Microsoft Corp has announced the general release of its NUads on Xbox LIVE. Among the first buyers are Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile USA, which are developing NUads campaigns to stream on Xbox LIVE this fall. NUads advertisements transform standard 30-second TV spots into actionable experiences using the power of voice and gesture controls of Kinect for Xbox 360.
Engagement is what makes the ads different, said Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising. "We developed NUads to breathe new life into the standard 30-second spot. With NUads, brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time."
Microsoft released a sneak peek of some of the first NUads that will air on Xbox LIVE this fall, including Toyota’s "Reinvented" ad campaign that premiered during Super Bowl XLVI, and which promoted the reinvention of the 2012 Camry. The ad marked Toyota's return to Super Bowl advertising. Today, Toyota is reinventing that campaign for Xbox LIVE, adding a layer of interactivity enabled by NUads. In this version of the "Reinvented" ad, Toyota asks viewers what they would like to see reinvented. Viewers can then respond using Kinect-powered voice or gesture controls. This gives Toyota valuable feedback it can use for its next campaign.
At first glance—a little underwhelming, according to Adweek. NUads on’t seem to innovate beyond TiVo and Cablevision ads that allow viewers to request more information from or respond to questions from advertisers, or even buy things. Still, with NUads, viewers can respond with hands or voices, rather than just remotes. “I would hope the launch of NUads leverages the platform,” Brandon Berger, chief digital officer of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide told Adweek. But Microsoft counters that it cannot ask TV advertisers to create Xbox-specific spots: NUads can be created from an existing TV spot.
Good enough for Toyota. "The creative possibilities of NUads are endless. We can take a 30-second TV spot and customize it for NUads to get an immediate response from Toyota's customer," said John Lisko, executive communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi LA for Toyota. "It allows customers to participate with our advertising, which is really exciting. The interactivity of NUads is leading the industry and changing the way we're connecting with our customers."
Also good enough for Unilever, which owns the Axe brand. Following on the successful campaign for the launch of Axe Attract for Him and for Her, Axe — called Lynx in the U.K. — will be one of the first brands to turn the digital ad into a NUad with Xbox. The creative centers around a cops-and-robbers setup with the tagline, "Nothing will ever be the same again." Using the new format, Lynx will ask the audience if the Lynx Effect should be given to girls. Viewers will have the option of voting "Yes, of course" or "No way" using hand gestures or a simple voice command.
"NUads and the gesture- and voice-based Kinect technology have great potential for creativity. What we're seeing now is at the very early stages of what we could do. And as always, we're keen to continue to explore more ways of inviting our consumers to get involved with our brands," said Babs Rangaiah, vice president of Global Media Innovation at Unilever.
Microsoft Advertising is claiming a younger, male-skewing and decently-wage-earning demographic for its Xbox LIVE advertising. Some figures:
•61 percent male
•39 percent female
•70 percent 18-34
•20 percent 35-44
•88 percent have a household income of greater than $30,000
•37 percent have a household income of greater than $100,000
In theory, TV ads and online video are two stops on the same campaign—but only in theory. What stands in the way, says eMarketer principal analyst David Hallerman, is "A fear of financial loss within the TV industry—broadcast and cable networks, and cable providers (which are often also ISPs)." That is what is behind tactics like broadband and mobile data caps (of which Comcast has been accused), and of authentication protocols that block cord-cutters from watching the tube online.
Still, predicts eMarketer, the growth in online video ad spending will surge past TV growth through 2016. It will surge by 54.7% this year, and slow to 18.9% in 2016; but that will far exceed TV’s 6.8% growth this year and 4.5% in 2016. But as it predicted in January, TV will still exceed the online ad spend in 2016 (albeit by a narrowing gap).
The current study presumes that us-and-them antagonism between TV and online impressions will continue unabated. But the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) announced earlier this week that it is pleased with the results of integrated cross-media campaign measurement, as the New York Times reported. This coalition includes such advertising powerhouses as AT&T, CBS, Discovery Communications, NBCUniversal, News Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner and Unilever. And they were evaluating cross-media measurements by comScore and Arbitron. CIMM commissioned the tests to determine how to measure consumption of video content in cross-platform ways, whether on TV, online or on mobile devices. So as far as Unilever is concerned, wherever an ad for its Dove brand runs, be it streaming on YouTube or running during a broadcast of “Glee,” it gets measured.
