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This Week in TV News: Oscars Creative, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’

This week, we’re talking about the 91st Academy Awards ceremony and the creative that will air during the show. We’re also looking at eMarketer’s prediction that digital ad spend will overtake traditional ad spend this year. 

Oscars Sunday is upon us. And in its 91st year, the ceremony will have no host. This year’s show will air all categories (best editing, cinematography and a few others used to be presented during commercial breaks) but now will be shown live after some public pressure. Last year, Oscars viewership fell 19% from 2017. See the full list of nominees this year, via The Hollywood Reporter. And read how Oscar wins and nominations can impact on-demand rental revenue from SVP of Cadent entertainment Karen Abram.

Take a look at Oscars commercials. This year, Budweiser, Cadillac, Google, Hennessy, IBM, Marriott, McDonald’s, Microsoft and more have committed to advertising during the event. Get a preview of the spots on Ad Age.

Netflix’s Green Eggs and Ham gets big-time cast. The animated 13-part series, which has been in the works for three years, announced the stars who will voice its characters. Talent includes Diane Keaton, Michael Douglas, Adam DeVine, Ilana Glazer, Eddie Izzard, Tracy Morgan, John Turturro, Keegan-Michael Key and Jeffrey Wright. The show will premiere next fall. (Eater)

Digital spend>traditional. eMarketer says digital ad spend will overtake traditional ad spend this year. eMarketer notes that the traditional category includes radio, print, directories, TV and out-of-home advertising. Digital ad spend includes desktop, laptop, mobile, tablets and other internet-connected devices and more. (eMarketer)

See last week’s TV trends.

Don’t Buy Addressable TV Until You Answer These Questions

[A version of this post originally appeared in AdExchanger.]

Addressable TV advertising is gaining momentum, with total annual spend projected to exceed $3 billion, according to eMarketer. If you might budget for addressable TV advertising this year, you should know the important questions to ask before you dig in.

Like any emerging medium, the noise and hype can drown out the signal. So it’s important that this year, brands ask tough questions about what their addressable TV media spend should accomplish as part of the overall marketing mix.

Are you really engaging a national audience?

Building brand awareness requires the largest scale possible. TV is the premier reach medium, and its sight, sound, motion, and attentive audience are all important factors to building that relationship. (In fact, TV ads command twice the active viewing of YouTube and 15 times the active viewing of Facebook, according to research from WARC.) So naturally, marketers will benefit from the biggest pool of possibilities to draw from even when targeting a specific segment.

Many TV providers may claim access to a national audience, but what they really mean is “national” within their owned footprint. That’s because the likely don’t have subscribers in every  designated market areas (DMAs) in the U.S.; and further, even within their subscriber base, it’s likely they haven’t upgraded the set-top boxes of every subscriber to enable targeting at the household level. At CES this year, wireless providers, cable operators, and over-the-top (OTT) providers all discussed next-generation upgrades to the home, but those rollouts will take years to cover a true national audience.

This means you may believe your potential total reach is the full 75 million U.S. addressable households, but in reality that starting point is much smaller. When you begin segmenting audiences on top of that smaller pool, your addressable campaign might only ultimately each a very small percentage of targets.

As such, it’s important to ask questions to be clear on the math behind your plan’s audiences. Without this critical examination before your campaign runs, your results might be disappointing.

What are you learning?

We are in an era where demographic insights are no longer acceptable as sum total campaign results. Marketing organizations are shifting to analytics-driven planning, increasing business impact by constantly improving and learning through attribution and modeling.

Data-driven TV is an important part of this picture; campaigns today can leverage valuable data sets to provide in-flight feedback as well as detailed post-campaign observations about the changing habits of a brand’s target audience. Addressability in TV takes this even further – through a test versus control methodology advertisers can learn what messaging worked and what doesn’t work for specific segments or products.

