Bill a chance to take charge. I am confident in his abilities to successfully run the business and ensure Eicoff continues to lead the industry as DRTV takes hold on a much broader scale."

Bliwas, a member of the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame and former chairman of the DMA board, intends to continue working on industry issues, as well as staying involved in Eicoff client work and strategy.

About A. Eicoff & Company

Eicoff is the largest direct response television (DRTV) agency in the country. The company was founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff, who understood that television had the ability to function as a store and that media rates were a negotiable commodity. The phrase "or your money back" was coined by Alvin, and the 800 number came into being, in part, because of his vision and direction for the television advertising industry. In 1982, A. Eicoff & Company became a division of Ogilvy & Mather. For more information, visit http://www.eicoff.com.

Contact Information

Contact:
Andrea Cousens
A. Eicoff & Company
630-778-0208
Email Contact

So Long to the 30-Second Ad

What is the optimal length of a commercial? Until relatively recently, most advertisers would have answered 30 seconds. Much has changed in the last few years, however, and sooner rather than later, 30 seconds will cease to be the norm. Internet advertising, more than any other factor, is increasing the length of commercials, resulting in more two-minute spots than ever before.

If you watched the 2012 Super Bowl, you were probably aware of the numerous one-minute spots for advertisers like Chrysler, Pepsi and others. In fact, in the last four Super Bowls, at least 10 commercials of one minute or longer have run, a substantial increase over previous years.

Some pundits maintain that advertisers are opting for longer spots in order to make a bigger impact and separate themselves from the pack in a high-profile viewing event. No doubt, this observation is true, but it fails to recognize all the other reasons that commercials are becoming longer. Specifically, let’s look at three internet advertising-related reasons:

The ability of commercials to drive viewers to websites.

The majority of spots now include a website address, and in many instances, the spot is designed specifically to create website clicks for specific offers or other purposes. As those of us in the DRTV (Direct Response Television) advertising business know, longer-length spots usually produce the best results when a response is requested. The additional length provides the time to go into detail about a website’s features and benefits, providing the motivation necessary for viewers to click on the site. The length is also essential to focus viewers’ attention on the website address. Not only must it be on the screen for a significant amount of time, but the presenter or voice-over narrator must call attention to it. We’ve found that for most advertisers, the spots that create the most website traffic are two minutes in length.

The need for internet advertisers to find fresh leads and customers.

We’re hearing growing complaints from internet advertisers that they’ve reached a saturation point when it comes to leads and customers, that they can only buy so many keywords and work with so many lead aggregators before they reach a point of diminishing returns. Consequently, they realize they can only grow their business by advertising offline. Using television direct response advertising on broadcast and cable stations, they generate leads for their sites cost-effectively. Essentially, these spots eliminate the middleman and reach their audience directly. And of course, they reach a fresh market that spends more time with traditional media than online media. The increased specialization of cable stations allows them to target stations and shows that are ideal for their demographic.

The internet’s acculturation of website visitors to longer-length spots.

Most sites have no restrictions on the length of the spots they air. They also recognize that unlike television, their medium attracts many visitors with a vested interest in their products, services and subjects. Therefore, they know that they have greater license to air longer spots without fearof boring their visitors. Over time, many people have become accustomed to watching longer commercials. Rather than being an anomalous experience, it is becoming the new norm. As a result, it’s no longer “daring” to air a longer commercial on television. While in the past some viewers may have noticed the longer length and been put off by it, today people accept a variety of commercial lengths beyond the traditional 30 seconds — viewers count commercials; they don’t time them.

Finally, be aware that longer-length commercials are turning up everywhere. They’re not just airing during special events like the Super Bowl or in the wee hours of the morning during a sitcom rerun. You’ll find two-minute DRTV commercials running all hours of the day and night as well as on weekends. Just as significantly, almost all of them contain website addresses, and in many instances, the address is a specific site created to pair with the direct response commercial.

In fact, the case can be made that the future of television advertising is a direct response one, that in a matter of five or 10 years, few commercials will air without a response vehicle in them such as a URL or toll-free number. When this future comes to pass, two minutes will be the norm, because as internet and direct response advertisers have learned, longer is better.

