Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

Nate Elliott[Posted by Nate Elliott]

Ad Age ran a fascinating piece this week about how CPG giant Reckitt Benckiser shifted $20 million of their TV budget to pre-roll ads, and then relentlessly hammered publishers on price. According to Ad Age, Reckitt bought some pre-rolls for as little as $1 per thousand.

Granted, the economy is clearly taking its toll on in-stream ad prices. And big budgets always earn marketers volume discounts. But when you realize that even in this market most high-quality pre-roll inventory costs upwards of $30 per thousand, the prices Reckitt paid look incredibly low.

And that's stirred up some debate about whether Reckitt really get good value from those buys. Clearly, they weren't aiming for top-notch, name-brand sites: the buy was focused on networks rather than individual sites, and at those prices Reckitt likely to wound up with remnant inventory. As Freewheel CEO Doug Knopper said, "Reckitt is about premium brands; [this buy] won't showcase those brands -- it will schlock them up."

Marketers can always find low-cost inventory if they want to. Online, that means untargeted, non-frequency-capped remnant inventory and blind network buys; on TV, that means 3am times lots on obscure cable channels. The question isn't whether you can find this inventory, it's whether this inventory offers any real value -- especially to a brand marketer.

What do you think? Did Reckitt help or hurt their brands by advertising on non-premium pre-roll inventory? If you could find remnant pre-roll space for $1 (or $3 or $5) per thousand, would you buy it? Let us know in the comments below.


re: Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

too much inventory out there.. and if it's the same eyeballs on the premium & non-premium inventory, what's the harm i guess...

re: Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

I would absolutely buy it! No matter if its remnant inventory- the difference between remnant pre-roll and remnant display is that at least you know that someone is viewing that ad when buying pre-roll- since all are force-viewed ads. As a previous online consultant- I am appalled to know that pre-roll inventory is going for this low!

re: Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

I would agree with Ben, these are confirmed eyeballs versus the OTS on the TV. While the quality of remnant v/s premium inventory could be debated, can you really justify this premium inventory being 30 times better enough to justify the difference in pricing ?

re: Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

Okay, fair enough - most people would buy the ads. As Jassim says, is the premium inventory worth 30 times more than the non-premium inventory? Likely not.But there's another question, as well: Would you base your entire buy around run-of-network and remnant inventory? Mixing in some $1 and $3 CPMs has long offered buyers a way to increase reach and bring down a campaign's eCPM. But would you feel comfortable spending $20 million online and not buying *any* premium space at all?

re: Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

RB use a company called the JD Project to check that their ads are appearing in the locations promised, and that the inventory is not being 'burnt'. This means they're getting $1 CPM media AND ensuring it is delivered as sold.This has pissed a lot of publishers / networks off as they weren't necessarily expecting to be audited. Ask the likes of Utarget etc. how pleased they've been with this arrangement...

re: Would You Buy Pre-Rolls For $1 Per Thousand?

Its precisely what Reckitt has been doing on TV for last few years while everyone else focused on premium inventory: results are there for everyone to see: Reckitt has grown more than other FMCGs.I don't see a reason why this should not work for them: its not as blind-sighted as the post puts it: there is some method to madness. And this feeds on long-tail of web, and does it whole-heartedly. This is where display will go online as social and other modes gain prominence...