Online Video Looks for TV Dollars at Internet Week Conference

Where's the money? Online video creators are producing premium content and offering demographic tracking and marketing tools that television can't match, but still advertisers are stubbornly tied to television. When will those ad dollars find their way online?

Addressing that question was a big part of the MediaPost OMMA Video conference that took place today in New York City.

A morning session looked at the effects of this year's inaugural newfront season, where several content creators showed upcoming online programs to the advertising community. The first Digitas NewFront in 2008 was "like a high school square dance with brands and content creators," said John McCarus, senior vice president of brand creative at Digitas. This year, the event spawned 22 conferences over 14 days, creating a content-led media market, he said.

"If you think about the notion of quality original video content at scale, there is still scarcity," admitted McCarus, addressing a chief advertiser complaint. He sees hope, though, in the rapid evolution of digital tools. People with vision, he said, aren't sitting back and assuming that TV will continue to dominate.

For the new A-listers, he said, "a" is for "audience." It's the agencies' job to figure out how to drive what's happening.

Yahoo took part in the newfront season, and panelist Andrew Snyder, vice president of content solution sales for Yahoo, said that it was a perfect forum to present content and get media attention.

"We went in with our eyes open; we knew we were taking on some risk partnering with competitors," Snyder said. Online video is finally started to break through to advertisers, he noted, telling how Ford recently launched an all-digital campaign for the Focus Electric.

Keeping things interesting (and honest) was Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia. Television is still king, said Morgan, and out of 100 hours of video watched, only 1 is streamed. For all its demographics, what online video still misses is impact, he said.

As for Snyder's Ford example, Morgan said that launching a campaign online was great PR, but that Ford would never stop its TV ad spending for three months and go online-only. For more of Morgan's comments, see the video below.

A late morning session titled "Online vs. Offline/Buyer vs. Seller" looked at how online and offline video are treated differently. Content is king, but context is critical, said Scott Schiller, executive vice present for digital media sales at NBCUniversal. Ignoring the either/or scenario, he said that marketing gets better results when TV and online campaigns are run together, boosting engagement.

Television and online video are different in how they're consumed and sold, said Talia Arnold, director of digital strategy for Horizon Media. What's needed is an holistic video strategy that sees both as video. Brands need to create that holistic communications strategy when crafting their message, and to understand that young people especially increasingly consume content differently than older viewers.

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