May 12, 2016

AdWeek: Why Digital Video Players Should Stop Comparing Their Viewership to TV

YouTube, Fullscreen take misleading shots at traditional media

Fullscreen compared its male viewership to AMC’s highly-rated The Walking Dead. Fullscreen/AMC

Numbers never lie. But they can surely be manipulated.

And during the past two weeks of NewFronts presentations, digital video players took that to heart.

During YouTube’s Brandcast, CEO Susan Wojcicki made the bold claim that “on mobile alone, YouTube now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any network.” And she didn’t stop there, adding that the online video hub reaches more young adults during prime time than the top 10 TV shows combined.

Wojcicki wasn’t the only one launching verbal missiles at traditional television. Just a few days later, as multichannel network Fullscreen was touting its evolution into a full-fledged media company, its head of sales Kevin McGurn added even more fuel to the fire.

Fullscreen is rolling up its top 25 male- and female-skewing channels and selling it as one package to advertisers, dubbed HisScreen and HerScreen, allowing brands to make a single buy across popular creators’ channels like Grace Helbig and the Fine Brothers.

Instead of letting that do the talking, McGurn decided to compare the combined reach of those packages to single television programs, which is becoming a popular way for digital players to compare themselves to television. For example, McGurn said the combined reach of the HisScreen channels was comparable to college football’s Sugar Bowl and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

“I think they’re [making these comparisons] because they need a big number,” Charlie Fiordalis, Chief Digital Officer at Media Storm, told Adweek. “But I don’t see it necessarily as a meaningful number.”

May 6, 2016

WSJ: MCNs Contend With Ad Buyer Fatigue

Brands can reach audience for Web video stars via direct influencer deals and programmatic channels that are less labor intensive

Some ad buyers are starting to wonder whether working with multichannel networks—the high-flying collectives of Web video talent known in the industry as “MCNs”–is worth all the trouble.

In the last five years, MCNs such as Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Stylehaul and many others became buzzy media upstarts ostensibly for their ability to help advertisers connect with digital creators and influencers—and their young, TV-avoiding fans. They started out selling ads across YouTube channels centered on themes like gaming but evolved into part talent agencies and part production firms for YouTube stars, eventually branching out to platforms beyond the Google-owned video site.

These middlemen brokering deals between brands and social influencers also attractedmajor investments along the way; for instance, Walt Disney Co.’s $500 million cashpurchase of Maker in 2014 that also came with hefty payouts if Maker hits performance targets.

But now, as major MCNs like Whistle Sports and Studio71 make their pitches to advertisers this week and next during the annual “NewFronts,” the question is whether ad buyers are still as receptive to their messages.

“I think there is a little bit of a hangover going into the NewFronts this year,” said Donald Williams, chief digital officer at the media buying firm Horizon Media. “Brands are saying, ‘Let’s make sure we are maximizing our spending and reaching new people.’”

May 6, 2016

CNBC: Digital publishers race to score deals … on TV!

Though much is touted about the growth of audiences on digital media and migration away from television, many of these online-first networks are striving to strike TV deals. Huh?

On Wednesday, Vox Media announced its first TV deal. A+E Networks’FYI has ordered a 30-minute series with a working title of “Prefabulous.” It will be produced by Vox Entertainment and its digital real estate and home website Vox’s Curbed.

“As our company grows and as the TV landscape changes and as the business model shifts, we have a real opportunity to have a seat at the table at the future of television — which is on-demand, high quality programming,” said Chad Mumm, vice president of Vox Entertainment.

April 27, 2016

International Business Times: What’s Really Killing Digital Media: The Tyranny Of The Impression

All happy media companies are alike, but each unhappy digital media company is unhappy for exactly the same reason. After two decades of selling its ad space using metrics and currency borrowed from magazines and television, the digital publishing world has been distorted and perverted so badly that everybody in the industry is facing an existential crisis.

In the last month alone, a disputed report that BuzzFeed had missed its revenue targets set off shockwaves; Yahoo, which is about to be sold for a small fraction of what it would have fetched eight years ago, posted a $99 million operating loss, showing a decline in ad prices sold; and three days after it shot down a report that layoffs were imminent, the New York Times admitted it would shutter its press operation in Paris to free up more resources for its digital operations. This publication is hardly immune: Earlier this year, International Business Times laid off more than a dozen people.

April 22, 2016

WSJ: YouTube’s Quest for TV Advertising Dollars

While the Google platform has had the most success siphoning off some TV ad spending, its challenges offer a cautionary tale for Facebook, Twitter

Cord-cutting is on the rise, ratings for many networks are in decline, Web video consumption is surging and there’s a new crop of stars on digital media. Surely, marketers are chasing this migration of mostly young viewers by diverting huge chunks of their television advertising budgets to digital video.

But, for the most part, that’s not happening.

Facebook and Snapchat get all the buzz these days with their billions of daily video views, but there’s really just one game in town when it comes to winning over any TV marketing money to the Web—YouTube.