Walking the halls of many major media companies these days, this is the phrase that’s frequently muttered by the executives charged with forging the future of television development, monetization and audience engagement… It’s like a drumbeat: “Oh My God! What the F*#k! Over The Top!”
And it’s getting louder. On a near daily basis, there is news that sends shock waves across the industry. Just yesterday, it was announced that the well regarded Otto Berkes, CTO of HBO will be stepping down as HBO chooses to use MLBAM enterprise services to support the launch of their 2015 HBO OTT service. And we hear the continual beat of traditional media company X announcing the launch of their OTT offering or, more recently, pulling their content because they couldn't come to terms with Carrier Y. (CBS going dark in select markets on Dish Network on Friday is a perfect example where “OTT” played a sticking point role in those negotiations.) And you hear the execs muttering…”OMG! WTF! OTT!”
But OTT isn’t what they need to be WTF’ing about. Or at least not the technical aspects of it. What they need to be concerned with is measurement, what we’re calling “Over The Traditional” as in “get over the traditional ways of measuring” their attribution to live tune-in and start putting the pieces together across screens, stop relying on just traditional measurement systems and start preparing for the next wave of television.
This approach is fraught with so many caveats it’s dizzying… which is why we’re still muttering “OMG, WTF, OTT,” but there are some foundational elements that every marketer and advertiser must consider as we move forward toward the great unknown:
- Nielsen is a powerhouse in the traditional TV viewership measurement space, but it can’t be everything to everybody. And in the day and age of bespoke/personalized metrics for different insights across different platforms, it’s relatively useless. Jeanine Poggi in AdAge hit the nail on the head with her deep dive “Nielsen at a Tipping Point? Accelerating Change Confronts Methodical Researchers.”
In this thought provoking piece, Poggi takes Nielsen to task for not moving faster to provide true cross-platform measurement, and hears from industry professionals who are skeptical of Nielsen’s claims to be working to introduce the right solutions. The problem is that competitors, like Rentrak, still don’t have the mass or acceptance to provide a satisfactory alternative but the industry is at a point where it needs to find that alternative or risk losing millions of dollars.
2. Which is why networks and advertisers need to find the measurement platform that works for them, or a combination of platforms. Case in point—just yesterday ListenFirst Media launched a new self service data portal allowing clients to customize data inputs and insights to monitor and visualize their own particular needs.
This is a major move in the “measurement” space as ROI and KPI become terms that are extremely personal to your brand goals. What we like about LFM is that they have a broad set of data inputs as well as the ability to build in custom feeds layering Omniture, Dart, Sales Data, amongst a plethora of other data sets, into and on top of the standard social and digital sources. We feel that the ad buying agencies need to step up here and start creating hybrid solutions that work for their clients, to actually start to get creative with how measurement is done and to include things like second screen and social. Easy? No, but we expect the true leaders in the industry to step up. (dare we say, time to be BRaVe?)
3. Data, data everywhere and not a drop to drink. We’re drowning in data these days, as we move from group/family viewing to solo or personalized viewing. That’s why it’s of extreme importance that we find the meaning behind the metrics. There are a number of ways to visualize data, but we’re more focused on ways to glean human emotional response from data inputs that inform action. This is being shared across social at an amazing rate, but few companies are providing an insights platform that allows you to draw meaninful insights. CANVS is gaining momentum and have rolled out a set of tool that enables a qualitative analysis deeper dive into the conversations happening on Twitter in association with TV.
4. Monetizing the Meaning: Once we’re able to understand the sentiment and human emotion behind the data, it becomes easier to connect the right content to the right brands in a way that lets us go beyond traditional advertising to something more natural for all parties. Much of this will involve social or second screen promotions, where brands and networks work together with showrunners to create experiences that add to the show while creating awareness and good will for the brand, and in some cases direct purchase attribution. Look at Hewlett-Packard’s 30-second TV spot made entirely out of professional Vines, for example:
It’s a must for an environment that increasingly gives viewers a way to opt out of traditional disruptive models, because once they’ve had that experience it’s going to be impossible to force them back — and more importantly, the new model will simply be more effective.
Head spinning? It should be. But hopefully because you see the immense opportunity in front of the entire media meets tech meets brand ecosystem. We do.