Thursday, March 06, 2008

Video On Whose Demand?

At the 4A’s Media Conference and Trade Show in Orlando this week, one of the hot topics is if VOD will ever live up to its potential?

I would counter that it already has. No, not on your TV.

On your computer.

Demand a video online, and chances are, you can find it. This may not be true of movies, but it holds fairly true for most other forms of video.

According to Advertising Age, VOD has long been seen as a new hope for advertisers. With more consumers using ad-skipping DVRs, VOD is seen as something media outlets and marketer have more control over.

Something media outlets and marketers have more control over?

Oooops. Do you think that could be the problem?

Viewers like VOD because they get to be in control. Not because they get to be almost in control.

Media outlets and many marketers still feel that video should be offered according to their demands, not the demands of the viewers. Not surprisingly, the demands of the media outlets and marketers means forced viewing of advertising.

Not something that is going over particularly well these days.

The trade-off seems to be, at least according to ABC's recent announcement, that ABC will give viewers programs worth watching on VOD, but in return, they’re not going to let viewers fast-forward through any advertising.

In other words, ABC is declaring that it’s their way or the highway. I wonder if they've glanced out of their ivory towers at the highway recently?

Damn thing looks like a L.A. freeway during rush hour.

And it will keep getting more crowded until media outlets and marketers realize that the only way to regain control is to give the viewer complete control.

Come again.

Real control today lies in data. Advertisers pay well for data. The more control a media outlet gives the viewer, the more data they get about that viewer.

Which means, the more dollars they can charge for that viewer.

Take engagement, for an example.

Advertisers want to know if viewers engaged in their ad. The only way to truly measure engagement is to give the viewer the ability to disengage.

In other words, to give the viewer complete control.

Which means maybe the question shouldn’t be so much about whether or not VOD will ever live up to its potential.

Maybe the question should be, will media outlets and marketers ever live up to theirs?

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