D2C video is here to stay, but probably not in its current form. Let’s face it: all of these apps are unsustainable from a consumer perspective.
Everyone is talking about video, but what does that actually mean? Not to sound like Dr. Suess, but think about it: video can be broadcast TV, it can be OTT, it can be addressable; it can be viewed on the phone, on TV, or a tablet. You can view it live, or you can view it on-demand. You can view it with ads or via a subscription service.
My point is that we spend all of this time talking about “video” when we should be talking about how and why consumers spend their time with “media.” And even that’s too narrow. Now we’ve got gaming and even e-commerce by media companies.
Marketing & advertising has always been about getting people to buy stuff. Not just bottom-funnel direct response, but also top of funnel awareness. And the medium driving this was long-form content which media companies (and even Netflix and Amazon Prime) have traditionally invested in.
With the democratization of technology and the rise of platforms, many (new) places nowadays are vying for consumers’ attention. Companies that you never put in the Ad Sales category are now selling advertising: Loblaws sells advertising, Marriott sells advertising, Walgreens sells advertising, and I’m sure more are going to pop up.
And then there’s gaming. Amazon has Twitch, Netflix is getting in the game, and pure-play gaming companies are starting to figure out how to monetize their products better. Sports teams are also beginning to attract an even bigger digital audience.
Now that everyone can tap directly into a consumer’s attention, a couple of things need to happen. First, there needs to be a suitable individualized commercial model for watching ads and/or paying for a subscription. It’s still several-sizes-fit-many, and it needs to be more tailored to a one-size-fits-one approach. Next, ad creativity and experience need to get better. Let’s face it — younger consumers don’t like traditional interruptive ads, but traditional media companies keep using them. However, studies show that even millennials would be interested in ads if they were entertaining and/or relevant.
Paying for all of these subscriptions isn’t sustainable either. Media companies need to be bold in their actions because all of these “new media” companies are and do not have the baggage to shed.
I suggest starting with the following:
- Know your customer: Clean your data and utilize analytics to understand if your customer is happy. Why or why not? Are they ready to churn? How much of an ad load are they willing to take? Subscription price?
- Know your inventory: In real-time or on a spot-by-spot basis, what should I charge? Based on what factors?
- Know your competition: Your competition isn’t just Google and Facebook anymore (remember when they were not?). Your competition is any company that captures your customer’s time. Time is money, as the adage goes.
It’s about meeting your consumer where they are. And where they are is consuming digital content, not necessarily digital media. Media companies can’t be just about producing video anymore — we need to focus less on video and more on the consumer.