Good morning. It's Monday, September 24, 2012, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Scott Reese is the CEO and Co-Chairman of the Board at blurbIQ, an interactive video advertising company that attempts to make the ad-viewing experience for consumers "fun," or at least not as bland as having to watch a standard ad before or in-between a piece of content online. Here he discusses his company as well as the state of video and interactive video advertising.
What kind of interactive video advertising capabilities and features do you offer advertisers?
When it comes to video advertising, the more an advertiser can get the consumer to interact, the greater the chances that the brand message is learned and a conversion occurs. The problem is, most "interactive" video technology solutions in the market today don't truly engage consumers; they just provide click-through buttons or social media widget overlays on the video and call it "interactive.” All this does is give the consumer different ways to convert to a landing page.
At blurbIQ we create immersive interactive experiences for consumers. Using gamification methodology and techniques, we turn ordinary commercial videos into fun ad units and give the consumer a reason to interact with the video messaging. From "choose your own adventure" to "build your own product," or the ability for consumers to type in messages that allow them to skip the ad, as well as research and polling units, strategically inserted overlay questions on video, and other fully customized ad units, we give advertisers a wide range of opportunities to drive consumers to engage with their video content. With one technology provider, advertisers can develop, measure, and execute their interactive video campaigns across the entire digital marketing spectrum. And we give the advertiser full control to either use our self-service drag-and-drop online development tools or utilize our creative team to easily execute custom interactive video campaigns.
What's the benefit of interactive video ads? Let's say a measurement system was finally in place for digital video ads that advertisers could all agree on; one that gives them clear insights into the delivery and reach of their non-interactive 30-second spots. Why should they still consider inserting some interactivity into them?
I am of the belief that the most important thing in advertising is that consumers remember your brand at the point of purchase. Advertisers are continually seeking to produce creative video assets to get consumers to identify and associate with the brand or product. How many times have we asked our friends or family, "Hey did you see that hilarious commercial when..." and so on. The problem is that most of the time, you cannot remember what product the spot was promoting, but you do remember that you were entertained for the 30 seconds you had to endure the commercial.
When you get your consumer to interact with your video messaging, they are more likely to remember your brand and your products. Interaction is "doing"; it's an active behavior that allows consumers to retain information far better than just seeing, hearing, speaking, or a combination thereof. The trick is, what method you use to get your consumer to interact, is it a push or pull methodology, does the method annoy the consumer, does the method distract from the messaging you are trying to convey. A successful interaction allows the consumer to associate the experience with the brand or product.
What video metrics matter and why are they important?
The most used metrics in online and mobile video advertising are video starts, video completes, and click-through rates. In reality, what are these metrics measuring? Did someone start to watch my video, did they watch all the way through, and were they so inspired that they took an action to learn more by clicking on my "Learn More" button in order to go to my landing page to actually learn more or make a purchase?
The video start and the video complete are misleading in a lot of ways and do not tell an advertiser a whole heck of a lot. For example, if a consumer chooses to watch a 10-minute video online, they will most likely be subjected to a 30-second pre-roll video prior to getting to the piece of content that they actually want to watch. So, the consumer must be interrupted and must wait for the pre-roll to finish. The consumer had no choice in the matter and they will have had to let the pre-roll finish to 100% so they could get to their content. Though the pre-roll was started and finished to 100% completion, it tells the advertiser nothing about how or if the consumer actually viewed or understood anything about the brand or product. A .01% click-through rate tells you that 1 of 1000 viewers accidentally clicked on the big call-to-action button strategically placed so that the consumer would accidentally click on it so as to bolster the metric.
The most important metric in mobile and online video advertising is the interaction rate. Interaction rates tell advertisers a ton of information about consumers. The interaction rate shows that the consumer made an active choice to engage and perform a function with your video messaging or video content. In doing so the consumer has expressed interest in your brand or product, is more likely to remember the value proposition and video messaging, thus is more likely to make a purchase.
How is the video advertising space evolving and what technologies do advertisers need to take advantage of?
I think that the industry is heading to a one-stop shop model where advertisers can do their media buy, which includes targeting, creative, and campaign performance all from one ad network or provider, then seamlessly execute that campaign across platforms. Pieces of this model exist currently, and it is just a matter of time before it is all plugged in and working. At blurbIQ we give advertisers the choice of "do it yourself" or supported drag-and-drop creative and analytics tools to automatically generate VAST/VPAID tags, .swf, HTML5 or whatever tag is needed to execute an interactive video campaign across platforms and on social media. With a bit of research and ambition, advertisers have the ability to take advantage of the technology that makes their job easier in terms of eliminating fragmentation in developing interactive video creative, performance metrics and data, and media buys.
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FOX is making the season three premiere of Raising Hope available on the show's official Twitter page. The episode can be watched without ads until September 27. "Season Three is shaping up to be our best season yet, so we're excited about this opportunity for new viewers to sample the show, as well as giving a sneak peek to our loyal fans who know how to use Twitter," said Greg Garcia, the show's creator, in a statement. "My father, however, will have to wait to see the premiere episode on regular TV on October 2 (Editor's Note: at 8pm), but that's what he gets for being old."
