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Class Is in Session: Why Brands Need TV Advertising in Their Back-to-School Media Plans

The back-to-school season is among the most significant shopping events for consumers and retailers alike, deemed the second largest annual spend behind the winter holiday season. 

In fact, as inflation continues to rise, 38% of consumers say they are cutting back in other areas of spending to cover the cost of items for the upcoming school year, according to the National Retail Federation. Many households expect to spend more per person on back-to-school items this year as a result of higher prices. 

Back-to-school spending has also increased dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, further driving consumer value-seeking behaviors when it comes to back-to-school purchases. With that in mind, retail marketers should aim to be everywhere consumers are during the back-to-school season, beginning with TV.  

Price and Value are Key Drivers of Back-to-School Purchase Decisions 

8 in 10 Americans believe the current economic situation will have an impact on their back-to-school shopping budget, according to Dentsu Consumer Navigator. However, most are willing to sacrifice other areas of household spending to fund back-to-school purchases. Consumers consider back-to-school items as an essential category, and they are taking whatever steps they can in order to purchase what they need for the upcoming school year. 

This commodity approach is also leading consumers to make needs-based and price-based decisions. 82% say they are likely to buy generic store brands instead of name brands, 64% said discounts will greatly impact their decisions, and 50% do research online ahead of making back-to-school purchases. Consumers are not only cutting back on discretionary spending, but they are also looking for sales and buying more store- or off-brand items.  

Why Brands Should Leverage TV Buys for Back to School 

 When it comes to back-to-school, it’s imperative for advertisers to stay one step ahead of the competition – and including TV in your back-to-school media plans can help campaigns deliver.   

TV remains the most effective medium to reach a broad audience with brand messaging and drive results. Linear TV can drive awareness of deals or particular items offered for back-to-school – a necessity when more consumers are now considering generic brand alternatives. Addressable TV can be used to target viewers, in this case parents and children, with relevant promotions and offers at the household level. CTV helps drive incremental reach beyond linear, targeting cord cutters and light TV viewers. 

How TV Advertising Can Help Address Shifting Consumer Behaviors 

To prevent consumers from shopping for generic brands or competitors, it is crucial to highlight promotional offers. Advertising the availability of special pricing and discounts will also be especially important given that more consumers are keeping an eye out for sales events to make the most of their back-to-school budget. Implementing a competitive promotions strategy this season will likely provide bigger benefits to retailers than in years past.  

Advertisers should also keep in mind that children are heavily involved in purchasing decisions. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, brands should not only be seeking to reach parents, but find ways to engage the students as well.  

TV advertising campaigns are a proven way to combat shifting consumer behavior and minimize the impact of economic challenges. Cadent is a one-stop shop for data-driven TV advertising and takes a unified approach to simplify execution across a very complex TV marketplace. With Cadent, advertisers can effectively reach national audiences, leverage advanced audience targeting, and measure campaign performance.  

Find out how Cadent can support your brand’s back-to-school advertising initiatives. 

CPG, PBT, and TV — A Winning Audience Combination for 2022

Guest Author: Tom Eaton, SVP, Programmatic & TV Solutions, NCSolutions

As brands continue to refine their media plans for 2022, they are thinking about how to reach the right consumers at the right moment in the buyer journey. This consumer-focused approach to marketing makes having a cross-channel audience strategy even more important. 

According to a recent NCS consumer sentiment survey, almost half (48%) of Americans say one of their biggest pet peeves about advertising is when they see an ad that’s not relevant to them1. And this makes sense—finding the right consumers and serving them relevant advertising can be a challenge for consumer brands. Purchase-based targeting (PBT), or targeting a consumer based on past purchases, is one strategy that can help along the way.

Brands can use PBT to reach more precise and proven audiences based on actual buying behavior. These unique audiences can be activated across all media types and tailored to a brand’s advertising goals. 

For example, a brand may focus on reaching consumers who sometimes buy their brand and purchase other brands frequently in their category to meet their strategy of conquesting the competition for a campaign. PBT is a proven strategy for brands looking to reach an audience more likely to buy more. In fact, purchase-based targeting drives 3x the return on advertising spend when compared to other targeting methods used by CPG companies in their strategies2. Past purchases are the most effective and efficient way to predict future buying behavior. 

In a recent TV campaign, we saw that while just 3% of exposures were delivered to previous brand buyers, that segment contributed 27% of the incremental sales that resulted from the campaign. Using NCS purchase insights can help brands build a plan that minimizes waste and ensures every dollar they spend is reaching the consumers most likely to buy their products.