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DRTV to Grow Significantly: Q&A With Eicoff’s Bill McCabe

Chief Marketer recently spoke with Bill McCabe, the newly named president/CEO of direct response television agency A. Eicoff and Co. (a unit of Ogilvy & Mather), to get his take on the rapidly evolving world of DRTV and how it fits in with other forms of electronic media.

CM: Do you expect DRTV to grow in the next few years?

McCabe: Yes, for several reasons. CMOs with digital backgrounds are increasingly skeptical of traditional TV. They increasingly want the measurement and ROI that a DRTV strategy provides.

And the TV universe continues to expand with new digital offerings and stations/networks need to fill airtime. Traditional web-based consumer companies are also looking to expand beyond search and lead aggregators, and DRTV can be a bridge to the offline world.

CM: For what kinds of companies is DRTV best suited?

McCabe: Companies that are looking to drive highly qualified sales leads via phone or web, or make direct sales online. Increasingly, consumer packaged goods companies are using long-form DRTV to better educate consumers and differentiate their products.

CM: What kinds of audiences are DRTV commercials best for reaching?

McCabe: People watch TV for two reasons, to be entertained or because they're bored. Our chances of getting someone to respond are much greater when they are bored. The question we get frequently is "how have Tivo and digital video recorders affected your business?" The answer is, “they haven’t affected our business one bit, because we don't buy the programs people record.” I guess you could say that if someone is recording a program, that person is not an audience we would pay a great deal to reach. The irony is that we now advertise on Tivo and it does very well for our clients.

CM: What impact has the web and mobile had on DRTV?

McCabe: While the future of both online and mobile video are bright for our clients, the reality is that both are still in their infancy compared to other emerging media opportunities like Google TV, Tivo, and Rovi, to name a few. The cost per thousand pricing structure for Tivo and Rovi are much more realistic than mobile or online video. The costs for online and mobile will eventually become more reasonable, but right now they are overpriced.

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CIGNA Insurance Announces 2011’s Key Business Strategies and Launches New DRTV to sell “1 Care 2” Policy Plan

tivarti.com- Management, and Direct-to-Consumers Channels integration. The Company sets to launch new Direct Response TV Commercial to offer “1 Care 2” policy aiming to tap the family generation for the 2 consecutive year. CIGNA Thailand targets Y2011 Sales from all channels to exceed THB 1.5 Billion.

Mr. Gary Wayne Denson, Chief Executive Officer & Country Manager, CIGNA Insurance Public Company Limited, an expert in affinity-based telemarketing and direct distribution business specializing in Personal Accident and Health insurance products in Thailand said that the Company has again been successful in its sales mission which has grown over 300% during Y2008-2010, owing to its continued successful implementation of the first three-year strategic road map since Y2008. To continue its success in Y2011, the Company focuses its key strategies on 3 initiatives which are:

1) Affinity Business Partnerships: to increase the numbers of major Business Partners (BPs) and to expand a horizontal penetration within existing BPs. The Company aims to bring the Insurance more closer to Thai people through various marketing campaigns with BPs such as the campaign that CIGNA has partnered with GSM advance to offer Personal Accidental Insurance for GSM advance customers free of charge for 3 months.

“Our core business model is based on the affinity partnerships. Therefore, the growth of our business partner numbers is very important to the growth of our business. We’re proud to say that our business partner numbers have tripled over the last 3 years, most of which are the country’s leading financial institutions, plus major companies in the telecom, retail, automotive, and IT sectors” Mr. Denson added.

2.) Customer Value Management (CVM) which is the unique strength of CIGNA around the globe that is used to help CIGNA’s Business Partners to drive effectiveness through targeting relevant and meaningful offers to their customer segments — and where CIGNA’s products meet a buying need. Over time, CIGNA is migrating to a model where its approach integrates the customer, product and channel dynamics. This also enables CIGNA to optimize the customer contact management strategy on behalf of its Business Partners. CIGNA Thailand is striving to utilize this unique selling point with every BP to produce greater customer satisfaction & superior financial results for both CIGNA and BPs.

