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.”