Also true, the study presumes that brands must integrate TV and online campaigns and events to be effective. They do not. Coca-Cola is skipping TV entirely with its over-the-top Coca-Cola.TV channel. It is using the Thismoment social media management technology to to target the online youth market in a social/mobile environment. A Paul McCartney one-time concert would have been a pay-per-view event a decade ago, but a May 10 outdoor concert in Mexico City streamed free via Coca-Cola.TV. Coca-Cola similarly streamed Vive Latino 2012, a three-day music festival in late March attended by hundreds of thousands in Mexico City, which featured four stages and numerous international acts such as Foster the People and Fat Boy Slim. So far, no ads built on either campaigns.
But Coca-Cola is not snubbing television—not by a long shot. As Information Week reported, the brand ponied up about $11 million for two Super Bowl ads in February; but hedged its bets by putting its iconic animated polar bears on TV for 100 million+ viewers, with invitations to visit www.CokePolarBowl.com on tablets and smartphones for more interactive content. So the brand ignored TV with the Mexican events, but blended with it for its US-based Super Bowl ads. And Coca-Cola has alredy booked its Super Bowl 2013 spots.
In short, the eMarketer study presumes that brands will be held hostage by the networks. Major brands will not. It presumes as well that networks are somehow terrified by over-the-top broadcasting. They have proven cautious, so far, but with heavyweights like NBCUniversal and Time Warner eager to prove their cross-media value proposition, the atmosphere in 2016 will be far less “us and them” between TV and online than simply “us.”
A new survey commissioned by MGH, an integrated marketing communications agency, found that 32% of survey respondents change the channel as soon as a political advertisement airs and during political news coverage, and nearly half (47%) of viewers will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad.
The Baltimore agency commissioned the survey to find if consumers change their viewing habits during election season.
As usual, the vast majority (88%) of respondents said they are turned off by negative political advertising. But as usual, the negative ads work.
Younger millennials aged 18-24, skewed higher in some measures:
- Forty-five percent change the channel during political news coverage.
- Thirty-nine percent change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement.
- Twenty percent are more likely to watch programs online, and 19% are more likely to record programs they want to watch to avoid commercials.
"This year's election is gearing up to be a tight race, and with tens of millions of advertising dollars being put toward mudslinging political television ads, marketers need to pay attention to some of these statistics to make sure that their consumers aren't changing the channel on their clients," said MGH President, Andy Malis. "During election years, television advertising space is limited and more expensive, so advertisers need to get creative and integrated with their media campaigns to ensure their message is getting through the clutter."
The key takeaways, according to MGH, are that marketers have the potential to lose more than one-third of their potential audience if a political ad airs – and nearly half if a negative political ad airs – in the same commercial block as theirs. Additionally, marketers that target the younger millennials may have an even tougher time reaching this audience through TV ads.
Still the spending is high, and a report released in March from Borrell Associates forecasts that out of the $9.8 billion that will be spent on political advertising for this year’s election, $5.6 billion will go toward broadcast TV and $939 million toward cable TV advertising. The New York Times estimates that at least $50 million worth of ads will appear in swing states in the next several weeks, about five months out from the election.
Time will tell if these viewers actually do tune out as they claim. Viewership was very strong during the GOP debates. ABC claimed big ratings for its “Your Voice, Your Vote – Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire” broadcast. Nielsen tallied 6.25 million viewers, including 1.73 million Adults 25-54 and 1.40 million Adults 18-49. The ABC debate topped the Fox News Channel’s December 15 debate with 1.31 million viewers.
According to January figures from The Pew Research Center for The People & The press, it is true that fewer Americans are closely following the campaign than four years ago. Cable TV leads among sources at 36%, but the Internet is next to last at 25% and has not grown in significance since 2007. So, those younger-skewing voters who claim to get ad-free news online might be exaggerating, or simply disinterested. Just 20% of those younger than 30 claimed to follow the campaign closely, down from 31% in 2008. But because younger voters skew Democrat, they may prick up their ears as the conventions and election near.
Equation Research conducted the survey in April 2012 on behalf of MGH. Equation surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18+ who had seen at least one political advertisement recently, located in states where presidential primaries had taken place.
