The ‘Targeted TV News’ Category

Viacom’s CMT Turns To ‘Personalized’ Online Promos With Eyeview, Adobe To Boost Tune-In

MTV Networks' country-culture channel CMT will be extending promotions for two new series to the web with a targeted twist thanks to a deal with Adobe and ad tech firm Eyeview.

When ads for the CMT shows, Bayou Billionaires and My Big Redneck Vacation, are presented to someone while online, the video spots will play with information that reflects the location that person is watching, such as providing them a listing of the specific cable channel they can see CMT on. The online ads are updated to also reflect the changing times the shows are on in repeats.

In an interview with TVexchanger, Tal Riesenfeld, Eyeview co-founder and VP of Business Development, claimed that tests of the company's "personalization"  technology drove a 40 percent increase in click through rates compared to a non-personalized tune-in creative.  He also pointed to a brand awareness study the company commissioned from  Vizu brand that said the promos boosted "expressed viewing intent" by 21 percent when the creative featured specific local details on show times and channels. The notion of targeting driving more awareness sounds reasonable -- if you focus on the right audience and offer a detailed call to action, such as "call this number," it's natural that an advertiser will generally see some sort of lift in awareness.

And it's coming at a time when some TV networks are seeing sharp ratings declines -- not a good thing for sellers in the weeks before the upfront negotiations start. The WSJ's  Sam Schechner pointed to Nielsen numbers that showed that Viacom's flagship MTV saw the number of viewers 12 to 34 years old for prime-time shows drop 24 percent, as reality hit Jersey Shore appears to be waning.

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DirecTV Plans National Addressable Ad Rollout, Expands INVISION Partnership

addressing TVAfter several months of aiming addressable TV ads locally, DirecTV will start selling its targeted ads nationally by the end of the second quarter, as the company extends management of its linear ad sales by INVISION to include advanced TV as well.

The move is the culmination of over three years of work between DirecTV and INVISION, which is primarily known for its cross-platform ad sales management software, DealMaker. DirecTV went live with DealMaker in January 2011 for its linear ad sales. “This is the beginning of phase two,” said INVISION CEO Lynda Clarizio in an interview. “This is also the first satellite company we’ve worked with on establishing a national addressable advertising platform. We have the opportunity to roll it out to others, but right now, we’re just working with DirecTV.”

As part of the work with DirecTV, INVISION has also been working with INVIDI, an ad tech firm that provides set-top box software for enabling addressable advertising solutions for cable, satellite, telco and IPTV operators.

Separately, DirecTV has been collaborating on the actual ad sales for its addressable inventory with Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group. About four advertisers have been lined up to kick off DirecTV’s national addressable ad program, Rich Forester, DirecTV’s VP of New Business Development, told TVExchanger.

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Bridging The Online-Offline Gap With Collective And Rentrak; Quality Apps Needed

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Bridging The Online-Offline Gap

At some point, we're all going to stop talking about online and offline, new media and old, video and TV. But until that day comes, there's going to be a lot of companies positioning their services as pioneers of bringing online video advertising and traditional TV buying closer together.

Collective, once known as an "ad network" (that's so 2007!) and lately positioning itself as a more general "ad tech firm," has struck a deal with set-top box audience data aggregator Rentrak in what appears to be its biggest effort in the U.S. to build a business around digital video.

Back in March, Collective clearly marked its path to targeted TV with the purchase of UK premium video ad network Web TV Enterprise. Unlike most video networks, Web TV's revenues are driven largely from broadcast media budgets versus smaller digital plans. That notion is the key to understanding where the true media gold rush is these days.

For years, online advertising, with its double-digit growth was seen as the future and TV was viewed as the past. There was so much talk about video studios like Next New Networks (now owned by Google) and Black20 (still around, but not as buzzy) as the "new TV." It turns out that the "old TV" model is where the money is – and will be, for the foreseeable future.

In looking at the current landscape, there is an admission of that, as online ad pioneers like Dave Morgan (founder of the original Real Media and ad targeter Tacoda) and former Right Media head Bill Wise set their respective sights on bringing online buying methods to TV.

By working in concert with Rentrak, Collective hopes to establish a system that will be able to discern the extra reach and frequency of online display and video ads to traditional TV advertising campaigns.

"The combination of these assets allows advertisers to control reach and frequency across TV and online audiences for the first time," said a statement from Justin Evans, the former Nielsen exec and current SVP of emerging media for Collective.