WIGS, the women-centric YouTube original channel from Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, is premiering a new 13-episode series today called Ruth & Erica (the channel names every series after its main characters). Starring Maura Tierney, Lois Smith, and Philip Baker Hall, the show follows a woman, played by Tierney, as she struggles with her mother's reluctance to make life changes necessary to accommodate her father's dementia & Alzheimer's. Other feature roles include Michael C. Hall as the main character's love interest, and cameos from Rosalind Chao, Jane Kaczmarek, and Steven Weber. WIGS currently boasts close to 90,000 subscribers and over 16.3 million total video views.
Tribeca Film has acquired the North American rights to No Rest for the Wicked, a Spanish film that was recently named Best Film at the Goya Awards (Spain's version of the Oscars). Scheduled to come out in December on this side of the Atlantic, it will be available across multiple platforms, including on-demand in over 40 million homes through various VOD services, as well as iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly, VUDU, and the Xbox. The film was directed by noted Spanish filmmaker Enrique Urbizu.
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Facebook has named Spruce Media, a provider of a Facebook Ads API for large-scale campaigns, a Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) in the Ad Management Solutions category. Facebook awards the "Strategic PMD" title to those who have demonstrated "unique capabilities that help marketers scale and achieve efficiency, and extend measurably beyond the functionality of Facebook's native tools." Spruce Media offers a Facebook ad campaign management platform with tools and features such as automated bid and budget management, multi-variant ad creation, and hyper-targeting at scale, as well as page post analysis. "We expect with this new designation an increased level of access to Facebook development, which will allow us to better optimize our applications, toolsets, and platforms designed for conversations and relationships with a brand's customers [at scale]" said Spruce Media Founder and CEO, Rob Jewell. Spruce Media is one of 12 total new Strategic PMDs. The other 11 are as follows: 77 Agency, Adobe, AdParlor, Alchemy Social, Brand Networks, Glow, GraphEffect, Kenshoo, Nanigans, Salesforce, and SocialCode.
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Publicis Groupe has acquired Dutch digital ad agency LBi International for 416 million euros, or almost $540 million. LBi currently employs approximately 2,200 people across 32 offices and 16 countries. LBi clients include Coca-Cola, Ikea, Johnson & Johnson, and Volvo, among other big brand names. "The acquisition of LBi is another step forward in further strengthening our digital operations," said Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, in a statement. This deal follows France-based Publicis' acquisitions of other top digital shops, including Digitas, Razorfish, and Rosetta.
CNN has released an updated iOS app that is optimized to the taller screen and higher screen resolution of the iPhone 5. New features on the app include, landscape view for sections, stories, and videos; the ability for users to browse and watch videos simultaneously; closed captioning for live TV; and a simplified iReport interface; among others. The new CNN iOS app requires version 5.0 or higher and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
To promote Relativity Media's recently released horror film, House at the End of the Street, starring Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence, the studio teamed up with multiplatform production company B-Reel to launch the Escape the House -- a 3D Sound Experience app for the iPhone. Available for free, the gaming app features a killer who traps the player in a dark basement. As the player tries to escape, the app uses "binaural sound technology" -- bringing in sounds like police sirens, heavy breathing, menacing footsteps, echoes, and sudden bangs -- to create an immersive auditory experience. The player is instructed when to tap, shake, rotate, or shout into their iPhone in order to make his or her way up the stairs and survive. To those who successfully escape, the app provides them with a bonus sound trailer that was created from their experience as well as the ability to share their screams on Facebook.
Nancy Tellem, the former President/CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, has joined Microsoft in the role of President/Entertainment & Digital Media. She will oversee the launch of a newly created production studio in LA that will develop interactive and linear content for the Xbox gaming consoles and other devices. Per the announcement, Tellem and her group will work with "the creative community to develop unique, compelling storytelling experiences for the Xbox brand." Additionally, she will be responsible for leading the company's efforts in turning the Xbox into a primary, all-in-one home entertainment device. Tellem will report to Phil Spencer, Corporate VP/Microsoft Studios.
Billboard has named Alex Pham as Senior Correspondent, effective October 1. In this role, Pham will be responsible for covering new platforms and technologies in and around the music industry, including start-ups and investments, Silicon Valley, and companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. She will be based in LA and will report to Billboard's Deputy Editor, Yinka Adegoke. Most recently, Pham was covering technology and entertainment for the Los Angeles Times, which including producing and editing online videos for the paper's website alongside her regular print assignments.
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CSI Creator Anthony Zuiker's digital movie, Cybergeddon, will be released exclusively on Yahoo, beginning tomorrow.
Tied to the release is a mobile game that has the player assume the role of a "good hacker" who has to save the world from cyber-attacks, much like the film itself. The game spans six chapters and features a total of 30 levels. Available for free via the iTunes App Store and Google Play, the game was developed by Trigger, whose CEO Jason Yim I interviewed for last week's Q&A.
During this year's Digital Content NewFronts, Cybergeddon stood out as one of the more intriguing things in development for the web. There's a big Hollywood name behind it; it will be available on a large platform; and it will be distributed in a way that is optimized for online audiences, in that the film will be released in multiple short increments. It'll be interesting to see how Cybergeddon plays. One thing is for sure, though, the people behind the film are aware of how a big Hollywood blockbuster is marketed and released nowadays -- which is to say, it needs a game as well.
Later - Sahil
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