The NBC Sports Group and Dial Global have announced a partnership to create the NBC Sports Radio Network. Beginning in September, the network will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global.The network’s content will include hourly sports news updates, daily features as well as full-length shows.
NBC is becoming a sports powerhouse, owning the Summer 2012 Olympiad, which it will stream across several of its TV and web properties (and presumably, its radio network as well). Both NBC and ESPN are expanding their sports radio offerings, proving to advertisers that sports radio still has “legs.”
In addition to distribution on terrestrial radio stations, NBC Sports’ audio content will be available on a variety of digital platforms. Live shows will be streamed on NBCSports.com, DialGlobalSports.com, affiliate stations’ websites and other streaming services. On-demand short-form audio content will also be distributed online and through podcasts and other digital applications. Dial Global will be the exclusive ad and affiliate sales representative to the network.
“We are thrilled to bring the rich heritage of NBC Sports to listeners across national radio for the first time,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, in a statement. “By adding radio to our broadcast, cable, regional, and digital assets, the NBC Sports Radio Network will give sports fans a new way to interact with the NBC Sports Group day in and day out.”
Tapping into the NBC Sports Group’s mix of national and local assets, the NBC Sports Radio Network will provide stations both national and regional sports content. Listeners may hear hourly sports updates, long-form shows and features hosted by national NBC Sports voices, NBC Sports Regional Networks on-air personalities, or NBC affiliate sportscasters, depending upon location. Specific programming and commentator details will be announced at a later date.
This partnership expands upon the existing radio relationship between Dial Global and NBCUniversal, which includes NBC News, The Weather Channel, NBC Olympics and more. Earlier this year, NBC News partnered with Dial Global to create NBC News Radio—a 24-hour radio news network distributing news reports and content to over 700 stations nationwide.
The broadcast press is abuzz about the “first truly digital Olympics.” But should ad buyers be robbing their TV budgets to run banners on NBCSports.com? Maybe not. As PaidContent reports, online consumption of the 2012 Olympiad will not be as widespread as NBC predicted: That according to research from the online sports broadcaster Perform Group, in their Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2012.
Perform Group surveyed sports enthusiasts worldwide, to find that:
- Only 9% of UK sports fans and 16% in the US plan to view the Olympiad online
- Just 3% of UK fans and 7% in the US plan to watch any Olympic content over smartphones
- 64% of Brits and 71% of Yanks will watch via regular TV
Interestingly, 70% of Chinese intend to watch the games online. But as WebProNews describes, research groups in every country but China concentrated on a representative sample from all adults, while in China, the survey was taken amongst “tech-savvy” consumers in major municipalities.
BBC Sport in the UK plans to broadcast or stream 2,500 hours of the games across TV, Internet, mobile and tablet forms. And the International Olympic Committee plans to stream the entire event across YouTube. Finally, all 32 sports at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be streamed live at nbcolympics.com, as the New York Times reported in April. As PaidContent observes, “we will believe actual online viewing habits when we see them.”
Good news from BPA Worldwide, the print and digital circulation oversight group. The BPA board passed a number of rules changes at its May 2012 meeting, which it has just released. All rules are in effect immediately. The short story is that tagging website traffic will become easier, digital subscriptions will be easier to prove, and subscribers will not be tasked with having to fill in a new form to renew (which runs the risk that they do not bother).
Audited Web Traffic Using Tags: Due to advances in technology, the Board took strides toward a truly “tag neutral” approach with respect to reporting audited website traffic data. BPA is now making more options available to members to participate in BPA’s web traffic audit process.
“The change was prompted by the member feedback,” Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide told Folio. About 700 of 2,000 member companies used the Nielsen tags. "The question to the other 1,300 was what’s preventing you from doing this? Some had said they were using other analytics providers. The two that were named more often than not was Google Analytics and Omniture.”
Specifically, BPA no longer requires its members to use the BPA proprietary tag powered by Nielsen. It can now work with, for example, including Google Analytics and/or Omniture SiteCatalyst tags. Members may begin reporting Google Analytics data as of July 2012 after completing a simple set-up process.