3.) Synergy of all sales channels, especially Direct—to-Consumer Channels, the channel that creates a direct demand from the consumers which has been another strategic initiative of The Company since early 2008. Being happy with last year’s Direct Response TV (DRTV)’s success, the campaign earned overwhelming response from the Thai consumers, which resulted higher than planned sales value. Thereby, CIGNA Thailand will aggressively pursue the DRTV channel again this year.

“Last year we’ve overwhelmed with about 100,000 incoming calls from airing the DRTV and also achieved THB 100 million sales target (DRTV and Internet); we are extremely satisfied and assume in being the pioneer in Thailand that we have created a movement to the market in this channel significantly. There are number of insurance companies that now play in this channel but focus on a different target groups. For CIGNA Thailand, we are still focusing on the target group of the family generation as last year and we launch “1 Care 2” policy plan to the market today”. said Mr. Denson.

The new DRTV campaign will promote the “1 Care 2” insurance policy, which covers both yourself (a prime insured) and another loved one who is either the prime insured’s father, mother, spouse or son/daughter. The prime insured, aging from 15-59 years old, will be covered with both Personal Accident Insurance Plan and also 5 critical illnesses: Invasive Cancers, Heart Attack, Stroke, Kidney Failure, and Coma ranging from THB 200,000 to THB 800,000, plus reimbursement on medical expenses from an accident, with maximum coverage of 30,000 baht per accident (motorcycling included), with no limit on the number of accidents within the protection period. In addition, CIGNA Care Card will be provided to the insured to allow them to enjoy cash-free payment for medical expenses in case of an accident if the insured receives medical treatment in any of the hospitals under the CIGNA agreed partner network. Moreover, Global Emergency Services 24 hours a day will be provided to the insured, allowing them to have a peace of mind when they travel, anywhere in Thailand and across the globe.

Also, the loved one of the prime insured will be provided the maximum coverage of THB 300,000 lump sum benefit when they suffers loss of life, dismemberment or total permanent disability due to an accident, plus reimbursement on medical expenses from an accident with maximum coverage of 10,000 baht per accident (motorcycling included), with no limit on the number of accidents within the protection period. CIGNA Care Card also provided for 1 year coverage (for those who buy plan 3-5 only). The benefit of covering the loved one will go only to the prime insured who pay the premium by credit card, without any additional cost. The loved one could be the prime insured’s either father, mother, spouse or a child whose age between 1-70 years old. The premium of “1 Care 2” plan starts from 7 baht per day (for the prime insured with age between 15-25 years old and buy the Plan 2.)

In addition to DRTV channel, CIGNA also offers “1 Care 2” plan through the online channel via CIGNA Thailand’s website. It aims to serve the new generation of consumers, who love to purchase products via the online channel. For those who interested in the product can leave their name and phone number on the website, for next step follow up from CIGNA’s telesales specialists who will provide information in detail and complete the sales process.

“CIGNA Thailand will synergize our all sales channel as much as possible whether on telemarketing, internet and other channels which will be launched in the near future to maximize the benefit from every channel to ensure a convenient, easy and enjoyable consumer experience. CIGNA Thailand sets the sales target (ANP) of DRTV and internet in Y2011 to exceed THB 140 Million, which means 40% growth from last year.” concluded Mr. Denson.

For Y2010 overall business performance, CIGNA Insurance Public Company Limited recorded Net Written Premiums as of December 2010 of THB 717 Million, jumping 122 percent from THB 322 Million of Net Written Premiums as of December 2009. Number of Policy in-force is about 570,000 policies as of the end of Y2010. The Company has set the Y2011 sales target (ANP) of all channels of THB 1.5 Billion, 50% growth from Y2010 sales results.

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Rare Change at Top for A. Eicoff & Company

By: Stuart Elliot

The New York Times- The advertising industry is among those known for turnover in the executive suites. But a changing of the guard at the Chicago agency A. Eicoff & Company marks only the second time since the agency’s founding in 1959 that there will be a new top leader.

