On Demand Summit: VOD Ads Growing, But Barriers Remain

As consumer use of on demand viewing has increased, whether it's transactional VOD or free VOD, advertising has followed.

However, several obstacles remain to wider Madison Avenue activation: a standard metric, the comfort factor of marketers to spend in the on-demand space, striking the right balance on ad load. But what business leaders should be focusing on is not cost, but the value.

That was the consensus at the "Attracting Advertisers to On-Demand panel: at B&C/Multichannel News' On-Demand confab here June 9.

"It's about impact not impressions," said Nick Troiano, president of BlackArrow.

There is a wide gap (and the potential) between advertising on linear television with its "push" model of inundating the consumer with ads for products they may have no interest in and "pull" of on-demand advertising which can target consumers based on their on-demand purchase.

"In the end you're getting content you want to see," said Kevin Smith, group vice president of integrated media sales at Comcast Spotlight. "Whether that's measured in CPMs or impressions or it's part of an integrated campaign, there's clear value there."

Andrew Capone, senior vi ce president of marketing and business development at NCC, added that the $6 billion upfront market may not be so scientific either. (Capone called the annual ritual "Kabuki theater.") And simply superimposing the linear TV model (i.e. pre-roll and post-roll) on VOD, has not "moved the needle."

But Warren Lapa, vice president of digital sales and business development at Time Warner Cable, took a somewhat counter point, talking up the value of local advertising in the on-demand space. "We have scale within our markets," he said. "If we can move the needle for a local advertiser, it's not about impressions, it's about customers."

And Andrea Pritchard, programming manager at Sunflower Broadband, noted that the on-demand viewer is an engaged viewer and perhaps more importantly, a smart viewer. And that should be a boon for advertisers.

"VOD is a smart platform," she said. "You have to be smart to use it, precisely because the navigation system is so horrible."