The NewFronts were taking place in New York this week, which is the digital industry’s annual shot at convincing TV buyers that TV isn’t the only place to buy TV-like content. Also in the news was the announcement that Viacom are to buy Channel 5, Ebuzzing’s research on native ads, and the launch of the ‘Social Rating Point’ for TV shows. For a weekly update of industry news, sign up to the weekly VAN newsletter.
NewFronts – The First Week
The Digital Content NewFronts in New York kicked off with many of the leading players showcasing the cream of their content.
One of the most interesting announcements came from Google launched a new product called ‘Google Preferred’. Google Preferred allows advertisers to tap into just the top 5 percent of quality Google content. On the one hand the move could be interpreted as a concession to the many advertisers who don’t want their brands appearing alongside UGC and amateur content, but on the other hand it shows that YouTube is starting to properly scale up its (truly) premium content. Either way, giving advertisers – particularly big brand TV advertisers – is a smart move and is an encouraging early move from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Google also had Shane ‘Soundbite’ Smith, the CEO of VICE, on stage, who claimed VICE would grow to ten times the size of CNN, suggesting that there’s still plenty of time to start investing in fixed-gear bicycles and plastic-framed glasses if you missed the boat first time around.
AOL were joined by a number of celebrity heavy-hitters for their NewFront, featuring actors and producers such as James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zoe Saldana, and Ellen DeGeneres. AOL say the shows will span topics from family and comedy to business and technology, and will also include AOL’s first long-form series, “Connected.”
AOL and Nielsen also announced that AOL has signed on to participate in a beta that will provide ‘truly TV-comparable audience measurement’ across all of AOL’s new series. The Nielsen beta will deliver GRPs (gross ratings points) that reflect audience reach by age and gender for AOL’s new programming as an extension of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, which currently measures TV-originated content viewed online. In addition to measuring content, AOL will be tagging associated advertising using Nielsen OCR; the combination of audience measurement across ‘digital-first’ content and related advertising will make it possible for complete audience comparisons to TV for the first time.
At Microsoft’s NewFront Xbox Entertainment announced its original programming slate, with names like Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott attached to two separate scripted projects based on the “Halo” franchise. Other shows in production include an unscripted series about international street soccer, an original drama about robotic servants in a dystopian world, and a documentary about the search for discarded Atari games in a desert landfill. Probably better than it sounds.
The New York Times launched its new video hub which they say is aimed at improving navigation and responsive design, along with a new partnership with Vimeo through which they’ll develop original, branded video content for marketers.
Viacom to Acquire Channel 5 for £450 Million
Viacom, the owner of MTV, has agreed to buy the UK’s Channel 5 for £450m, it has been announced. Viacom, the owner of MTV, will be acquiring the channel from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group.
Viacom described Channel 5 as “one of British television’s biggest brands” and said the acquisition would “accelerate” its strategy in the UK.
Nielsen and Ebuzzing Study Finds Native Ads More Effective Than Pre-Roll
New research carried out by Nielsen on behalf of Ebuzzing, which covered 1,600 respondents from the UK and US,
Respondents were invited to browse a webpage, without being prompted to engage with the ads, before being asked a series of questions about the brands advertising and the web page they had just experienced.
- 70 percent of respondents said native placements, which open up in the middle of editorial content, were the most effective at showing a brand as innovative.
- 74 percent of respondents who recalled a native ad placement associated it with its parent brand (vs 59 percent for pre-roll).
- Over half of respondents said they liked the native ad format (54%) and found them fun (55 percent).
- Half (49 percent) felt they had control over native ads, with 35 percent saying they watched them in full.
- 72 percent of respondents said ad selector formats bought brands front of mind, and were more effective than pre-roll at driving unaided awareness.
Havas Partners and SeeVibes have Developed the Social Rating Point (SRP)
Havas Media and Seevibes have devised the SRP — Social Rating Point, a new indicator to measure the ability of a TV show to generate social engagement. Hmmm.
Best of the Rest
Sky to Launch Now TV and Sky Go on PS4 in the Summer which may help them to regain the subscribers they’re losing as competition from Netflix and BT grows.