A. Eicoff, which has 100 employees, specializes in direct-response television campaigns for marketers like AARP, Lenovo, Quicken Loans and the UnitedHealth Group. The new top manager is Bill McCabe, who is being promoted to president and chief executive after being executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Mr. McCabe, who is 49, succeeds Ron Bliwas, 69, who has been president and chief executive for the last 32 years. Mr. Bliwas, who becomes acting chairman of the agency, became the agency’s second top leader when he succeeded the founder, Alvin Eicoff.

"Bill is the right one to take Eicoff forward," Mr. Bliwas said in a phone interview on Wednesday. He said that he and Mr. McCabe have worked together for the last 27 years.

Mr. McCabe, who joined Mr. Bliwas for the interview, said he was looking forward to exploring opportunities for direct-response television, known as DRTV, in areas like mobile and social media.

DRTV has become more than a method to sell products by toll-free telephone calls, Mr. McCabe said, as more "Fortune 500, Fortune 100 companies" use it "to generate highly qualified sales leads."

Another strength of DRTV is "the ability to use longer spots," he added, a reference to the willingness of many DRTV commercials to extend to two minutes. Other advertisers, including Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Chrysler Group, are producing two-minute commercials for other purposes; those companies’ advertisements appeared, respectively, during the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show.

Eicoff has been part of the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide division of WPP since 1982.

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TV advertising veteran stepping down

By: Robert Channick

Chicago Tribune- Ron Bliwas, the longtime chief executive of A. Eicoff & Co., the Chicago-based direct-response television agency that claims credit for coining the phrase "or your money back," is stepping down.

Bliwas has headed up the nation's largest DRTV agency for 32 years, steering it from a late-night shill for everything from TV Magic Cards and hair growth formulas into a mainstream marketer for companies such as Walgreens, New York Life and The Scooter Store.

The ongoing transition from television to online advertising was one reason for handing the reins to Eicoff veteran Bill McCabe, complete with a guarantee nearly as strong as those in their many 800-number commercials.

"Bill McCabe has been leading this transition into digital media," Bliwas said. "He's better equipped to take the agency forward than me."

Bliwas, 69, who has been with the company for more than four decades, will stay on as acting chairman. McCabe, a 27-year veteran at Eicoff, is moving up from his role as executive vice president and chief operating officer, where he has worked closely with many of the agency's major accounts, including UnitedHealthcare, Quicken Loans, AARP and Genworth Financial.

Eicoff operates as an ad agency, charging a commission for creating, producing and placing commercials on television; they stayed in business by producing "measurable results" for clients, based on direct sales. The agency has grown steadily over the years and has about 120 employees, with projected billings of $600 million in 2012, said Bliwas.

Founded at the dawn of the television age by Alvin Eicoff, the agency pioneered direct-response advertising, blitzing the airwaves with product demonstrations that urged viewers to buy on the spot. Achievements included popularizing the use of 800-number ads in the 1970s and adding the ubiquitous money-back guarantee to close sales in 60 seconds or less.

Some early big sellers included an Easter egg coloring machine known as the Decoregger, TV Magic Cards featuring local magician Marshall Brodien and a record compilation for Columbia House called "101 Great Moments in Music" recordings.

The Columbia House commercial, remembered in a 2002 obituary of Eicoff in the Los Angeles Times, opened with orchestral music and a voice-over saying, "You may think this song is Tony Bennett's 'Strangers in Paradise,' but it is really the 'Polovtsian Dance No. 8' by Alexander Borodin."

Approached by AT&T in the late '70s, the agency was one of the first to incorporate 800 numbers into its commercials, which allowed advertisers to use one spot nationally and consolidate regional call centers, substantially improving results, Bliwas said.

Eicoff also launched what was arguably the first infomercial, in the late '70s, airing a 30-minute broadcast for New Generation, a hair care product that claimed to reverse baldness. Though Eicoff subsequently got out of the infomercial space, the show ran for years, generating huge revenues, if not follicular results.

In the 1980s, Eicoff helped Time-Life books sell the history of just about everything, using the growing reach of cable as the primary medium.