Reporting Apps: As of December (BPA’s last board meeting), BPA determined that only App downloads could be reported on BPA Brand reports, as there was not enough recipient information to report qualified subscriptions/copies delivered through Apps on circulation statements. But, media owners have developed App registration (free) or payment (paid) gateways, which BPA believes is sufficient proof of qualified circulation.
Business and Consumer Magazines
Pre-Populated Electronic Qualification Forms: BPA will allow publishers to pre-populate electronic subscription forms (web, email, text) with a previous year’s data. The maximum age of the previous demographic data cannot exceed three years in age and the subscriber must be asked to review the data and press a single confirm button to agree the information is correct before completing the renewal.
Digital Request, Electronic: At the December 2011 meeting, the BPA Board ruled that subscriber access to digital copies (by downloading the issue or accessing it online) may be used to substantiate a renewal to continue receiving a digital subscription. The rule requires minimum access for a six-month reporting period: but because most members analyze either May or November issues, media owners found they were not getting the benefit of subscriber access in the months of June or December, effectively losing two months out of the year. The Board amended the rule to maintain the original access requirements, and the six-month period, but the six-month access period will now end with the analyzed issue, and, in so doing
comScore, Inc. has released a report called “Surviving the Upfronts in a Cross-Media World,” which it says is an actionable guide for success in navigating the cross-media landscape during this said Judy Bahary, SVP, Marketing Solutions at comScore.comScore examines the maturation of the online video market as a supplement to traditional television advertising and the effectiveness of cross-media campaigns in television programming.
Rather than one robbing the other, “Our research shows an incredible synergy between TV and digital video formats when used together in cross-media campaigns, driving effectiveness levels higher than either medium used on its own,” said Judy Bahary, SVP, Marketing Solutions at comScore.” As the online video market continues to develop, we should see it evolve from its current supporting role to an essential part of media planning in the annual upfronts.”
The annual television upfronts are a familiar process for buyers and sellers of television advertising. Now in their second year, the digital upfronts are shaking up the industry in making the case for digital video advertising in long-form TV programming and short-form online video. But the concept of online TV audiences is relatively uncharted territory for most buyers, who are uncertain how to effectively allocate dollars across both TV and digital media.
In a simulation conducted using comScore’s cross-media databases, which contain media usage from multiple platforms for the same households, comScore discovered that the use of online video can build reach and effective reach when advertising dollars are invested in both TV and digital platforms. Reallocating 10% of an ad budget from TV to video boosted a campaign’s reach by 5%, and raised effective reach by 16%.
comScore also measured consumer response (e.g., a visit to the advertised brand’s website) following exposure to TV ads alone versus both TV and digital platforms. It found that consumers who were exposed to one ad on TV and one online were 28% more likely to visit the brand’s website than those exposed to one ad on TV alone. In fact, the impact of two exposures – one on TV and one digital – was almost as high as the impact of two exposures, both on TV. “This reinforces the wisdom of overlaying a digital plan on a TV campaign to boost reach without sacrificing persuasion—especially when one considers that digital is generally less costly than TV,” says the report.
“What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger?” asks Microsoft. To kick-start the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft yesterday unveiled the Xbox SmartGlass, an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with the Xbox 360 console “to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.”
Users will, for example, be able to use a tablet to call up a play in the game "Madden NFL" and then play it on a TV screen, or, control websites on a TV using the tablet's touchscreen.
This solidifies Microsoft’s “head start in the battle for every screen,” describes The New York Times. Apple’s iPhones, iPads and and computers are well connected, but Microsoft has sold 67 million Xbox 360 video game consoles and has more than 40 million active Xbox Live members. The company claims its video consumption has grown by 140 percent each year on the Xbox since 2008.
Forbes calls Google and Apple “wild cards” in the connected TV race. “Google’s first connected TV got lots of attention, but little sales,” but it will try again this summer with models from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio. Apple’s smart TV may or may not be out by the end of the year: Apple has been shopping hardware providers and contract manufacturers, but rumor has it the Apple TV will cost in excess of $1,000. The Xbox allows you to keep your old one.
IE for Xbox
Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in all countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available. Between the Xbox, the Kinect gaming platform and Xbox SmartGlass, Microsoft claims users will be able to surf the Internet voice control, and navigate using mobile devices for “an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.”
