Streaming: A Paradigm Shift

Written on
Aug 8, 2017 
Melinda McLaughlin  |

Q: It was recently reported that Netflix subscriptions have surpassed cable subscriptions. What does this mean for advertisers? How should they adjust their approach to TV and video advertising in the wake of changing consumption habits?

A: In many ways, changing consumption habits has been a boon for advertisers. With these new forms of media come limitless opportunities for brands to creatively engage with their audiences. Take for example Heineken’s recent “#OpenYourWorld” commercial, which at over four minutes long looks more like a mini documentary than an advertisement. Despite the departure from the traditional 30-second format, Heineken’s strength in storytelling made this a compelling piece of content that earned the often sought after but highly elusive viral behavior.

Online and mobile viewers are similarly embracing ads that bend the rules of what an ad is “supposed” to look like. Creative teams are going way beyond old paradigms to build out eye-catching and interactive advertisements that consumers are excited to experience. Sometimes it takes new forms but often it’s just highly creative approaches built specifically for new kinds of moments and mind frames. I think ultimately, by continuing to push the boundaries of creativity, the advertising industry is poised to thrive as screen habits change.

Q: How does the shift from the traditional television platform to multiple devices affect the way people consume ads?

A: It’s estimated that during the Super Bowl, roughly 75 percent of viewers were using two devices. For advertisers this is both a blessing and a curse – people are spending more and more of their time looking at screens, but have become distracted viewers as a result. The upside for advertisers is that more screens, means more opportunities to tell a compelling story about your brand with sight, sound and motion. TV continues to provide a very solid base of mass reach while other screens and devices allow more one-to-one touch points. And despite the examples given above, the :15 and :30 second ad remain, not just viable but essential for telling brand stories and establishing a foundational platform of reach across the traditional “big screen” TV and many other screens as well. It’s due to the multitude of screens now available that Super Bowl ads, for example, live way beyond Game Day itself. The spots that make us laugh, cry or cringe can be shared with a click or a tap. Like most things in life, change brings challenges and new opportunities.

The future of the ad industry relies on all of us to see our glass as half full and seize the exciting new opportunities to engage consumers as people and not aggregate sums of ratings points. That has always been the end game of advertising and now it’s possible like never before.

Q: What do you think is the main challenge for advertisers in a multi-screen world?

A: From a logistical standpoint, the rise of multiple screens and devices poses a unique set of executional challenges for advertisers. An ad formatted for a TV screen—and the process to get it there— is entirely different from the very same ad deployed to play perfectly on any video screen. Getting all the creative assets in the correct format to the right screen is not as easy as it should be in an age where media can be bought and sold in mere fractions of a second. The last area to automate for a bright future is the actual ad creative workflow, in a way that locks usage with all the complex Talent & Rights guidelines that used to be easy to manage in the closed system of Linear TV. Luckily, that is far easier than the innovation and work being done in the media planning and buying space because it just means applying what is already in place—cloud technology and the internet—to do away with old processes and usher in the new day where the creative moves as seamlessly and in parallel with media that finds, secures and tees up the moments in milliseconds.

Q: Why should the media industry stream ads the way it streams content?

A: Because we can and there’s simply no reason not to. Streaming has become the norm for content sharing because it is the most effective means of ensuring the highest quality for every person who accesses that content, while also allowing the content owner to maintain complete control and oversight of the rights. We stream movies and TV shows on Netflix and we stream music on Spotify. It’s part of our daily routine.

For brand marketers, ads are their crown jewels – their most precious content. They’ve invested large amounts of time and money into these gems that brilliantly tell their story. Why would we continue ask advertisers and their agencies to pay to make copies of files, burden ops teams with FTP’ing assets all over the place, risk quality degradation, incur rights infractions and slow down speed to market when none of that is necessary anymore?

Streaming is a simple change, available and understood today, that benefits all players in the video advertising ecosystem. And here’s the kicker, no one needs to change vendors. The industry just needs to say yes and change behavior. It’s happening now with many of our clients and believe me, they would NEVER go back to old-school ways.

Q: What are your insights on the future of the way the advertising industry operates?

A: I’m optimistic that we’re headed to a future where working in advertising once again offers the opportunity to be creative and strategic and to have fun building the future of brands.

Professionals will spend less time on the process of getting ads where they need to go, and more time on the things that attracted them to the industry in the first place. As we’ve discussed, the rise of automated media buying, which now happens more or less instantaneously, has moved the buy side of the industry swiftly forward. The missing piece of this puzzle is getting all creative assets wherever they need to play with the same speed, automation and accuracy that we see on the buy side.

Ad streaming provides a very simple solution being employed today with great success and one that benefits all parts of the video advertising ecosystem. This will be transformative for the industry.

Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach, a leader in video advertising, has years of experience, first in the agency world and now in adtech. That's given her a front-row view to the evolution of audience engagement.

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