NBC's Nick Johnson on the Challenges of Online Video Ads with NBC Universal
Nick Johnson, vice president of digital media sales for NBC, says online video is bringing in a new, younger audience for the network's programming.
The integration of traditional and digital video from the mainstream advertising community is probably evaluated in two fronts. There's what they are doing with copy and creative. And essentially we're seeing that the industry is a little slow to move, which is a little frustrating in that the digital medium really lends itself very well to interesting experiences online with a very engaged audience. And we're seeing the majority of video advertising that we're seeing is really an extension of what they're doing on air. So if 15s and 30s that are right cleared for online, from a TV broadcast perspective, we are starting to see a lot more interest in integrating with programming and extending the experience from broadcast to digital, going deeper with sponsorships and integration. We think it is a movement in the right direction. And we are trying to facilitate that conversation, but I think it is still a ways away before it becomes mainstream in the digital arena. With our video programming we have conducted quite a bit of research online, and really it has been proving out the effectiveness of video advertising with a real focus in the experience online. We've seen a couple of very interesting trends. Number one is things like recall intent, favorability is all in the high 70-80% range, so we see that people who are engaging with video advertising in the streaming environment really has a positive impact on the relationship with the brand. The other piece of research that has been very compelling to us is that in a world where there is a lot of discussion about commercial ratings and online there is a lot of discussion about the impact of DVRs then we have a player called rewind, and the objective of that player is to give our users the ability to view long form video. The nice thing there is that people can't skip through advertisings, though they're sitting through advertisings in their entirety. From the NBC perspective, the research there is actually really cool, and what we've learned is that a third of people viewing our programming online are viewing it for the first time. So when there's a lot of discussion about rating points maybe eroding in broadcast, what we are seeing is a lot of those users are coming to our sites and experiencing shows like "Heroes," and "30 Rock" for the first time online. So we're actually keeping audiences through NBC.com, which is actually really compelling piece of data that we pulled from research. One thing about the challenge of online video, I look at it in two ways. One is the consumption of it from the consumer's perspective and then marketing implications. All the activity on the distribution front I think is going to stimulate and activate younger consumers and let them consume video in a way that they haven t previously done. I mean, when you look at adoption of the DVR, I have a three-year old daughter that thinks "Dora" is on any time she wants, and has no idea that it's not if we don't have the box. So in my bedroom when she wants to watch TV in the morning is confused by the fact that Dora's not on. So we see this behavior being modified very very quickly. I think that as people get used to looking at long form programming through the Internet obviously that's going to affect how they consume media, particularly, that younger audience. We see that the audience on NBC.com is a lot younger than we see on our air. It is really a very challenging problem right now how to get our heads around how we can accelerate video advertising online. There is the right issues, there is the cost of producing new forms of video online, there are creative implications of what is the right mix. We've definitely tethered to the installed base of 15s and 30s from the linear world. We don't believe that traditional links of video are necessarily applicable for digital. So that's a gap for us. It's not just the education and the creation of compelling programs, but just the organizational shifts need to occur, both on the broadcast side of creating really robust 360 packages — which we're actively doing — but also the structuring of the agencies to nimbly buy those. And once that's done, trying to figure out how to get the process going so we can create new and innovative programs that are beyond just some of the things straight out of the can. We're doing that now, we do it with great partners now, it's just not a ubiquitous offering right now because of the way the organization is structured.
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