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ABC Forces Online Changes

Oct 11, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC’s move to put some of its shows online is already affecting the way some advertisers, including Toyota, are planning their advertising.
ABC was quickly able to sign up 36 marketers to sponsor the broadband replays of its shows on ABC.com in September. Those came after 10 advertisers participated in a test of programs on ABC.com at the end of last season that resulted in 7.9 million streams and high advertising recall rates, according to ABC research.
One of the companies that participated in the ABC test and then signed up for the fourth quarter is Toyota. The automaker will start out using the same advertising online that it used during the test, but is looking to create additional ads later in the year.
Being online allows the advertising to have interactive capabilities, and ABC is encouraging advertisers to experiment with new ways to connect with viewers.
Toyota used customer video game banners during the test to take advantage of the environment, and John King, interactive communications director for Toyota’s ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, said those banners will be used again.
“These banners took advantage of the fact that users were watching compelling content versus the typical reading and researching that users do on most Web sites,” Mr. King said. “With the advent of video online, particularly with longer and longer content in the form of 22-minute shows, the bar is raised for what advertisers can and should do within the space.”
Advertisers on ABC.com exclusively sponsor a streamed program. That gives the advertiser more control over the online interaction with the viewers.
Mr. King said Toyota didn’t want to take away from the online video experience by loading it with long commercials. Instead, it wanted to use shorter ads – but more of them.
Toyota advertised its Yaris model online. “There were 10 10-second spots created with the intention of being used in high-frequency environments so that user will be entertained and as well as engaged and not be bored by seeing the same ad over and over,” Mr. King said. “Initial results were very favorable for Toyota and more custom units like the ones we used in the test will be made, provided there is adequate time for development and some form of standardization of ad sizes and specs.”
Though new, the availability of online programming is already changing the way companies like Toyota make their marketing and advertising plans. Mr. King said Toyota’s decision-making has changed in a number of ways, starting with budget planning and reallocation.
“No one could have foreseen, even as the upfronts began earlier this year, that the major networks would have such a wide selection of their premium programming available online for viewing so quickly. The securing of online broadcasting rights alone to do this – for multiple programs, no less – could have prevented the wide variety of offerings. It has only been since August that this has even become a reality with a viable ad model,” Mr. King said. “Money for these opportunities had to be found via adjustment and tweaking of planned budgets.”
And the money has to be found quickly. Advertisers are being presented with opportunities to sponsor shows online, and instead of being given weeks or more to make decisions on broadcast, an answer is required in just days. CBS and NBC are offering shows online and also quickly found advertisers to sponsor their broadband programming. Mr. King noted that NBC sold out its broadband availabilities in less than 48 hours.
Mr. King said broadband video is also transforming the way overall communications mix is planned.
“Frequency and duplication must be measured and taken into account,” he said. “It is not just as simple as buying the television program and the online sponsorship that goes with it. It will now be 30- or 60-second spots on television, banners online, five- 10-and 15-second spots for online video and mobile devices as well. And, depending on how deep the relationship is with the program or network, it could also lead to longer- form, two-minute to 20-minute or even 30-minute pieces.”
In the near future, advertisers will start building advertising specifically for the online environment, in which specific calls to action can draw responses from consumers instantly with a click of a mouse.
“I as the advertiser know you are watching this on a computer so you can take a number of actions that are not available when watching television in the traditional sense. Engagement will also tend to be higher,” he said. “Now that the opportunity is established with the networks, creative teams will have longer lead times knowing the specs surrounding each network’s ad layout and really be able to take advantage of it, knowing that the user is watching at a computer and eventually on their wireless device. This will allow an amazing array of interactivity within the ads. These can range from search functionality to gaming to instant polls to instant downloads directly from the banners. Clickable video is also an exciting opportunity that advertisers will also be using,” he said.
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s Media Planner newsletter, a weekly source of breaking news, trend articles, profiles and data about media planning edited by Senior Editor Jon Lafayette.

One Comment

  1. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

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