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Media Zone: Over-the-Top TV: What You Need to Know — Now

1 Apr, 2012 By: Brendan Condon Response

Brendan CondonIt seems that every day I read about a new over-the-top (OTT) television service. Just weeks ago, I read about Barry Diller, a media pioneer, investing in Aereo, a service that allows you to stream broadcast TV stations to your iPad or any other Web-connected device.

It is obvious that there are a number of trends toward the future of television that are already well underway, some of which will be built upon in 2012. Web connectivity is increasingly standard on new TV sets, time-shifting content is becoming the norm, and viewers are supplementing the TV experience using the second screen of smartphones and tablets. Nobody knows what Apple has in mind for the TV hardware industry, but Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson just before he died the he’d “finally cracked it.”

Bottom line, consumers and the media industry are looking for OTT TV to make a big impact on the future of television.

So what does that mean for marketers and advertisers in the direct response industry? And how do we lead the business, rather than just follow?

The first step is to make sure you are educated about where OTT is today so that you stay ahead of the game. There are OTT content providers including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon and iTunes; set-top box companies including Boxee, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation and Apple TV; and smart or connected TVs from LG, Sony, Vizio and Samsung.

What they all have in common are new, unique and — potentially — super effective ways to advertise and promote your product to a targeted consumer. For example, Hulu offers viewers a choice of which advertisement to watch to view premium content. Through extensive research, Hulu found users were tired of seeing ads not relevant to them. So imagine your ad appearing in a premium-viewing environment that is also highly relevant. Most likely, you have less budget waste and higher engagement — which will drive strong ROI for your DR advertising spend.

Knowing that TV viewers are watching across multiple platforms means that your call-to-action needs to be relevant in any viewing environment. The call-to-action must sync up to the place where your audience is seeing it. For connected devices, such as smart phones and iPads, this means a link or easy to remember website. If the consumer is watching somewhere other than his or her large-screen TV, the graphic element of the call-to-action must be big enough for viewers to see. Or another option is to create a mnemonic device that renders the call-to-action in a super memorable way.

Another dynamic happening as a result of OTT is multiple viewing at the same time. That can mean one person watching “Modern Family” on the big screen TV and another person watching “The Daily Show” on an iPad — all in the same room — or, even the same person watching both at the same time.

Probably the biggest thing you need to know about OTT TV is that it means there is a lot more ad inventory available to DR marketers. This dynamic provides unique opportunities for cost-per-acquisition (CPA) advertising across a broad spectrum of content providers, not just local broadcasters and cable TV.

All the OTT companies need to monetize their service, and now you have a lot more options for where you can run your ads. You can create roadblocks, hyper-target across multiple platforms or produce unique versions of ads relevant for each viewing device. As long as you are creative in your media strategy and creative execution — and open to new ways to reach consumers — you will succeed in this new TV paradigm.

It is predicted that OTT will increase the amount of time people spend watching TV, the level of interaction, opportunities to create new content, chances to add social capabilities, gain more viewer data and create new partnerships. It is a watershed time for the TV industry, revolutionizing the way advertising and content is consumed, and it is incumbent on the DRTV industry to make sure you are there to play a part in it.

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