Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why Every Marketer Should Be Very Excited About Tivo

Tivo has two killer services that every marketer should be very, very excited about. StopWatch and PowerWatch. StopWatch gives second by second national viewership data for shows and commercials. PowerWatch is a service that provides marketers with valuable information about viewer behavior - on a base of 100k viewers, it can drill down to find out who is watching what commercials and when. That is, if they are watching commercials at all.

Both services are amazing for a few reasons and will (hopefully) change the face of TV planning/buying. As a marketer, here is what you should be thinking about:

Internet Metrics Applied to TV- and Then Some...
Marketers can now start to understand the performance of their advertising show by show, creative by creative. Not only will they know what shows actually are pulling better engagement with their commercials, how many are being viewed live vs timeshifting, but they will actually be able to drill down to understand if how they are performing against their target demos.

Negotiating Power Has Shifted
Knowledge is power, right? Now the power has shifted as marketers know what kind of audiences their advertising is pulling, not just how the show is performing. This is a fundamental shift in the mindset of media planning as we no longer have to rely on sketchy 1950s Nielsen ad models - we know know exactly who is watching what and when - and we can start to value the inventory based on the performance of our advertising, not the performance of the show.

This is a double edged sword as this could throw the whole TV financial model into chaos. Advertisers won't want to pay the rates broadcasters are demanding, the devaluation of ad inventory results in an an inability for broadcasters to pay cable/satellite providers to be carried on their systems and broadcasters won't be able to provide the product. Sounds eerily like the music business, but it is still exciting.

Will the Direct Marketers Please Stand Up
The other very exciting opportunity is the potential to target - and target very precisely. With a digital box in every home (in the US this year, Canada in 2011), marketers should be able to drill down and target by area code, demographic, ethnicity, and behavior. We can even start of use propensity models that we've set aside just for the direct communications.

Thankfully the ad ecosystem isn't just the in-broadcast inventory, but also extends to other 'internet-like' ad units with on-demand services, in-guide advertising and otherwise. Hopefully enhanced digital guides that will evolve dramatically and provide much more robust ad opportunities (if you have ever been on xbox live - it should be providing a similar type experience if the cablecos and tivo are to keep up).

The Creative Question
The elephant in the room understanding what DVRs will have on the creative product. The initial results Tivo published cited three commercials as being the 'least skipped': 1) A furniture store, 2) A tourism ad for Dominican Republic and 3) A Hooters commercial. The obvious conclusion in a Business Week article was that the ads need to be relevant to the viewer. It also noted that Bowflex was a top performer, primarily due to it's placement in wrestling. Yes, I think we get that - relevance, check.

But my conclusion is something slightly different, sex sells. Sad, but true. When skipping over ads, the things that grab a viewers attention are scantly clad men or women working out or running in slow motion across a beach. I just wonder if Bowflex or Dominican tourism saw an increase in search terms, site traffic or call centre traffic? The reality is that much more work will need to be done on this topic to develop creative that will not get skipped. And if you are getting skipped, how do you tailor your ad for at least some brand recall (make the logo bigger!).

Every media company or advertiser buying TV should be subscribing to this service. Or pushing their cablecos, satellite providers or broadcasters to get this type of learning. The opportunity is understand the performance of your advertising, negotiate better rates, get more targeted, and compliment your campaigns with other efforts (online, search, traditional, etc). The end result will be a stronger ROI on your campaigns.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post.

    Digital marketers around the world have realized, for a long time, that the TV model (for media and production - ahem - costs) needs to be dramatically changed. It's services like StopWatch and PowerWatch that can help turn the measurement TV model into something a lot more valuable.

    TV, in the past, was touted as the "ultimate awareness" medium. If you want to spread the word about the product, spend your entire budget on TV. People will hear about it during their favorite shows and will buy, buy, buy.

    The emergence of the PVR changed this little 'fact.' I don't know about you, but I skip commercials more often than I watch them. If something grabs my attention (yes, a woman in a bikini helps) then I'll stop and give it a chance. But mostly, I'm a Fast Forward man.

    The exciting aspect around TV is targeting the way online does - to specific users, ages, lifestyles and types of viewer. Imagine the ability to run a spot nationally but only to househoulds with couples in it see the spot. Or families with two or more kids. Or students.

    Segmentation of TV will also help provide creatives with a clearer brief against a well-researched target. It's a lot easer to come up with concepts when you know only 18-20 year old guys are watching or women from 45-55.

    It's not going to be tomorrow that we get there (more than a few clients, media shops and agencies are going to have to come to terms with a shift like the one that is currently occuring) but in order to see value from TV, we're going to have to make dramatic changes.

    And what better time to make those changes than in a recession. Clients want value and ROI. Now is the time for media companies (and agencies) to step up and give it too them.