Yesterday, the chairman of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, Kevin Reilly, said, “A lot of us – the way we conduct ourselves – we have our head up our ass.”
Mr Reilly was referring to the fact that while consumer television viewing habits are changing, the industry is not.
Also on the panel was Ken Ziffren, partner in the law firm Ziffren Brittenham. Mr Ziffren said, "How are we going to monetize [programming] five to seven years from now when advertising isn’t gong to be counted by eyeballs? It’s going to be counted by engagement.”
Advertising counted by engagement, not impressions?
Mr Ziffren didn’t go into details as to how engagement would be measured. But one of the most logical ways is through time spent. After all, a commercial has a time element to it, usually thirty seconds.
Therefore, when it comes to a commercial, engagement has a time element to it.
Total possible engagement is the length of the commercial.
Where I believe that Mr Reilly and Mr Ziffren missed the point is that they were referring to “engagement” as a media issue.
Media gets the horse to water. It doesn’t make the horse drink (unless it’s a forced view).
Engagement is about the content, not the placement. In other words, about the creative, not the media.
It’s about what happens inside the video or commercial, not outside.
That said, engagement, measured as time spent, will be a currency. But it will be the currency of creative. Not of media buying and planning.
So will publishers be able to make money from this currency of creative?
Of course. After all, the publishers have the data. Not only as to how many watch, but for how long.
Sell the data of how many to the media agencies.
Sell the data of how long to the creative agencies.
By realizing that engagement is the currency of creative, publishers double their customer base - media and creative agencies - as well as their income stream.
Not by doing anything differently.
But by looking at it differently.
That’s the digital mindchange that is needed.
And if we don’t all do it soon, our heads will be up all of our arses.