Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at media agency Starcom, recommends Netflix’s House of Cards. “It’s just stocked with great story lines, and twists and turns and everything you want from a good drama,” she says. The show’s Emmy nominations, for Best Drama, Best Actor and Best Actress, “validates that it’s really about the content , no matter what platform it’s distributed on, no matter what the business model is.”
Richman doesn’t seem overly concerned that she can’t buy 30 second spots in House of Cards’ second season. “I don’t look at this being the death of the advertising model as we know it, but a challenge to be creative and think about how we can work with companies like Netflix in the future,” she says. “I think there’s room for advertisers in those arrangements. It may not look like interruptive 30-second spots. It will be a different format. But there will be ways for advertisers to get involved with content development.”
There might also be lessons in the way that Netflix uses data about its subscribers in making programming investments, she says. “Taking the data and understanding the consumer viewing behaviors and having that influence more of what’s being developed, versus what Hollywood or the broadcast programmers think is the right fit for the audience” could make the pilot process more predictable, she says.
Clients would want more access to Netflix’s data than the streaming company now appears willing to share with its programming partners and the public. “Our hope is that Netflix will be more transparent with data and allow us to bring our own data to the party as well and collaborate on shaping this content,” she says.
Richman says advertisers want great content, whether it’s being produced for broadcast, cable, online or mobile. But as the streaming services and others create new competition for eyeballs, it becomes more difficult to gather huge audiences. In that environment, “winning might be greater integration and more involvement by the audience in the programming itself.”
And with Google, Apple and other tech firms making noises about starting television services, there will be much more to come in the over-the-top world. “It’s interesting to see it all move so quickly,” she says. “The momentum is picking up.”
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