2013 DRTV Media Outlook
– Canadian Market
By Pippa Nutt, Senior Vice President, Online and Canadian Media
Will the Ikea Monkey save Canadian TV? (Ok, that was just to see if you were paying attention.)
Pondering what DRTV media challenges may be in store for you in 2013 and what you can do to help your
- Demand Landscape
Despite the continued economic strain, demand made a comeback in 2012. We observed sell-out on several stations and markets, which we haven’t seen since before 2009. We expect demand to continue to rise in 2013 as more advertisers shift media budgets across channels, and rates have been set to take advantage of that. Additionally, stations and networks continue to package more expensive prime-time brand inventory with the more cost-efficient daytime and early-fringe dayparts to make the overall look more attractive. This is good for brand, but not so good for DR as the inventory pool is getting a lot smaller. Combine that with a natural increase in demand for daytime programming with the amount of advertisers targeting the lucrative 50+ demographic, and the forecast looks even grimmer. Without a doubt, 2013 will put DR media-buying expertise to the test, negotiating every penny on the path to positive ROI.
- Penalty Box
The lockout has ended but the impact on viewership is an unknown. Canadian hockey enthusiasts struggled mightily with the lockout and were forced to spend more time with their family instead of being glued to the tube for Hockey Night in Canada. The big picture: Canadian viewing habits have changed but will they forgive and flock back? Only time will tell.
What we do know is that CBC National suffered the brunt during the lockout, and I am sure beer sales did as well. In December, The Globe and Mail quoted the following statistic with respect to the impact: “Viewership between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET is down year-over-year about 7.6 per cent, according to the ratings service BBM Canada. That represents a drop of roughly 800,000 to approximately 11.6 million viewers in an average minute” (Dec 7, 2012). The CBC has also lost a valuable platform to promote their new shows, which could lead to added fall-out. Could this be good for the CBC in the long run? Possibly. Rumour has it the CBC may benefit from an extra season in their contract given the circumstances.
In addition, there are always other sports to fill the advertising needs. Football has dominated this fall and will continue through to the Super Bowl at the beginning of February. March Madness is apparently quite popular (can you tell I am not a sports fan?).The Jays will get their share of attention (when in season and now maybe even in spring training) and CFL rights could be on the table in March as well. The door has opened, and opportunities may be found.
- Charbonneau Inquiry: Risk of Pre-emptions in French Canada
Where would news be without local corruption? Well, they would have more advertising inventory to sell. Unfortunately, that will likely not be the case for French Canada news outlets in 2013 with the ongoing corruption inquiry in Quebec that blew up the careers of two mayors. Although hearings are paused until January 21, the commission must finalize reports by Oct. 19, 2013. Given the high-profile nature of the inquiries, advertisers in French Canada can expect tight inventory and clearance challenges likely starting in Q2 2013. On the plus side, advertisers may also benefit from the halo effect in terms of higher audiences in and around this time period. Securing inventory early, balancing higher rates with overall media efficiency, and ensuring you have a back-up plan to maintain visibility during this time will be key. And don’t neglect cross-channel opportunities for added reach!
- Cross-Channel Attribution: Prosper or Die
Single-channel attribution is dead. Get over it. Marketers have to look at the big picture and understand how marketing – both offline and online – and response influence each other, because they do. Every day. Don’t let your web team tell you that they don’t see a lift when TV is on air, and don’t let TV people tell you you can’t reach a significant audience online. It’s all BS and marketers need to end this ridiculous turf war. Smart companies are leading the charge and investing in scalable cross-channel attribution solutions (custom or off the shelf) to help bridge the gap, and streamline data collection and conversion attribution. I believe this trend is going to grow dramatically in 2013 as companies become even more focused on true ROI.
Still tracking DRTV response by 1-800 number? Don’t be a dinosaur. Embrace reality and start working on an attribution solution.
- Increased Fragmentation: Online Video Viewing, Smart Phones, Tablets and Apps, Oh My
People are now watching more online video than ever. According to ComScore data, consumers watched more than 11 billion video advertisements in October 2012, breaking a new record. In September, the Financial Post also reported that total Canadian online video viewership was up 58% from 2011. Spend on online video advertising is expected to increase by a similar margin to match that trend. Many Canadian broadcasters are scrambling to be at the forefront of these digital and mobile video viewing experiences.
Pre-roll ads are still by far the most popular option, followed by companion and banner videos. Mobile and tablet growth is likely to impact preferred ad formats for video, however, given bandwidth constraints (and also the fact that mobile users are far less tolerant of interruptions in this respect). Interestingly, it appears as though pre-roll costs have come down slightly from 2012, likely driven by increased inventory. Online traffic has also increased for many sites that offer pre-roll, offering additional opportunities to monetize.
How are people measuring these tactics? Pre-roll is still largely a brand tactic and, therefore, impressions/reach or video views are the most commonly tracked metrics. Digital video completion rates (how many people watch a full ad without skipping through it) is also becoming more popular although still branded, in my opinion. Do these metrics provide good insight into performance? Not really. My advice would be to focus on more reliable metrics such as clicks and ROI to determine true impact.
How effective is digital video compared to traditional TV? That remains to be seen. One clear advantage is online video targeting (demo and behavioural), which is much more granular than traditional TV, and has the potential to dramatically improve response rates. Ultimately, if you are looking to attract viewers across multiple platforms, you will have to test your way to success – and traditional TV is just part of the mix. Online video advertising could be a great way to find new prospects and customers in 2013. In addition, with more than 85% of web users using a mobile device while watching TV, that offers new opportunity for advertisers to invest in more interactive campaigns and new measurement capabilities for traditional offline media.
Overcoming the Obstacles
Our CEO is a big fan of quotes, so I leave you with the following from Molière: “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
All the best for 2013. It’s going to be a fun ride!