The new living room: evolving models and the advertiser opportunity

The first anniversary of the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video Europe

On the one-year anniversary of the launch of the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video Europe, delegates at this year’s Cannes Lions enjoyed a series of dynamic conversations and panels on the emergence of the ‘new living room’.

Premium video, which is essentially TV, is seeing a greater share of viewership being delivered through the largest screen in the house, and digital video capabilities are increasingly being applied to TV to deliver results through the funnel for brand marketers. Attributes of this definition of premium video will be further developed in an upcoming paper by the FreeWheel Council.

‘’TV advertising does not need to be saved but it needs to be data-driven and enabled. Advertisers have a wealth of options and chances to connect with their audience,” offered Jakob Nielsen in the first session of the day. According to Finecast’s CEO, addressable TV enables marketers to reach audiences in the on-demand world and opens up new opportunities to those who have never been able to harness TV advertising before, because of the power of household targeting. These new advertisers will offer opportunities and revenue streams that wouldn’t have been possible before addressable TV’s arrival.

In a session titled ‘Content, Ads and Audiences: How publishers and distributors are embracing new TV models’, industry experts came together to discuss how programmers and operators dive into the challenges of content distribution in the days of advanced and addressable TV. The panel moderated by Nicolas Mignot of FreeWheel included Jean-David Blanc, Molotov, Miranda Conroy, Nordic Entertainment -NENT- Group, Virginie Dremeaux, Canal+ Régie and Jim Lombard, Roku.

The key takeaway from the panel was that both business models of advanced ad-funded and subscription-based TV were thriving and not going to replace each other. Roku’s Jim Lombard explained for instance, how Showtime’s ‘Billions’ worked with Heineken so that the content could be gifted to consumers in the hope they would subscribe to further shows. In this way, he said “we’re able to bring brands to sponsor and unlock content.”

NENT Group’s Conroy also touched upon the subject of Netflix, saying, “if you see Netflix as a threat or competitor, you’re losing your own battle; they are a player in the game creating something phenomenal.” Conroy went on to explain how Netflix has had a positive impact in getting big screen actors interested in TV again. Additionally, she went on to detail how the industry is going to need to be more creative and flexible with how consumers watch content as they are becoming less patient and attention is decreasing. As such she felt the traditional 30-second ad model was no longer sustainable and will have to evolve.

The day’s content wrapped with a session moderated by James Rothwell, FreeWheel featuring members of the FreeWheel Council from both sides of the Atlantic. The lively discussion brought together Jonathan Lewis, Channel 4, Jamie West, Sky Media, Chris Le May, EBX and Dan Aversano, Turner.

The discussion served as a preview to a buyer’s guide to the new living room that the FreeWheel Council is putting together on the opportunities of VOD and OTT, to be issued later in the year. These dynamic advertising channels are under-utilised today by marketers who are looking for brand-safe, engaging environments, and there are tactics to leverage to take advantage of this growing segment of viewership.

Rothwell shared with the audience that almost half of all impressions on FreeWheel’s platform run through the big screen, highlighting the exponential growth and the huge opportunity for marketers to reach their audiences on TV. Yet OTT, according to a recent ad perceptions survey, only represents around 12% of video investment share, indicating that spend is not necessarily following viewership as yet.

For Channel 4’s Jonathan Lewis, although viewing is changing for younger generations, there are still moments in the week when families come together and watch TV, with shows such as The Great British Bake Off or Britain’s Got Talent. But complexity and fragmentation is at the core of what the industry is trying to solve and it requires a lot of investment. Lewis also cited that two-third of viewers of Made In Chelsea watch via on-demand – what is interesting, is that there is a huge change, not in what people are watching but how, and when, the younger generation in particular are viewing and consuming content.

The panel also agreed that a consistent form of measurement is a significant challenge, as there isn’t a real-time measurement solution in the market. Sky Media’s Jamie West explained, “when we think about measurement it’s not just impressions, it’s everything together. How do you make it easier to transact? Thinking about these barriers will make pounds and dollars flow.”

Pursuing the same topic, EBX’s Chris Le May expressed how “measurement is interesting as it relates to campaign performance, but attribution is a whole different ball game. Having a common methodology that everyone can understand and have confidence in (most attribution models are fundamentally flawed) is not easy. We need to bring scale into the mix – if you give me these opportunities, it’s easier for people to add more budget. As the viewing habits of the consumer migrate across the fragmented channel consumption, the advertising money will move with it as well. But it’s about five of the largest broadcasters coming together and saying we can do better here, we can make life better for our advertising partners.”

For more updates and to register your details to receive the forthcoming FW Council position papers and researches, please visit www.freewheel.tv/fwcouncil.

Thomas Bremond, general manager, international, Comcast

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