Viewers Watch VOD Ads

Nov 7, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Turner Broadcasting recently completed research in one of the first studies of the effectiveness of advertising in video-on-demand and found that the vast majority of viewers did not fast-forward through VOD ads and intent to purchase actually rose 60 percent with such ads.

That sort of feedback is particularly reassuring to advertisers who have invested in a medium without much available research data, especially on whether viewers watched ads or were moved to respond to them.

In late spring Turner commissioned a Cartoon Network research study in conjunction with outside research firm OTX that gauged interest in Adult Swim’s on-demand version of its “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” program and in the ads for Norelco’s Cool Skin electric razor in front of the show.

The online research group comprised 1,000 men 18 to 34, the advertiser’s target audience. The findings revealed that intent to purchase the Norelco product rose from 5 percent to 8 percent after the VOD ad ran. While at first blush those numbers might seem small, even 1 percentage point of market share is desirable in the consumer packaged-goods market, where companies jostle for even the tiniest advantage, and especially in an area where Norelco takes a back seat to the far more popular razor blade makers.

“The 18 to 34 group is the most difficult to reach in the media environment,” said Zdenek Kratky, brand manager for Philips, which owns Norelco. “It’s not only that they are hard to reach, but to reach them with our message and to raise purchase intent on our product against that group that is the core target of all the blade advertising. And, generally speaking, blade advertising dwarfs electric razors. For us to take up by 60 percent is a nice piece of data,” he said, referring to the increased intent to purchase.

The study found even more good news for VOD advertising: Nearly 80 percent of respondents did not skip the ad, even though they were allowed to use the full on-demand functionality.

Those findings validate Turner’s VOD ad philosophy, which has been to offer only one 30-second spot before a show in what it calls a “clutter-free” environment, said Chris Pizzurro, VP of multimedia marketing for Turner.

The research also indicated that VOD demonstrated strong unaided brand awareness. In fact, 85 percent of those surveyed remembered the ad they saw was for Norelco. Of course, it was also the only ad, but that’s exactly the point behind Turner’s solo VOD ad strategy.

Adult Swim generates more than 1 million total on-demand views per month.

Studies like this are useful as “directional learning,” said Mitch Oscar, executive VP of Carat Digital, who placed the buy for Norelco in Adult Swim. Intuitively, advertisers and agencies expect intent to purchase to rise in the VOD environment, given that it’s clutter-free and opt-in. Numbers like those produced in the study simply give further credence to the medium, he said. But they shouldn’t be stretched across all of VOD because Adult Swim works well as an ad medium, since people want to watch the programming, he said.

“We know if [viewers] can find it and it’s branded, they will come and we will be in a unique position to get our message in front of them,” Mr. Oscar said.

Measurement firms such as Rentrak track VOD data such as total views, unique set-top box views and total minutes viewed. Rentrak said it plans next year to include more detailed information on whether users fast-forwarded through spots.