Can We Change the Advertising World in 45 Minutes?

Jason Flick
Jason Flick CEO and Co-Founder

Can We Change the Advertising World in 45 Minutes?

Last month I was on a panel at NAB discussing the success that Fox International is having with in-app ads. The panel shared Fox’s story about how incorporation of Powerade branding within the user experience had helped to drive product sales – and helped Fox generate a year’s worth of sponsor revenue in a single month.

Seems you can’t make an in-app ad without breaking a few eggs in the legacy television ad community. No sooner was the Fox International example on the table than proponents of more traditional TV opportunities were a) asking what other networks are following Fox’s lead and b) implying that Madison Avenue couldn’t possibly move in a direction that runs counter to the majority of network ad formats.

They’re valid questions, but the answer has become increasingly clear:

Madison Avenue already is breaking free from the traditional TV :30.

Between NAB two weeks ago and our “Future of Video Advertising” panel tomorrow at the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit at the W New York Midtown, there has been a flurry of headline confirmations that advertisers’ reliance on decades-old ad paradigms is waning. Barclays has voiced concern that television ad “pricing growth is not enough to offset the declines in volumes.” At the same time, Amazon is predicting a two-year ad revenue growth rate of 37%. And Ampere Analysis predicts that the average Facebook user soon will be “worth more than the average TV viewer.”

We’ve talked before about the reasons driving the shift: the greater reliance on mobile devices and the rise of new experiences that are independent of pre-roll and mid-roll ads; the truncated attention spans of audiences and the rise of on-demand viewing; and, of course, the increased use of ad-skipping technology. And we’ve suggested that what advertisers need is a way to integrate ads into the TV app itself.

What’s equally important is giving advertisers a single view — a single source of truth — that can seamlessly provide a clear picture of viewer patterns across the entire user landscape. The proliferation of viewing devices has saddled the ad community with the challenges of countless silos of viewer data and the difficulty of creating or updating ads for each form factor.  

We can’t speak for Fox International, but we’d like to think that what they’re finding is this:  It’s more effective to create relationships with the viewer within the app environment than it is to interrupt the flow of content and signal to the viewer that it’s OK to walk away from the screen for 30 seconds or a minute.  What’s exciting the brands with which we are engaged is the ability of new technologies to bind ads and content seamlessly into a single, compelling experience across every device, providing advertisers with the data they need to move the needle.

Can we change the advertising world in 45 minutes? It’s a tall order for 9:15 ET on a Tuesday morning, but our “Future of Video Advertising” has some of the best and the brightest in our industry: Turner ad sales president Donna Speziale; Group M North America Investment president Lyle Schwartz; Hulu ad sales SVP Peter Naylor; Omnicom North America Investment president Catherine Sullivan; FreeWheel publisher platform GM James Rooke; Variety moderator Brian Steinberg — and me.

At the DigitalContent NewFronts in New York last week in New York City, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Randall Rothenberg pronounced digital video at the inflection point of having become a “completely mainstream consumer medium.” As the entire advertising ecosystem rethinks roles within the future of advertising to capture those audiences, the content industry is arriving at its own pivotal moment: they need to turn away from outdated advertising models and to embrace new, immersive opportunities that can maintain viewer attention and generate impactful results.


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