Addressable can help marketers better understand particular audience segments as well. For instance, a major retailer we worked with ran an addressable TV campaign that revealed young single people to be good targets for driving incremental sales, and that targeting rural or suburban households was more successful than targeting urban households. Insights like these should influence not just other TV buys, but also the larger digital media mix and marketing strategy. It’s time to start thinking of TV as a part of overall media spend and not a siloed awareness channel that can’t connect to real business impact.

While planning for addressable, make sure your partner sets up your TV campaigns so that you learn things like things like ‘what’s the optimal frequency for a conversion?’; ‘what is the behavioral makeup of my audience?’; ‘what was the incremental impact on sales lift?’ and more. If they can’t, look elsewhere.

What business are you driving?

Vibrant TV creative should be the center of any closed-loop brand-building campaign in 2019. But most importantly, marketers can now measure the return on advertising spend (ROAS) against specific business KPIs such as direct sales, shopping cart growth, awareness vs the competition, share shift or foot traffic.

Advertisers and agencies must hold each other accountable to the right metrics. If all parties around the table aren’t aligned on business metrics, marketers won’t be able to show business impact from their TV spend. Campaigns should be constructed to deliver on moving the needle against a business need in the most efficient way, and as such, shouldn’t be optimized to qualitative metrics that wouldn’t hold up on a slide at a board meeting. Data-driven TV campaigns can ship product. In fact, we’ve seen return on ad spend four times or more greater than that of traditional network TV.

The cornerstone for all of these of this approach is the marketer setting the tone – providing their agency and technology partners with a complete picture of the true business objective, and encouraging analytical thinking. So as you greenlight your addressable TV advertising spend in 2019, make sure you ask the right questions to get what you’re paying for.

This Week in TV News: Howard the Duck and Jesse Pinkman Return

This week, we’re talking about Howard the Duck, the ad guy responsible for Apple’s “Think Different” campaign and new Mattel shows.

Howard the Duck returns. It’s true. Hulu and Marvel Television are partnering on four adult animated shows, including one with Howard the Duck. The George Lucas “Howard the Duck” film of the 80s was widely panned (the Chicago Tribune said Howard was about as lovable as a dishwasher) eventually reaching cult status. (Variety)

Lee Clow, ad legend, retires. And he announced it with a “love note to advertising” on Valentine’s Day. Clow is responsible for Apple’s “Think Different” and Adidas’ “Impossible is Nothing.” He joined Chiat/Day in its early days and was most recently chairman at TBWA/Media Arts Lab and director of Media Arts at TBWA/Worldwide. Read the love note in Ad Age.

The “Breaking Bad” movie is on its way to Netflix and AMC. Aaron Paul will come back as Jesse Pinkman, and as we talked about before, Vince Gilligan will be involved. The film will “follow the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie is the first part of Gilligan’s deal he signed with Sony TV last year.

Mattel has 22 original TV shows in the works. The shows will include action-adventure, humor, game shows, and music shows (both animated and live-action) made for multi-platform distribution. The toy and entertainment company, whose brands include Barbie, Hot Wheels and Monster High, is also said to be making an American Doll movie with MGM. Mattel’s chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz said the content creation is an important step in the company becoming “an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.” (Hollywood Reporter)

Read last week’s TV trends.

Which On-Demand Titles Compete with New Releases?

When a new movie is released on-demand, most would assume it would compete with other recently released movies in the same genre. An action movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would absolutely compete with a new Vin Diesel action release. But the competition doesn’t end with the obvious head-to-head titles. Rather, the laundry list of competing rental “opponents” only starts there.

For example, TV viewing is a constant competitor but poses a greater threat during specific parts of the year. There is an organic lull in rental transaction rates in September with the kick-off of fall premieres. It is during this time of year that households are not only debating which movie to rent but also factoring in whether to spend the TV-viewing time catching up on the premiere of a new season.

At Cadent entertainment, we’ve found that unlike theatrical releases, on-demand films don’t always compete new release against new release, or even new action film against older action film. Competition can come from catalog titles, which enjoy waves of popularity due to a variety of factors, including the release of a sequel or a surge in rentals because of a holiday.

