Having recently moved back from the US to the UK, I am still rediscovering the differences in work styles and business practices between the two media cultures. Yet, when the findings of a recent Forrester Consulting survey on video advertising across EMEA were unveiled last month, the surprise was that the results were startlingly similar to those unveiled in North America earlier this year. It seems that consumers are leading this evolution of cross-screen viewing across borders, and as such, the industry is facing the same challenges and responding accordingly.
As background, Videology commissioned Forrester Consulting in both North America and EMEA to help understand how marketers, media companies and media agencies are thinking about and responding to the shift in video viewing habits. The big themes on both sides of the ocean surrounded a shift toward holistic planning across screens and the increasing reliance of technology to overcome the challenges presented by a multi-device world.
Five Key Themes:
- Consumers are leading convergence— when asked how consumers’ time spent viewing video will change in the next 3 years, 70% or more of respondents across both continents said viewing on smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs will increase significantly or moderately. Upwards of 60% to 70% also see increases coming in original online programming, VOD from cable or satellite, and streaming television episodes directly from the networks.
- Convergence is changing the way we do business—64% of respondents in North America and 66% of respondents in EMEA said that they expect planning and buying of video to become more holistic across all platforms. Similarly, slightly over 60% of both groups said that agencies would eventually merge their TV and digital video buying groups.
- TV and video advertising is borrowing the best of both—As television and video continue to converge, slightly more than half of respondents in both North America and EMEA said that TV will begin to look more like video in terms of planning and buying, and perplexingly, upwards of 60% said that video will begin to look more like TV. Similarly, when asked whether traditional buying groups or digital buying groups will take the lead in video buying, the verdict was split, with North America respondents slightly less bullish on the traditional side.
- Technology’s role in media is escalating—A huge 71% of EMEA respondents said that as consumers’ viewing habits change, technology will become the differentiator for advertisers. Along these lines, 63% of EMEA respondents and 70% of North Americans believe programmatic video buying across platforms will increase.
- Flexibility remains key as new practices for a converged world are established—what exactly respondents are looking for in an advertising technology spans the gamut, encompassing capabilities from both the traditional world of media planning—such as the ability to place ads in specific programs and direct publisher interaction—and the digital world—such as audience targeting that allows an advertiser to follow consumers across devices.
To this last point, with all change comes some uncertainty. How this will all shake out within our industry—how these changes will affect how media is bought and sold, and who will control what—is still under debate. Interestingly, however, our surveys found that both advertisers and their agencies, as well as media companies, feel that convergence is a scenario in which everyone wins. For publishers, this means being paid according to the true value of their inventory with the intelligent application of data and better targeting. For advertisers, this means better performance. A new programmatic ecosystem will only flourish if those benefits are articulated clearly and if we work collectively to identify true value creation for agencies, advertisers and media companies.