Online Videos and Television – Frenemies?


With more and more well-to-do TV networks hosting their channels on the popular digital video site, YouTube, speculations are around regarding life and cycle of Television as being the coveted household medium. All popular TV channels like Colors, Sony, MTV etc, have their online channels up and running, either on YouTube or their dedicated websites, where the content being telecasted is updated every day. Not just this, these channels showcase extra footages and content that is not always a part of the TV show. For instance, channels of shows like BIGG BOSS and MTV Roadies feature sneak peeks and uncensored sections where those clippings are put up that never go on air otherwise.

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In addition to this, there are engaging tools like “LIVE chat”, “Vote”, “Poll” and “Spoiler Alerts”, to name a few, that make the channel more happening and interactive for the users.

All this owing to the fact that viewers are spending more time online than they ever did. A research conducted by BrightRoll (a leading research and video advertising agency) in association with Nielsen puts forth the fact that around 77% of all the internet users (worldwide) consume videos as well. This research was carried out on a sample size of around 27,000, comprising of citizens from 55 countries including India.

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Of the 120 million people using the web in India, 75 per cent consume over 60 million hours of online video content every month.

The advent of smartphones and tablets, and a huge number of youngsters using them has made the medium even more accessible, thus putting advertisers to buy spaces for placing their ads on apps that are run on tablets and smartphones. Earlier, apps for TV channels or programmes contributed only in terms of updates and feeds, but of late, they allow LIVE streaming of all the content ever uploaded.

Also, off and on we hear LIVE streaming of all major events happening right over their online channels.

Catching the wave, Google is investing a lot of money to enable people to come up with their own channels showcasing original content. Its partnership scheme, wherein uploading original content lets you share the ad revenue generated through your channel with YouTube has been of benefit for many, more so for the TV channels for they claim originality in its righteous sense. This move has already seen success, with top 25 original channels garnering an average of more than 1 million views a week.

However, the moot question is whether online video story is just about “cutting the cord” with Televisions, and replacing it as the ultimate advertising medium or about the growth of videos on internet as a medium in itself. The issue being, “If my favorite show is available right at the tap of my finger in my tablet, with interesting appendages, will I care to watch it at a fixed time on the big screen”. If not, then the channels or content providers and the advertisers, who are waiting to catch my attention for their stuff, while I watch these shows, need to rethink.

In the meantime when channels and viewers relocate, the marketers have already taken a plunge.

This year advertisers, going bullish on online videos, are likely to increase their spending on digital video ads. According to estimates the contribution of online videos to digital ad spends is set to rise from 7-8% from 2%, a year before, for they have begun to find effectiveness of online ads to be at par with those on TV. Spending on online advertising is set to surpass TV by end of year 2016.

There is no denying the fact that TV has always been a medium of mass reach, but the amplifying popularity of online channels, has made the latter a medium with equally competent reach, like never before engagement and even better pricing.

Certain features that put videos over web a notch higher than Television are:

Accessibility: Online videos are available round the clock anywhere. More so, after the launch of smartphones and tablets.

Interactivity: Online videos, many a times ask viewers to click on them, in order to experience extra action. This renders a feeling of personalization and interactivity. Also, the comments section associated with every video on the internet lets the viewer react instantaneously.

Selectivity: Online videos, offer the viewer, a higher degree of selectivity as compared to TVs, hence they see what they are interested in.

Quality of online videos was one thing that used to set them at the back foot with respect to video over Television. However, lightning fast internet speeds, superb quality monitors and commercialization of content over the web have brought along HD videos.

Further, TV as a medium is “lean back” in nature, that is viewers readily accept whatever is being offered to them, while online videos are “lean forward”, which means that viewers watch only what is of interest to them, and anything that is not good will just not sell. Hence, online videos are compelling brands to become innovative with their ads, as here content rules the roost.

No wonder, that a report by Nielsen found premium online video ads to have better brand impact metrics than traditional TV ads, including brand recall, message recall, and likeability. All this contributes to the experts’ belief that online advertising is the fastest growing medium of advertising.

However, viewers who have spent decades in front of their televisions may not let it go that easy. It is the younger portion of the populace that can be targeted via this medium. Hence, TVs shall be in the scene too, to appeal to consumers who are not avid users of the internet. Many still opine that availability of stuff over the web, has undoubtedly contributed in attracting more viewers, like students and young professionals who didn’t own a Television, though always had access to seamless internet, TV still remains the favorite medium for those who have a choice.

Thereby, the need is not to do away with TV altogether, or digress one’s sole attention to digital videos. The task is to strike a balance between allocations made to advertising spends over both the mediums. The importance of the same can be corroborated from the fact that, a recent Nielsen/IAB study found that people who saw a video ad across all “four screens” (computer, smartphone, tablet, TV) correctly recalled the ad 74 percent of the time, an increase from a 50 percent ad recall when they saw the video on TV only.

In the motley of advertising budget, proliferating importance of digital videos has made the whole thing comprehensive as of now, rather than eliminating any of the medium all together. It must be good, to watch the latest advertisement of my favorite brand during a show of my interest, and see its ad popup when I sleep off to my favorite video in my smartphone’s YouTube app.

This post was originally published at Trak.in.

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