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Commercial production focus: Are attitudes towards online and viral changing?

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

February 7, 2012 | 5 min read

From industry-wide belt-tightening to advancing technologies, the dwindling importance of TV and the growth of online, commercial production has changed a lot of late.

In a series of articles featuring the questions surrounding commercial production, The Drum catches up with low budget TV and digital ad specialists STV Creative, creative audio company Kalua, video guide producers Flixity, TV and radio commercial production specialists The JMS Group and animators Flaunt Productions to take stock of the industry and find out what we can expect to see going forward.This afternoon we’re looking at attitudes to online commercials and viral.Are attitudes towards online commercials changing? Jack Garrow, director, FlixityYes! The traditional reliance on the beasts of old style TV advertising is fading and being replaced with a far more nimble, flexible and more cost-effective online model. Francesca de Lacey, head of TV, The JMS GroupThe recent SAS Marketing Perspectives 2012 Survey showed that the number one marketing channel for any business is now their website and that ‘Corporate websites are nearly universal’. So online films are increasingly regarded as being essential. Some try and do it in-house or virtually for free and shove it on YouTube without much thought, but increasingly businesses are acknowledging their on-line content needs higher editorial and production standards. The trouble is that for many, the more swashbuckling ethos of the web gives the impression it should be cheaper to produce a high-quality film for online use than for broadcast. We try to battle against this by encouraging a step by step approach for the more hesitant client – starting with a simple but creative and professional video for less money than an all-singing and dancing one, and building-up from there when they see it working for their website.One attitude that’s slower to change is the ‘presentation’ style where producers fail to adjust their ‘tone’ to suit the ‘lean-forward’ viewer. They still lecture the audience as if it were a training session in a packed auditorium, rather than an iPad on someone’s lap! And their ‘narrator-led’ scripts? Don’t get me started…Paula Lacerda, executive producer, FlauntI hope so! Just because something is going 'online' doesn't mean it suddenly has a quarter of the budget from a TV spot. If clients want similar production values, with the exception of the media costs, the production costs shouldn't differ for a piece of content whether it's aired online or on TV. We create many high-end animation content that is distributed exclusively online, and they get a lot more views than a TV spot that is only aired nationally.With specialist companies now emerging who are solely focused on specially targeted online distribution of commercial content, brands are being given a global boost with their campaigns which i think is fantastic! Gav Matthews, MD, KaluaThere are endless possibilities for online commercials, and I think clients are finally starting to see this. We’ve been banging the drum for years over using audio online – why should the internet be silent? With the growth of Spotify, along with more audio content being used across the web, I’d say that online space is finally being used better – and attracting more investment.Stephen O’Donnell, head of STV Creative, STVAbsolutely. Online is a significant and growing part of our business. This has come about because of two factors: the huge array of online products we have access to at STV and the changing needs of our customers. We’re very active online and on mobile, creating everything from display, rich media through to bespoke VOD.Are clients starting to understand the value of viral videos and consequently investing in them?Jack Garrow, director, FlixityViral video are important for the big brands out there - Volkswagen, Nike etc. In a Scottish setting that means Irn Bru and Tennents etc. In our view this will play a small part of the overall Scottish production scene. What might be interesting if these big brands actually invested in content creation i.e. actually making solid, entertaining, programmes which would allow them to build an regular audience and BE the programme rather than the ads or stings around a programme. Modern kit and work practises make this eminently possible for many SME's now. This is an area of content creation that Flixity are promoting with a number of our clients. Francesca de Lacey, head of TV, The JMS GroupNobody can be sure what will or won’t ‘go viral’ so we never promise that to clients – and beware anyone who does! Thankfully the days when corporate clients asked us to ‘shoot a version that’s a bit more wobbly’ (honest) ‘so it looks better for You Tube’ seem to have gone. Most clients are trying to be far more savvy with their money and create an on-line production which will be good enough to ‘like’ or ‘share’ in a social context – a superb way of spreading their message but well away from the crowd-pleasing world of farting cats and exploding TVs.Paula Lacerda, executive producer, FlauntI believe so, but that tends to be more true of larger brands or brands that have a more adventurous attitude to their marketing. Sponsored by:
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Flaunt

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The JMS Group

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Flixity

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Kalua

Kalua is a vibrant, independent creative audio company.

For creative agencies and direct clients -we act as your audio department, producing award winning...

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STV Creative

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