Marketers Still Not Realizing Full Potential of Online Video

At NATPE: Unfortunate Contextual Mishaps Partly to Blame

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LAS VEGAS ( -- With online video projected by eMarketer to reach 157 million viewers by 2010, advertisers and content providers alike are scrambling to find a way to frame any kind of advertising message around their clips.
Brightcove's Adam Berrey said the 'most innovative stuff [online] hasn't been around the video but in the content itself.
Brightcove's Adam Berrey said the 'most innovative stuff [online] hasn't been around the video but in the content itself.

The volume of content and the technology to display it are both at an all-time high, but it's the advertising agencies that have been slower to experiment with web-based ads, Adam Berrey, VP-marketing and strategy at Brightcove, told at the National Association of Television Programming Executives conference here.

Content is still more innovative
"When you look at the creative side [of online video], the most innovative stuff hasn't been around the video but in the content itself," he said.

Mr. Berrey's colleague, Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire, said in an online panel alongside executives from YouTube and AOL yesterday morning that even as more and more content is syndicated online, there's still resistance from major content providers -- Dow Jones's Wall Street Journal in his company's case -- to frame advertising around it. This stems particularly out of the fear of unfortunate contextual mishaps, such as a Ford ad running above a local news story on a car crash.

Co-panelist Brian Buchwald, general manager of NBBC, NBC's online video syndication company, added that there's still some barriers to entry in the online ad space that is preventing some from entering.

"The process of buying online advertising is still relatively laborious," he said. "You have to get into the world almost like the Google Ad Sense model with enough backflow of advertising inventory. When that contextual spot comes up, you actually have 10 advertisers waiting to bid on that piece of inventory."

Branded advertising
At a time when YouTube is frantically trying to find an effective form of banner or pre-roll ads to frame around its videos, the most successful examples emerging from branded advertising are those from marketers that are adding their advertising to the whole online experience, a la Ford's "Bold Moves" campaign or Kohler's channel on the Brightcove network devoted to its own viral ad videos.

"Because online platforms are measurable, knowing how many times ads are being watched and monitored hourly, daily, weekly allows you to manage a campaign," Rob Petty, CEO of Roo Networks, an online-video ad server, told

Online ad buys are still occupying a small piece of the ad-spending pie -- usually 5% to 25% of the overall media buy -- largely because platforms aren't being taken into consideration from the marketers, Mr. Buchwald said.

"The tail is starting to wag the dog. We have a couple obstacles in our way before it becomes a larger piece of the pie. There are other ways to ensure BMW is not running against a car wreck. We need to move away from repurposed broadcast advertising into a model conducive to the web -- 5-second spots, 15-second spots, things that are more contextual around a video player or pre-roll process -- to engage in the overall ad pie."
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