Titles like 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia” and the 1936 movie “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” are rented a handful of times each week. A handful of transactions is certainly not enough to compete with the on-demand release of a tile like “The Meg” but it does add up. Ninety-five percent of monthly transactions are catalog titles.

In 2018, 353% more movies saw transactions compared to 2017, yet Rentrak consistently reports that households are still only renting twice per month at most. There are more movies made available to consumers, but there aren’t more hours in the day to view them. This means movie studios must reach audiences at the right moment to make the most of their opportunity.

The instant availability of the classics we mentioned earlier, as well as recent releases like “Three Billboards” or “Jumanji,” are creating a more crowded market. These days, a new release could be competing with films from one, 10 or 50 years ago.

In another example, the Bruce Willis-starring “Death Wish,” released in June 2018, saw unlikely competition from 2005’s “Incredibles.” Why? Because “Incredibles 2” had opened in theaters the week before. Rentals for the original film increased more than 500% in the week after the sequel was released.

It’s safe to say that the studio behind “Death Wish” was planning more for on-demand competition with action thrillers like “Pacific Rim” or “Tomb Raider,” not a family-friendly Pixar hit that had been released 13 years earlier.

This isn’t a blip: In the last 26 weeks, 15% of the top 100 movie rentals were catalog titles. Many of them were drafting titles that had sequels in theaters — movies like “Equalizer,” “Creed,” and “Hotel Transylvania.” Titles tend to see a significant rental boost when a sequel or franchise-connected film is released in theaters.

Some movies don’t need a sequel coming out to compete with new releases: “Frozen” is still in the top 100 rentals after becoming the biggest animated movie ever at the box office. (“Incredibles” comes in second.)

Whether you’re working to revive a stream of rental revenue or drive theatrical sales, there’s a valuable opportunity in promoting relevant catalog titles or driving audiences to catalog titles that have upcoming sequels. Boosting support around holiday movies when seasonally appropriate can be a smart approach.

With addressable targeting, Cadent can narrow in on households that we know are renting, and then layer in additional viewership attributes to pinpoint your ideal audience so you’re always “fishing where the fish are.”

If you’d like a deeper understanding of the variables that impact in-home entertainment, reach out to us.

This Week in TV News: Super Bowl Ads and a final season of ‘Modern Family’

This week, we’re talking about “Modern Family,” Netflix viewership and the egg that made waves on Instagram.

Super Bowl sees big ad spend. Ad Age editor Brian Braiker reviewed each of the big Super Bowl ads, doling out judgments to the brands who advertised during the big game. Research firm Kantar Media estimated in-game ad spending was $382 million, the third-largest after 2017 and 2018. Anheuser-Busch Inbev was the biggest spender. (Ad Age)

Modern Family gets one last season. The show, ABC’s top rated comedy and second highest rated series on the network behind Grey’s Anatomy, was signed for an eleventh season. (Deadline)

Netflix numbers. The streaming service said its viewing in the U.S. was down about 32% compared to a normal Sunday. FX CEO John Landgraf said Netflix “is not telling you the whole story” about ratings during remarks at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, saying the streaming service doesn’t follow accepted TV viewership metrics. (Get the full breakdown from Variety.)

Hulu’s Insta-famous egg. You might’ve heard an egg recently unseated Kylie Jenner’s baby as the most-liked Instagram post of all time. After a record 52 million likes, the egg, named Eugene, made another appearance in a 30-second commercial that aired on Hulu around the Super Bowl. The spot from Mental Health America (produced with Hulu) is about the effects social media has on health. The creators of the egg said though they have gotten plenty of interest in collaboration, they’re “less interested in money than promoting positivity.” And they’re looking for more causes for Eugene to promote. (NYT)

See last week’s trends in TV.

Congrats to Cynopsis Rising Star Allison Smith

We’re excited to share that Allison Smith, Associate Media Director, Cadent entertainment, was honored with a Cynopsis Rising Star Award for her work at Cadent last year.

