||Honey, I Shrunk My Ratings
by Stuart Lipson, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
TVis, once again, coming into what looks to be a robust upfront market. This is obviously good for national programmers directly, and indirectly good for many others across the TV eco-system.However, a consistent theme from national programmers over the last few months has been over “viewing of my quality programming on other devices.” This new and incremental viewing is not the problem as much as the non-counting of that viewing that creates the disconnect. Way back at the beginning of the century this was called “fragmentation,” but, just like when you look at one small pebble, it does not look that big until you put it next to other pebbles and realize it used to be one big rock.
When video fragmentation was just broadband video, it seemed manageable. A cat walk-off video on You Tube was cute and funny, but not going to impact movie studio advertising on Thursday night. Then came mobile video. Still, it seemed manageable. Someone watching a promo clip of a program at a bus stop might just tune in that evening.
But then came tablets and the pesky little social media issue, and suddenly, “Houston, we have a problem.”
The good news is that as in any robust marketplace, where there are problems, there are people who will figure out a solution because too much is at stake not to. Now that fragmentation has become a “meaningful” topic, the media community really needs to come up with solutions to help agencies and clients figure out the reach and frequency of ad assets across all video media platforms.
Nielsen is doing the best they know how based on their market position. Companies like Canoe are bringing a dynamic ad-serving VOD product to market that will enable bringing an underperforming ad opportunity and asset to profitability. Broadband consolidation is underway, one example being Specific Media buying BBE, which will bring consistency to that platform. And efforts like AD:ID and CIMM are bringing consistency across all video platforms.
All these and many others are great steps in the right direction. So, let us support these now, in a robust market, because fragmentation is obviously here to stay and will continue to grow and be a threat to the economics of quality video programming. Nobody wins if that happens.