According to the latest Price Waterhouse Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, the Internet will remain the fastest-growing entertainment medium over the next five years posting an 18.3% combined annual growth rate (vs. 4.9% for filmed entertainment and 5.6% for television). This migration to digital formats is having an adverse effect on competing revenue streams – including traditional advertising media. The engine that’s powering all this growth? Online video. 75% of all Internet users are watching video online – an astonishing number for an industry that barely existed two years ago. Are you among them? And if you’re a media planner, account executive or brand manager – are you taking advantage of the situation?
Audiences are migrating to the web, connecting through media. The media itself is different from the more traditional forms we’ve become used to – in addition to professional media from networks and studios, the marketplace has been populated by an explosion of consumer-generated video, as well as work from independent producers created specifically for the web. Online video now boasts shows that are attracting cable television-size audiences – and producing a new breed of cultural icons in the process. If you don’t believe it, check out the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon.
In this context, the panoply of companies presenting online video solutions begins to make more sense, as online networks are now evolving to host certain types of content and to serve specific audiences. Revver (www.revver.com), for instance, specializes in the work of independent producers, serving a vast array of original content sorted into genres, all screened to eliminate copyright infringement, hate speech and pornography. The result? Something like an indie television network, with an affluent audience that is passionately involved with its programming. Companies like Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, CBS and Sony have been able to take advantage of the quality of Revver’s content and the engagement of its audience to mount successful advertising campaigns.
Interestingly, these campaigns were also able to leverage the capabilities of this new media platform to deliver advertising that felt more like entertainment while still carrying a powerful product message – the modern “holy grail” of all advertisers.
Comscore, accurately recognizing the size of this emerging marketplace, began offering its VideoMetrix reports on online video in late 2006, turning what had formerly been a wild-west scenario in to another form of measured media. Media buyers now have a way to assess the demographics and reach associated with each network, and can now make online video a regular part of their media plans.
The writer’s strike that began last week may help to hasten what was already a booming phenomenon, as scripted television show go dark and more people seek original programming on the Internet. Already, viewers are facing the loss of their beloved late-night comedy and talk shows – will we see the next Daily Show emerge from the web as a result? This market, already a profound opportunity for advertisers, is about to get even more interesting, as we move towards a world of truly transportable media.