On Sunday, it was backed up by the fact that T-Mobile was the only Super Bowl advertiser to show a different commercial to viewers live-streaming the game instead of watching on TV. Most advertisers just ran the same spot both on TV and live-streaming.
The reasoning? According to Seth Winter, Exec VP of Sales and Marketing at NBC Sports Group, “You can’t expect to put the same amount of revenue into something that delivers far, far less eyeballs because most people will be watching the game on the NBC television network rather than the stream”.
In other words, any investment to create a separate commercial will need to be weighed against the number of people who might have the chance to see it.
It’s easier to spend a half million dollars on production when a commercial will be seen 20 million people.
But if only half a million might see it, that’s a tougher nut to swallow.
The problem is that content must be created in context of control. When viewers control the media, commercials need to be constructed differently than commercials that will intrude on the viewing experience.
Which means different types of commercials need to be created for different types of viewer control.
So how can we afford to create great, emotional, story-telling commercials for the smaller audiences that will become more of the norm most of the time?
There needs to be a different way of paying for commercial production.
A way that allows advertisers to pay based on the amount of time viewers spend with the commercial, rather than the amount of viewers that are exposed to it.
Currently, the cost of commercial production is justified through audience size.
In the future, the cost of commercial production will be justified through time spent with the commercial. And, paid for after the fact.
Look at it this way, if 1 million people watch only 10 seconds of a :60 spot, that’s 10 million seconds of time spent with the brand. But if 200,000 people watch all :60, that’s 12 million seconds of time spent with the brand.
As an advertiser, which one gives you the most return for your production dollars spent?