Late From OMMA Hollywood: Buying Video and Looking Smart Doing It

Nothing worse than your laptop battery dying while your boss is speaking on a panel. Well, a few things are, but I guess that depends on who your boss is. So pardon the cut-and-paste job from my notes that are now a few hours (and a few vodka tonics) late.

I walked in late to the “How to Buy Video and Look Smart Doing It” panel because the previous panel ran over. The core question is how to hit scale and how to buy it. Buying across a lot of publishers in a seamless way is very dependent on the backend technology. Tremor’s Randy Kilgore believes that technology will be they key to breaking out of the pre-roll vs. overlay box that the industry is stuck in. “People are turning offline dollars into online pennies.” There’s a need to do better.

Reset Media‘s Chris Bryant believes that the content distribution model needs to change before premium content owners see a real shift. Hulu’s model starts a bit of a stir on the panel. Finally a bit of excitement, but it was short lived. Everyone wanting to get to the cocktail party definitely stifles a heated debate….and so does having companies in symbiotic relationships on the same panel. But we digress.

Chris Johnson from Brightcove says that no single format, and no single distribution channel will solve all of the issues that the industry faces. Content owners need to get content where their users are, and not wait for users to come to them. Over time, experimenting will get results, and then “lather, rinse, repeat.”

Original content for online can’t be compared to long form, TV content. Even for TV shows ported online, users are only consuming about 10 minutes online of an hour long show offline. Very utilitarian. Better targeting for the content in the video rather than site level will help. Chris Johnson disagrees: “If I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy, I’m not looking for a doctor, so that kind of targeting won’t work.”

YuMe‘s Stephen Comfort said that the biggest advertisers are being the most pro-active, and bringing concepts and ideas to the market. “Just like the 1950s when Tide would bring a concept for a show, big advertisers are doing the same thing again.”

(this is where my battery died, and now I have to re-read my hand-written notes)

The discussion turned to widgets, despite the fact that the widget panel was going on in the next room. Chris Johnson talked about “marketers as publishers,” including Kohler’s branded content promoting kitchen and bath design, as well as Stop & Shop’s “why S&S is good for me” as examples of marketers leveraging their audience and their interests. He also cited Heavy.com as a publisher who clearly understands their audience, and delivers content that is totally for them.

Randy Kilgore reminded the audience to not lose sight of the fact that advertising is about selling products. The most effective advertising are the ads that sell stuff, not just the ads that make people laugh. Creating fun ads is fun, but not necessarily effective when measuring ROI.

YuMe’s Comfort said that the best campaigns are the ones where advertisers user multiple creative assets. “Go the extra mile and do the overlays and banners, too. It opens doors. There is a limited amount of content that makes sense for a :30 pre-roll.”

Brightcove’s Chris Johnson agreed, saying that leveraging offline ad content with overlays and banners makes a lot of sense and costs very little compared to the original investment.

An interesting conundrum that was discussed was the online vs. offline buyers market. Having traditional offline people enter the online space can be interesting because they don’t want – or aren’t used to – all the data and reporting that online advertising can produce. It can be overwhelming for them.

Randy Kilgore wrapped up, mentioning Microsoft as a good example of a brand embracing the online model. They spend 2.5% of their media budget just testing new formats, and more advertisers need to follow their lead.

And that, our dear readers, wraps up day 1 of the OMMA Hollywood conference. Day two updates to follow shortly.