TV is dead. Some of you may be shaking your head in disbelief, but everyone needs to recognize that TV is dead. You may have watched "The Voice," "Modern Family," "Amazing Race," or "American Idol" last week, but where did you watch it? On an actual TV? On your desktop computer? On your laptop? On your tablet? On your mobile phone?
To clarify, the format is alive and well -- and actually growing, thriving, and reinventing itself. However, I believe the nomenclature of TV is, for all intents and purposes, dead.
What this means is that we are eliminating the word "TV" from our vocabulary and replacing it with the word "video." Video is more descriptive of both how and where people consume TV programs and other video content -- on the go, wherever, and whenever they want, given the flood of mobile devices and tablets into the market in the last year. Consumers are now device agnostic. Build it (the content), and they will find it -- whether on their computer, phone, or tablet.
Online video viewing is up across all devices. ReelSEO posted a story last year with the headline "The Rise of Online Video Will Break the Internet" because consumer demand is driving so much traffic that the bandwidth needs to be increased. Build it and they will come.
Think about the 2012 Super Bowl. The marketing ecosystem was turned on its side when virtually every advertiser in the telecast on NBC debuted their spots online days before, and then used the actual Super Bowl telecast as a form of "sustaining" advertising to maintain their momentum. And if you missed any of them during the actual telecast, you can still view them in the AdZone on Hulu.
Speaking of NBC, they had a lot riding on their new series "Smash," that launched February 6, the Monday after the Super Bowl. In order to ensure a strong launch of the program, NBC had an aggressive campaign to build sampling via online venues prior to the premiere of the show on NBC, including: digital downloads of the pilot on multiple platforms (including Apple iTunes, Xbox/Zune, Playstation, Samsung MediaHub, and Vudu), offering the pilot via video-on-demand partners (including Amazon, Comcast, and Set-Top-Box On Demand), and online streaming on both NBC.com and Hulu. It's very telling that an analog network resorted to digital venues to generate awareness, interest, and sampling.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal ran an article (which I read online) about P&G cutting up to $1 billion out of its marketing budget over the next five years. The anticipated loser: TV. The predicted winner: digital. As The Wall Street Journal suggested, P&G will be "leaning more heavily on lower-cost digital marketing and easing up somewhat on pricey broadcast ads." That's a big change for a marketer the size of P&G. The article explored TV's role in P&G's marketing mix -- generating awareness and interest; but it's the digital that amplifies the message and really engages customers. Because of this new mindset, P&G is exploring a new currency to measure their marketing efforts across traditional and digital touch points: the electronic gross rating point.
Online video provides marketers the best of both worlds: the sight, sound, motion, and "magic" of traditional TV, and the targetability, accountability, and interactivity of online media.
For example, when a home improvement retailer decided to launch a new paint product exclusively with online advertising and 75 percent of the funding in online video, there were skeptics. But, the results speak for themselves: The online video campaign alone drove more than 40 percent of the yearly site traffic in only one quarter and increased the average click-through rate for online media campaigns by more than 500 percent. An added benefit from purchasing online video is a cost per thousand that is 20 percent lower than national TV, allowing the brand to stretch its marketing budget. In the end, DIY consumers engaged with the brand online in relevant content and then in store, which equated to sales.
It's clear, online video is in the driver's seat and calling the shots. As such, we've removed "TV" from our vocabulary. Tomorrow morning, you'll say, "What did you watch on video last night?"
Dan Albert is SVP and executive media director at MARC USA.
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