It stands to reason that consumers who are exposed to ads online and offline will result in a greater brand lift for a marketer. But the entities who can prove the rate of brand lift in those cases will be the ones rewarded by advertisers, who are increasingly demanding proof of return on their ad spending. Rentrak is best positioned to help Collective deliver on that promise. But they are by no means the last word on this process. The next few months will bring a flurry of deals and acquisitions in this online/offline video arena. In other words, stay tuned... Read Collective's release.

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Sooner Or Later, Netflix And Starz To Reunite; MobiTV Has International Appeal

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Don’t Cry For Netflix

From the looks of it, Netflix has gone from golden to rusty in a matter of weeks. It suffered immediate backlash when it unveiled its bifurcated pricing plan – pay $7.99 for streaming only if you still want DVDs in the mail, subscriptions range from $7.99 (one at a time) to $11.99 (2 at a time). DVD and streaming? Pay $15.98. And then, on the same day that the new pricing structure took affect, one of Netflix streaming service’s key content partners, cable channel Starz, refused to renew its deal.

Netflix sure looked desperate not to lose Starz. CEO Reed Hastings was willing to pay the cable movie channel $300 million a year for continued streaming rights, according to the LA Times. But Starz was interested in something more than just a higher fee. It wanted Netflix to act more like, well, a cable company, not an over-the-top service that will continue to threaten the current ways cable companies make money. Specifically, Starz wanted Netflix to charge users a tiered rate, where subscribers pay more for "premium" content. Netflix balked.

In the short term, this means that many users will go back to using competitors like Redbox, since the availability of hot new movie rentals won’t be coming to Netflix. Aware of that, and the growing consumer displeasure with the separate pricing for streaming and DVD rentals, investors sent Netflix’s stock down about 9 percent on Friday.

But BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield argues (subscription) that this isn’t necessarily the end of Netflix. For one thing, users are already using Netflix as an easy, TV rerun service. Not having to pay Starz an exorbitant sum for a lot of box office flops that most people can get on cable anyway frees up more Netflix cash to spend on broadcast content.

Sooner or later, Starz and Netflix will be back together. As consumers continue to make the leap to over-the-top services, Starz will eventually find it advantageous to have a toehold in that area. Give it another few months and you might see an announcement of a “reconciliation” between the two media companies.

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TV Becoming Personal Device; Google’s Schmidt Asks Broadcasters To Embrace Technology

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Should TV Be Targeted?

The notion of addressable TV isn’t a fantasy anymore, but the reality remains a little complicated. Razorfish’s emerging practice head Jeremy Lockhorn, writing in Clickz, identifies three pain points plaguing targeted TV that the industry must deal with to move the business of targeted TV forward.

There are, of course, the familiar hurdles – technological (existing equipment was not made as a pipeline for ads), privacy (consumers remain leery of targeting) and the nature of TV as a mass medium, not a one-to-one format like the PC or mobile.

It’s that last point where Lockhorn goes out on a limb to suggest that maybe addressable TV is just not the right thing for TV. Though he insists he’s just thinking out loud and not calling for an end to the pursuit of addressable TV, Lockhorn wonders if the phone makes more sense as a targetable instrument because people tend not to share the same device. But family is often a communal experience, with friends and family often watching the same set together, even programming that’s time-shifted via DVR. Even if they don’t watch together, different people do watch the same set at different times, making it nearly impossible to know who exactly is tuning in: a 34-year-old man or woman, or a 12-year-old kid.

But the TV viewing experience is becoming a more personal device. For a generation, even less prosperous households have had a TV for each person living there. Secondly, TV and the web is becoming much more entwined, with adoption of wifi-enabled sets bringing greater similarity to all screens, whether nailed to the wall or set on lap or carried in a pocket.

Those changes will make targeted TV succeed despite the industry’s technological and political challenges.

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SVP Siegel Discusses New Ford Deal And Rovi’s Interactive, Digital TV Advertising Network

Rovi and FordLast Wednesday, Rovi Corporation announced that it is "collaborating with Ford Motor Company on a comprehensive digital TV advertising program across the Rovi Advertising Network." The company says that its approach to advertising on digital TV is unique and uses an ad banner within the TV guide which viewers use to select programming. Read the release.

