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The BVOD challenge

Last month, media agencies from across the UK congregated in both London and Manchester for the Bigger Picture event where for the first time, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 came together to present a collective sell for broadcaster video on demand (BVOD). The “big 3” collectively presented two studies that utilised a combined data set of 17,000 viewers, with the aim of debunking myths around consumption and engagement on BVOD.

The key selling points were:

  • 70% of BVOD occurrences take place on the main TV set, and only 3% occur outside the home; implying highly engaged audiences
  • ‘Impressions bought’ doesn’t equal the number of viewers, 1 impression = 1.6 adult viewers; indicating advertisers are getting more bang for their buck than planned, yet this fails to counter the cost per thousand (CPT) which is approximately 10x higher than linear TV!
  • BVOD increases viewers exploratory behaviour, given the setup of “players” which is great news for the broadcasters, encouraging audiences to stay “locked in” to their services
  • BVOD is helping to counter the decline in linear TV viewing, meaning we can achieve reach volumes equivalent to those ten years ago

In addition to the work presented, we know that BVOD is also a brilliant way to gain incremental reach against audiences that under-index on linear TV, for example males aged 16-34. It also enables advertisers to access popular content such as Love Island and Bake Off, but with the added ability to cap the number of impressions bought, and therefore controlling the cost of accessing the content.

All Response Media viewpoint

The results (unsurprisingly, given who was presenting) painted a positive picture for the role which BVOD can play in increasing reach, awareness and intention to purchase for campaigns. In this instance, the “big 3” avoided addressing how they are working to help advertisers overcome the main barriers to entry on BVOD: Firstly, cost. Without an added premium for audience targeting, BVOD CPTs are roughly 10x that of linear TV, meaning it is hard to justify it on a TV plan unless it’s the solution to an audience reach gap and is proving to be a responsive channel. Secondly, unlike linear TV, there is no independent measurement of BVOD viewing figures. Until the introduction of the next phase of Project Dovetail (due to launch in September), reporting provided from broadcasters is limited to impressions and reach figures.

If targeting was the only thing that delivered TV performance, we would spend a lot more time in the spa or on the golf course than we currently do! Viewing data via VOD and via platforms such as Sky AdVance has given media owners the confidence to understand who is watching what, at a much greater level of granularity than ever before. We can now say for certain how many Mini driving dog owners are watching Ellen on a Tuesday. Brilliant! However, the issue is that they are considering views as the ultimate endgame. We understand that it’s a balance of factors that drive TV performance – unfortunately targeting is only one. Not all views or impacts are created equally and, more importantly, the price you pay has a strong impact on what the ultimate ROI will be. It is crucial to consider all eventualities when creating schedules and evaluating media performance. If Mini driving dog owners are your thing…. BVOD could be too. But not at any cost!