Allison Smith, Associate Media Director, Cadent Entertainment

The award is given to stand-out performers, innovators and emerging leaders in the media industry, and Allison couldn’t be more deserving. Her teammates said that along with dedicating herself to making sure the client feels prioritized, Allison is a great motivator and manager:

“She’s a real go getter, always willing to help out and problem solve. She shows patience and persistence with new hires, and one of her stand-out qualities is the underlying analytical tone she brings to problem-solving.”

Here’s a condensed interview with Allison on her approach to teamwork and her dedication to clients:

On developing a rapport with her team: My group tends to be very focused and mission-oriented, so making the time to create a culture was important. We really do have a super supportive group, with everyone willing to jump in and help. It says a lot about about the team culture.

On keeping up team morale: I send out a slide every Friday with random questions that I survey in the group, like, “What’s your Hogwarts House?” It keeps things light and helps everyone know more about each other.

On finding ways to innovate: I crave novelty and am always looking for ways to push forward. A lot of the inspiration for new strategies comes from asking questions. The Addressable team, our media partners and, of course, my team are great sounding boards.

For one client, I programmed pivot documents to automatically populate newly requested client asks using charts that the team was already managing. I worked on it during weekends, and it ended up cutting down on manual effort from the team and created efficiency and clarity for the client. We’re always looking to optimize what we have.

On moving from planning to an analytics role: Our system is set up in a way where you can clearly measure the effectiveness of what the team has done. I’m a curious person generally, and now, I can focus on those deeper questions. My new role is about long-term projects, daily diligence and ensuring progress. Because our clients are experts, I like to hear their questions and how they’re looking at their work. It pushes me and my thought processes forward.

On finding and providing mentorship: I have always been really motivated to network and seek mentorship opportunities on my own, but I feel like for every bit of my effort, I have received 10 times the support back. Not every company is dedicated to helping employees grow – and that’s a big part of why I’ve continued to work with Cadent.

People thrive on encouragement, so I make a point of looking for those opportunities to express genuine appreciation and praise for positive improvement and growth. Mentorship has been a big part of my own growth story. Offering equal opportunities for mentorship to my team has been vital to our success. To truly be successful, you need other people, and helping nurture talent in the people I rely on to do my job well has been key.

See the full list of 2018 Cynopsis Rising Star honorees.  

This Week in TV News: the Criterion Channel and Pause Screen Ads

This week, we’re talking about the Criterion Channel, Hulu’s new pause screen ads and the future of Super Bowl advertising.

Global streaming set to grow. A report from Morgan Stanley analysts found Netflix will account for 20% of U.S. online video consumption by 2023. The report found the biggest video growth will come from video services other than Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, including international streaming platforms. (Business Insider)

Stream classics this April. Movie lovers rejoice: the Criterion Channel will launch April 8 in the U.S. and Canada. The channel is the successor to FilmStruck, the now-defunct streaming service that showcased classic movies, along with arthouse, indie and foreign films. The new Criterion Channel will offer more than 1,000 movies and be available on desktop, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS and Android. (Variety)

And now, a pause from one of our sponsors. In Q2, Hulu will roll out static ads that come up when viewers press pause on a program. Charmin and Coke will be the inaugural brands to try the ad format, part of Hulu’s effort at reducing commercial breaks. Jeremy Helfand, Hulu’s VP and Head of Ad Platforms, said the company is aiming for half of its ad revenue to come from “non-disruptive” ad formats within three years. (Digiday)

The future of Super Bowl Ads. A feature from Wired dives into Super Bowl ads, starting with Skittles’ ad this year, which isn’t actually an ad; it’s a musical. And it won’t air during the game; it’ll be performed live at Town Hall in Manhattan on gameday. And it won’t be broadcast. Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet redefined what viral, mass-audience advertising six years ago. Where will Super Bowl ads go from here? (Wired)

See last week’s TV news.