A Converging World of Opportunity

Over the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to visit with the Videology teams in both the U.K. and Canada, speak about video advertising at industry events in each country, and spend time talking with clients on both sides of the Atlantic.  While there are clearly differences between both markets, and certainly differences when compared to the U.S., I was also struck by the similarities.  Yes, the stages of convergence, cross-screen distribution models and availability of data vary from market to market, but one truth remains the same: viewers are devouring content across screens and advertisers and media companies alike are struggling to figure out how to reach consumers in this fragmenting landscape. It’s complex world out there, regardless of continent!

During my visit to London, Videology was a participant and sponsor of IAB Engage—a great event with a lot of great content and thinking around the current state of digital media.  The theme of our booth set-up was a traditional living room—the same kind many of us grew up in—right down to an old-school Nintendo and decades-old TV.  Like many of us approaching middle-age, it can be jarring to see the staples of our childhood becoming quaint.  But in a world where the average British household has 7.4 connected devices, it’s clearly a new day. 

The UK has seen, for the second consecutive year, a slight drop in the total consumption of TV viewing on an actual TV set—a trend that is mirrored on a global level as video viewing across devices escalates. For instance, in Canada, a survey that Videology conducted in conjunction with Marketing Magazine found that 75% of Canadians and 93% of Millennials are now regular viewers of online video. This is not to say that traditional TV viewing is going away.  Despite slight declines, TV still captures the majority of viewing time.  But fragmentation is a growing reality as viewing splinters across screens.

Of course, we have been seeing these trends for a few years.  The concepts of content convergence and fragmentation are not new.  But what I have been seeing in the U.S., and what was also evident in my travels, was a new sense of urgency from advertisers, agencies and media companies alike to respond to these changes.  To act.  Now. Perhaps the statistics and trend reports are getting too big to ignore.  Perhaps the actual business impact of convergence is being felt.  Perhaps it’s a combination of these factors.

From a global perspective, we know that the first market to adopt a given technology, business model or buying strategy has the longest lead time, and the second or third market to adopt moves much faster.  Historically, the roll out of digital video strategies in general seemed to move from the U.S., to EMEA, to the APAC regions.  But now, as video advertising has matured a bit, we are seeing innovation springing from all regions.  

As example of this innovation, look at Videology’s ground breaking work with Yahoo JAPAN! and the recently announced completion of a technology migration for the entirety of Yahoo! JAPAN’s In-stream Online Video inventory to our platform. The move to Videology’s technology stack will strengthen Yahoo! JAPAN’s ability to offer the Japanese digital advertising market guaranteed reserved buying, robust forecasting, and introduce to this market TV-like ad break clusters, known as AdPods.

Similarly, in the U.K., the pioneering work that Videology has done in bringing premium, television-centric video inventory to the market in a way that benefits both the broadcasters and advertisers is informing our strategies around the world.  And in Canada, the work being done to establish private market places between the country’s largest media sellers and largest media agencies is setting the standard for the industry.

This is all good news.  In a global marketplace, one market’s innovation benefits all others.  And in an industry moving as quickly as video advertising, the ability to share our collective knowledge is critical.  On a personal note, I learned a tremendous amount on my recent market visits. But more importantly, as a company, our continued ability to learn and grow by responding to the needs of our diverse client base is making us a stronger company every day.  I could not be prouder of our teams across the world, nor more optimistic that despite a growing list of complexities, the opportunity to help our clients hit it out of the park has never been stronger.   

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