Entertainment Via Xbox
Adding to the current catalog of customized sports, TV, movies and music apps from TV and entertainment providers, Microsoft is claiming that Xbox will become “your home for sports,” with NBA Game Time, NBA.com League Pass Broadband (U.S.), NHL GameCenter LIVE and ESPN, including the "SportsCenter" and "SportsNation" properties, plus NFL, MLB and NBA coverage.
Finally, Microsoft announced 35 new content partners (both audio and video) launching on Xbox over the next 12 months, which include Comedy Central Stand Up; Nickelodeon; Paramount Movies; The Weather Channel; and Univision, the Spanish-language channel (and the first Spanish-language channel on Xbox Live).
Rodale Inc.’s Men’s Health magazine has a number of instructional apps already, including "Eat This, Not That!" and a workout designer: But you could not read the magazine or advertise in it on the iPhone, until now. Beginning with the September issue of the magazine (available in August) special content will be developed specifically for the iPhone in order to create an enhanced viewing experience that is unavailable on other devices. Men's Health currently has several branded apps for the iPhone, but this new app is the first that allows the magazine to expand its digital publication delivery across iPhone and iPod Touch devices with more than 220 million users globally. Existing Men’s Health iPad subscribers will have access to the publication with no additional charge on their iPhones.
The app was developed using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, and Rodale claims this is the first iPhone application to launch on the Adobe platform in the United States.
“This brand prides itself on being first to market, so developing an iPhone version of Men’s Health quickly is a natural next step for us,” said David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health and GM for Rodale’s Healthy Living Group and Rodale Books.
“Offering iPad subscribers a chance to view Men’s Health on their iPhone gives readers a new outlet to consume our content on-the-go or at the gym,” said Sean Bumgarner, Interactive Design Director for Rodale.
Men’s Health has had success with its digital apps before, as Folio describes. Its “Skin Care Center” was the 2012 recipient of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) award for digital media, known as the Digital Ellie, in the personal service category honoring service journalism on digital platforms. Its “Eat This, Not That!” also won a Digital Ellie in ASME’s inaugural year of the awards, 2010. The brand offers more than 40 apps across the iPhone and iPad.
Men’s Health bills itself as the “go-to source for guys,” and is published 10 times a year in the U.S. by Rodale. The magazine has garnered numerous industry accolades, including being named by the Media Industry Newsletter (MIN) as the “#1 Most Notable Magazine Launch of the Last 25 Years.”
With no fanfare at all, The New York Times has joined ABC News, NBC, Fox and The Wall Street Journal on Hulu. As the Niemen Journalism Lab describes, NYT has signed a content licensing agreement with the streaming video site.
Right now, there is just one Times offering: “Punched Out: The Life and Death of an N.H.L. Enforcer,” which NYT produced alongside a three-part series about hockey player Derek Boogaard. In-stream advertisers included State Farm and Verizon. But NYT generates plenty of video content to supplement each of its print categories (e.g., "The Future of Zoos" in its Environment category). The video.nytimes.com content sits behind the NYT paywall, but Hulu readers will be able to see the content for free on computers, with a Hulu Plus subscription on mobile devices.
By contrast, The Wall Street Journal has 57 titles on Hulu, many of them "Top 5 In Tech," but also content like its 31-minute special report, "Europe at the Brink" (with Citizens Bank advertised instream and in a display ad).
Newspaper video content is not “journalism lite”: A Boston.com (the Boston Globe website) video series on the late Senator Ted Kennedy was up for a national Emmy. (NYT has yet to be so nominated.)
Nor is Hulu “broadcasting lite.” ComScore in February revealed that Hulu is ninth among online video content properties, behind Google sites, VEVO and Viacom Digital among others; but first in video ad impressions. In April, Hulu delivered 1.6 of the 9.5 billion video ads, followed by Google Sites with 1.3 billion, BrightRoll Video Network with 943 million, Adap.tv with 881 million and TubeMogul Video Ad Platform with 831 million. And Hulu in April announced that it would guarantee 100% completion of its in-stream ad placements. (It already delivers 96%.)
NYT’s Ann Derry, who heads NYT’s video property, told Niemen that the Hulu channel will be for longer-form documentary treatments like “Punched Out.” It is a repackaging of a three-part series that ran on nytimes.com last December.