The agency was acquired by Ogilvy & Mather in 1982, soon after Bliwas took over as CEO, and marked a shift from gadgets and gizmos to more mainstream marketing.

"When I became the CEO, I really changed the direction of the agency and made the decision we were not going to do slicers and dicers and records," Bliwas said. "We were going to try to attract Fortune 500 companies, which we did, to do direct-response television."

Direct marketing has been growing steadily in recent years in revenue and prestige. Spending was up by 5.6 percent in 2011, to $163 billion, and now accounts for 52.1 percent of total advertising spending in the U.S., according to the Direct Marketing Association, a New York-based trade organization.

Much of that growth has been through digital channels, where direct response is integral to a range of advertising vehicles.

Once viewed as the poor stepchild of advertising agencies, Eicoff is now seen as perhaps ahead of its time and a forerunner of the digital advertising model, said Lawrence Kimmel, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association.

"There are three revered components of contemporary marketing: data, customer centricity and accountability," Kimmel said. "Those have been core tenets of what they have done throughout. They recognized the importance of accountability in television early on, they made it viable, they made it understandable."

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Eicoff names McCabe CEO, Bliwas becomes ad agency's acting chairman

By: Kate MacArthur

Crain's- Ron Bliwas, head of the country's largest direct-response television agency, A. Eicoff & Co., has announced he's leaving the CEO post after 32 years with the company.

He named Bill McCabe, 49, to become president and CEO. Mr. Bliwas will continue as acting chairman.

"I have done this job for longer than just about any other major agency CEO,” Mr. Bliwas, 69, said in a statement. “I felt it was time to give Bill a chance to take charge. I am confident in his abilities to successfully run the business and ensure Eicoff continues to lead the industry as DRTV takes hold on a much broader scale."

The Chicago-based agency, with 120 employees, is a unit of New York-based ad agency Ogilvy & Mather.

Mr. McCabe, now executive vice president and chief operating officer, has been with Eicoff for 27 years.

Founded in 1959 by Alvin Eicoff — who coined the phrase "Or your money back" and championed the 800 phone number — the agency has grown 50 percent over the last three years to about $600 million in annual billings, Mr. McCabe said in an interview. "Marketers are demanding much more accountability for their TV advertising and that's going to continue," he said.

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DRTV vet Ron Bliwas steps down from CEO role at A. Eicoff & Co.

By: Alex Palmer

Direct Marketing News- Ron Bliwas has handed over the reigns after 32 years as CEO of DRTV agency A. Eicoff & Company, the company said on March 1. Longtime employee Bill McCabe will succeed him in the role, becoming the company's third leader in its 57-year history.

Bliwas will now serve as acting chair of the A. Eicoff, a division of Ogilvy & Mather, where he will continue to offer support and assistance to the agency.

A member of the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame and former chairman of the DMA board, Bliwas helped guide the company to its current position as the largest DRTV agency in the country. He was instrumental in the acquisition of Eicoff & Co. by Ogilvy & Mather in 1982.

Bliwas also emphasized that the company's success in attracting top clients was helped by his decision to avoid infomercials and what he calls "slicers and dicers."

"You can't attract the kind of clients that we have — the Met Lifes and the New York Lifes and the United Health Groups — if you're dealing with the grapefruit diet and the abdominizer and all those things," Bliwas said.

McCabe himself has been with A. Eicoff for 27 years, most recently serving as EVP and COO, during which time he worked with such clients Quicken Loans, AARP and Genworth Financial.

McCabe takes on the role at a time when the DRTV landscape is changing dramatically, with online and mobile video competing for viewer attention. However, McCabe described the growth of online as having created new opportunities for A. Eicoff's work.

"The Internet is the best thing that happened to us," McCabe said. "What we do is really sskind of a form of online marketing; we measure every single spot, every station is like its own website [and] we're ... using online strategies on television."

McCabe said TV advertising will have even stronger direct response elements in the years ahead, with URLs or toll-free numbers likely to appear in virtually all commercials in the next five to ten years.

"It's going to be a seamless transition,” Bliwas said of his replacement.

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