The Bundle Begins To Crumble

Jim Nail

The past week has been big for the TV business, and the once indivisible bundle of networks that come in pay-TV subscriptions has begun to unravel:

  • ESPN and the NBA hinted that they would launch a streaming service that viewers could subscribe to without a cable, satellite, or telco pay-TV subscription. 
  • HBO wasn't so subtle -- They flat out announced they will launch a standalone HBO Go subscription in 2015.
  • CBS announced a new All Access product, offering current season series not available on other streaming services, plus a library of past episodes and shows.
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New Streaming Service From ESPN And The NBA Rumored: No Cable Subscription Required

Jim Nail

This morning, the NBA and ESPN are announcing terms of the renewal of their licensing contract. The numbers are huge, but that's not what caught my eye.

Early reports say that ESPN will launch a streaming service for live games — and viewers won't need a cable or satellite subscription to view them.

This is the first crack in the structure of the television business that has been in place for decades, in which the programmers and MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors, aka cable, satellite, and telco companies) have a strong co-dependence and why today viewers must authenticate their cable/satellite/telco subscription in order to stream programming from the TV-everywhere app or network app.

Will other networks and programmers follow suit? Will more consumers cut the cord if they can now get their live sports content online?

Stay tuned for more details . . .

Update 11:45 eastern time. 

I just watched the video of the press conference. Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, and John Skipper, president of ESPN, both mentioned the new OTT service, but there are scant details and a promise for more later. Mr. Skipper down played the potential impact on pay TV, stating that "the preponderance of the deal is to invest in new products that go on pay TV . . . "and saying ". . . there is no contradiction in continuing to enhance and buttress the current system while building new businesses and new ways to reach fans. We think they are complementary."

Turner President David Levy emphasized that they retained TV-everywhere rights as well as NBA's digital properties, including NBATV, NBA.com, and League Pass, a service that streams games not broadcast.  

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As Tablet And Video Display Gains Momentum In Europe, Forrester Expects Online Display Revenues To Reach €11.9 Billion In 2019

Luca Paderni

This is a guest post by Samantha Merlivat, a researcher serving Marketing Leadership professionals.

Forrester’s Western European Online Display Advertising Forecast projects that online display advertising spend will rise at a CAGR of 10.3% between 2014 and 2019, jumping from €7.3 billion to €11.9billion. Two factors will account for the double-digit growth rate:

  • Mobile display will pick up quickly over the next five years, with tablet taking off full speed in virtually every European market. With their larger screen real estate and growing role in customers’ path to purchase, tablet-based ads will grow at a 40.5% CAGR over the period, attracting a third of total online display revenue by 2019.
  • Video and rich media formats are also growing strong. Video in particular will increase 20% annually over the next five years. Attracted by the higher opportunities for story-telling and building engagement, marketers will be willing to invest higher CPMs in these formats.
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Video Growth Drives Display Advertising Spending To $37.6 Billion In 2019

This is a guest post by Samantha Merlivat, a researcher serving Marketing Leadership professionals.

US online display advertising will grow from $19.8 billion in 2014 to $37.6 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 13.7%. The offline ad market, in comparison, will grow at a modest 1% CAGR over the same period. Forrester just released the latest US Online Display Advertising Forecast report, which details why the online display industry will have video and mobile to thank for the double-digit growth rate:

  • Video advertising will represent nearly 55% of online display advertising revenue on desktop by 2019. Its growth will be cannibalizing primarily static display. Marketers’ preference for video and rich media reflects their new ambitions for online display: They are moving beyond the notion of display as a direct response tool, and starting to explore display as an engagement and branding tool.
  • Mobile ads will represent 39% of total online display in 2019 compared with 24% in 2014. Tablet display, in particular, will be a medium to be reckoned with in the future as it comes to play a greater role in customers’ path to purchase and in web-influenced shopping.
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How Software Ate The Advertising Industry

Jim Nail

With the Wall Street Journal declaring Ad Week "Programmatic Advertising Week" and Advertising Age's September 29 issue titled "Advertising Age of Automation," it's clear that adtech is all the rage.

This might be a good time for you, gentle reader, to revisit my report from this past February, How Software Is Eating Video Ads And, Soon, TV. (I adapted this title with a tip of the hat to Marc Andreessen!)

Invest In Analytics To Meet Your Mobile Objectives

Thomas Husson

A year ago, I blogged about the fact that the app economy was blurring the lines and opening up new opportunities, with a lot of new entrants in the mobile space, be it with mobile CRM and analytics, store analytics, dedicated gaming analytics, etc.

Since 2010, more than 40 companies have raised about $500 million in that space! Watch it closely – consolidation will continue, as evidenced recently by Yahoo’s acquisition of Flurry.

While a lot of innovation is happening on the supply-side, too many marketers have not defined the metrics they’ll use to measure the success of their mobile initiatives. Many lack the tools they need to deeply analyze traffic and behaviors to optimize their performance.