Jeff Siegel is SVP of Advertising at ROVI. He discussed the deal with Ford and its implications. What would you say is the tipping point for a company such as Ford to buy on Rovi's ad network?

JS: I believe our customers have repeatedly seen the value of reaching the living room audience when they are in active search mode. Specifically for Ford, they are able to engage with their targeted and enable them to explore the numerous innovative features of its vehicles on their big screen TV through their remote control.

Looking at the user, why does a banner ad within the TV guide work?

Based on Rovi's guide usage data, 86% of consumers use their guides, and with an average of 12 visits a day and 18 minutes a day.

When viewers visit their Guide, or internet connected platform (TVs, and Blu-Rays) they are searching for content. During this process, they will engage with whatever subject matter that interests them whether it's sports, news, apps, or automotive content from Ford & Lincoln. The pertinent and compelling messaging that provided to them ceases to be an "ad", and instead becomes a content choice.

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Time Warner Cable Gets Insight; Hit Them Where The Ratings Are

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TWC's Many 'Insights'

Time Warner Cable's $3 billion purchase of cable operator Insight Communications would appear to be as straightforward a deal as any other. On the face of it, TWC, the U.S.'s number two MSO, gets to immediately expand its footprint in Insight's Midwest and southern turf. In addition to adding Insight's 750,000 subs, TWC says it will save about $100 million through the elimination of duplications in programming and corporate costs including staff and infrastructure. Read the release.

But The Wrap's Matthew Cain senses something else at work here. With dwindling cable subscribers, MSOs are desperate to reach more consumers and will pay through the nose to get at them.

How much more? Insight sold roughly half of its subscribers to Comcast in January 2008 for $1.3 billion. Cain does the math on the TWC deal and reckons that the MSO paid a per-subscriber valuation of about $3,950 -- more than 50 percent higher than just six years ago.

Cain concludes that TWC made a pretty smart move, at least for the moment. Insight was able to derive annual subscriber revenues of $850 in 2005; today, that amount is $1,400. Still, with cable subscriber numbers falling across the board for the last year, does that mean the ones who remain will be more valuable? Or less? Given the need for public cable companies to downplay subscriber losses to investors, expect to see smaller pay TV providers being snapped up for those precious cable consumers.

In the meantime, don't say TWC doesn't see the handwriting on the walls. GigaOm's Ryan Lawler highlights the company's efforts to build up its growing broadband access business, though the traditional pay TV side makes up more than half its annual revenue. So far, most of TWC's rivals reject the notion of becoming just an "internet pipe," but TWC has tended to follow its own path, especially when it comes to aiming bundled packages at low-income consumers. Right now, it hasn't seemed to paid off much, but as the weak economy shows no signs of abating, TWC may yet be proved prescient. (For a look at Yahoo's "entertainment check-in" plans, take a look at this video interview on the Hill Holiday blog featuring Adam Cahan, the CEO of IntoNow, which the portal acquired a few months ago.)

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TV Ad Spending Continues Unabated; About Those Offline Ratings Online

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TV Ad Spend’s Safe

Any honest attempt to predict where the economy is going these days is futile. Every day last week, the stock market’s fluctuations truly resembled a yo-yo: startling lows one day, rapid rises the next and so on. But one thing is safe to say: TV ad spending is not going to feel shocks any time soon.

There are a number of reasons for this, starting with the most obvious: TV ad budgets are planned and negotiated months in advance. The spending for this year for broadcast and cable are pretty much locked in. That’s one area where television has a distinct advantage over digital – if you’re a publisher, at least – since money flows into and out of online with increasing rapidity.

It’s not just the longer-term that looks good for the continuing flow of TV ad dollars. Current ad spending through the scatter market have held steady. In reporting Viacom’s Q2 earnings, CEO Philippe Dauman said scatter pricing rose more than 10 percent for the three months ending in June, driving a 12 percent gain in domestic ad sales in the spring — and a prediction for double-digit growth this summer, too, reports the NYT’s Brian Stelter and Tanzina Vega.

Unemployment in the U.S. has been and remains painfully high. And consumer confidence has been fairly low as well. Neither of these conditions have escaped advertisers’ and media companies’ sight and that has factored into their ad budgeting throughout. Therefore, with TV still at historically high spending, there’s been nothing so far – barring the collapse of the European banking system or some devastating natural disaster – to expect much of a change in the habits of marketers and their desire for more TV ad spending.

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