Advertising and television go hand in hand, so it wasn’t a shock to see the topic of the final general session of the Cable Show devoted to "Economics of a New Advertising Era." People are increasingly turning to a broader range of options for entertainment, and that means there are new vistas for advertising available. Moderator Craig Moffet led a large group of panelists through the new advertising landscape and got their thoughts on what’s coming up. The panel consisted of Jeff Gaspin (Universal Television Group), Landel Hobbs (Time Warner Cable), David Levy (Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.), Matt Seiler (Universal McCann), David Verklin (Canoe Ventures), David Zaslav (Discovery Communications, Inc.), and our COO Steve Burke.
As you can see the panel was made up of a mix of cable operators and programmers (as they are known in the biz) - the people who create all the content which cable companies bring to your home (of course some cable companies are in the content business as well, like Comcast) - which led to a very interesting conversation. David Zaslav of Discovery pointed out that everyone is in the same boat: you make great content that you want to make money off of so you can, in turn, make even more content. He warned that the industry needs to be careful not to rush onto a platform which makes monetizing content either difficult or impossible (like putting up all your shows and movies online for free without any advertising). On the other hand, Zaslav stated strongly that the content has to be where people want it (content isn’t worth anything if no one watches it). The trick is figuring out a way to get the content available, without losing the power of generating money from it. To that point Steve Burke mentioned that Comcast is planning to test On Demand Online (which is what we’re calling our authenticated online video product) this summer (before you ask I don’t have any more details than that, but you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it here when I know more!).
The next generation of advertising is all about bringing the power of online advertising (i.e. more targeted advertising) to the TV while always protecting customer privacy. In addition to being able to serve up ads that interest you in the coming months you’ll start to see more and more interactive ads popping up on your TV. Being able to vote on things, participate in polls, or seeing a movie trailer and then clicking on a button to immediately see a 3 minute featurette is where television advertising is going powered, in part, by EBIF (which you might recall from this post).
As you can tell the same themes that cropped up time and time again at the Cable Show were expressed here. Even in advertising people want to be engaged, see something relevant to them, and watch it where ever they want.