Fifty-seven percent of marketers we surveyed do not have defined mobile objectives. For those who do, goals are not necessarily clearly defined, prioritized, and quantified. Only 38% of marketers surveyed use a mobile analytics solution! Most marketers consider mobile as a loyalty channel: a way to improve customer engagement and increase satisfaction. Marketers must define precisely what they expect their customers to do on their mobile websites or mobile apps, and what actions they would like customers to take, before tracking progress. Too many marketers focus on traffic and app downloads rather than usage and time spent. While 30% of marketers surveyed consider increasing brand awareness as a key objective for their mobile initiatives, only 16% have defined it as a key metric to measure their success!

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Forrester’s First Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast

Xiaofeng Wang

As social media adoption continues to grow in Asia Pacific (AP), so too does marketers’ spending on social advertising. Forrester’s just-published Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast, 2014 To 2019 report projects that social media ad spending will continue its rapid growth over the next five years. In this period, marketing leaders in Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea will increase their investment in advertising on social media (excluding mobile messaging apps) at a 21.6% compound annual growth rate, reaching $5.8 billion by 2019. The rapid pace of growth is mainly due to:

  • Low market maturity coupled with a large and active social media population. Collective social ad spending in these five AP markets end up being less than half of that in the US in 2014. The maturity of the AP social ad market is low considering the large numbers of people in the region who use social media, and as this market matures it will grow faster than in the US.
  • Increasing social media consumption will continue to boost ad spending. The percentage of the online population using social media in the five AP markets will increase by double digits from 2014 to 2019. Forrester projects that further Internet adoption will bring even more consumption of social media.
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The Rise Of Dial-Up, Dial-Down Advertising

Ryan Skinner

Advertising as we’ve always known it, online or off, worked a bit like this:

Produce advertising content />> Place advertising content

Here, advertising content had no life independent of its placement. Print ads, TV ads and radio ads lived only on the servers of the ad companies who created them, and then the media who carried them, for however long they carried them.

Now, a new kind of advertising has emerged:

Promote earned or owned content />> Promote more if it works (or less if not)

Here it’s a question of identifying content for promotion that’s already in the wild, on a blog, in a discussion forum, uploaded to YouTube, and then paying to drive more eyeballs to it, because it supports your brand, or it converts interested communities into customers.

It’s particularly attractive for two very good reasons:

  1. It’s already published, and has often already shown potential to create results for the business (in the form of awareness, leads or even sales), and
  2. You can often dial up the eyeballs that go to it, or dial them down, as you see fit, based on performance.
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What To Expect From Berlin's IFA And From Apple's Upcoming Announcements

Thomas Husson

Will the iPhone 6, to be announced on September 9, have NFC and a Sapphire Crystal display?

What about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, to be announced at Unpacked on September 3? And will the new Nokia Lumia 730 (a.k.a Superman), to be announced on September 4have a 5-Megapixel rear-facing camera?  

This week's scheduled launch events from Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Motorola, LG, and Apple will cause lots of comparison about device features – with about 15 new devices to be launched along the IFA show in Berlin.

It simply does not matter.

Forrester made the call that competition shifted from devices to ecosystems about two years ago. New devices are simply vehicles for increasing the value of the entire digital relationship across a rich digital platform.

As my colleague Frank Gillett puts it, “Samsung's challenge is to establish an enduring relationship with customers, rather than being an interchangeable Android device maker – and it will take more than a new Galaxy Note to do that.”

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Content Distribution Is A Hot Mess Right Now

Ryan Skinner

[UPDATE 4 Sept: I have updated this post to the original draft, which includes specific and strong recommendations to publishers and marketers. They had been redacted, but a colleague asked "What would you DO about this?" so I saw fit to reinclude them. These are my answers; there are no easy solutions, but these are a step towards guidelines. Updates at the end of the piece, in bold.]

Publishers Are Engaged In Self-Harm, With Marketers As An Accessory

You remember when the email spam problem maxed out almost a decade ago? Or when content farms threatened to turn Google search results into useless piles of keyword-slurry? Or peak belly fat?

There should be a word for the moments when the mechanisms that aim to keep our electronic information corridors running well fail.

It’s shaping up to be one of those moments for the content distribution space (and particularly its subdiscipline native advertising, or sponsored content).

You can pity the reader who arrives at an article on many publishers’ websites today; I’m talking about you, Guardian and Forbes, but also you, New York Times and Washington Post. How is the reader to know if the article they’ve come to read is the product of a straightforward pay-to-publish play, an informal “link exchange” relationship, an “influencer” play, an independent opinion piece, or a piece of pure editorial? They can’t.

For the record: The “clear labeling” commandment is a fig leaf. By the time a reader has gotten so far through the article that they’re wondering why it keeps promoting a particular mindset, product, or opinion and started searching for cruft around the article, the trust in the information, the source, and the medium is lost.

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