Building brand love with repeat buyers is another benefit of purchase-based targeting. With inflation at a recent high and kinks in the supply chain, consumers may try new brands due to price or availability. In a recent NCS consumer study about holiday food shopping, we learned that 17% of respondents will try another brand if their preferred brand is not available and 31% will substitute their favorite food for a cheaper brand3

Reaching buyers at the right time and place matters. NCS has teamed up with Cadent to ensure their customers have access to NCS’s purchase-based audiences right within the Cadent Aperture platform. CPG brands have the ability to compete for digital dollars by delivering the same high-value audiences across all TV platforms. 

Download NCSolutions’ free guide to discover more on how the combination of PBT and TV can work together for CPG.


1 NCS Consumer Sentiment Survey, September 2021

2 NCSolutions/Nielsen CPG Meta-Study

3 NCS Consumer Sentiment Survey, November 2021

What an Uptick in Co-viewing Means for Advertisers

People naturally turn to TV for connections with others. From gathering around a shared TV set in the 1950s to posting about their favorite show on social media today, it has always played a significant role in our social experiences. 

During a time when our interactions with others are limited, the desire for communal television is as prevalent as ever. We seek out mutual experiences and shared points of reference as audiences of all ages strive to remain connected during calls to stay at home and follow social distancing protocols. 

One way audiences are finding this connection is through TV co-viewing. Nielsen data shows that co-viewing makes up 34% of streaming behavior and 48% of linear TV viewing. Since the start of the pandemic, these co-viewing numbers have increased even more, especially connected TV viewership. In fact, CTV use in living rooms hasgrown noticeably, which Nielsen attributes to a heightened desire to spend time with others while watching TV. 

Co-viewing across all TV-viewing platforms peaked during the week of March 23, but even as states begin reopening, the co-viewing trend is pressing forward. Research from Ipsos found that when people were considering streaming service subscriptions, “we” statements increasedthirteen percent from last year, whereas “me” statements increased just three percent. As the “we” mentality becomes widespread, people are transitioning to think of TV viewing as a communal experience. For example, as parents spend more time at home with their children and have limited entertainment options, they seek out content that they can watch with their kids, such as The Not Too Late Show with Elmo on HBO. 

Viewers are gravitating to streaming watch parties

TV-viewing as a means of social connection has not only grown within a household in the form of co-viewing, but across households as well through streaming services’ watch parties. 

Watch parties allow users to view content with others while physically apart, either through the platform itself or a plug-in extension. For example, Twitch, a platform owned by Amazon, gives users watch-party access to Prime Video content. HBO and Hulu launched group streaming options as well. Interestingly, sixty-one percent of Hulu users watch content with others in their household, indicating the prevalence of both co-viewing and group watch parties on connected TV platforms.  

Co-viewing increases audiences’ advertising engagement

As these TV-viewing habits grow in popularity, it introduces the question, what does this mean for advertisers? 

According to research from the Video Advertising Bureau, co-viewing increases an audience’s engagement with an ad by 33 percent compared to solo viewing. Advertisements also generate a higher emotional response in co-viewers (71 percent) than single viewers (37 percent), and 63 percent of audiences say that they discuss the programming and advertisements they see on TV when watching with others. Co-viewing audiences are also less likely to change the channel.  

These benefits of advertising in co-viewing environments show that television’s social connectivity is quite advantageous for advertisers. When people watch together, they engage with advertisements more.  

The practice of advertising to co-viewing audiences is not new; advertisers have been aware of their multi-viewer audience for years. However, the introduction of new tools into the market helps advertisers and networks more accurately count co-viewers.  

Counting co-viewership on linear TV is already an established practice, but the method for connected TV is developing and gaining traction. As a Digiday article explains, connected TVs’ first-party data is matched against Nielsen’s data to determine the number of people watching TV in a room. Then, a co-viewing factor is calculated to allow for accurate audience impression counts. 

Harnessing data in this manner is critical for advertisers as the trends of co-viewing and watch parties continue. It brings the consideration of group engagement to the forefront of an ad campaign, and it allows for the inclusion of co-viewership in impressions, which reduces a campaign’s CPM. As the number of counted viewers goes up, an advertiser’s cost per impression goes down, allowing them to reach a larger audience for their advertising budget. 

As viewers turn to TV to connect with each other, advertisers can rely on it to connect with valuable TV audiences and accurately measure the impact as well.   

Webinar: Cadent’s Jes Santoro Explores Shifts in Viewer Behavior

TV is as relevant as ever. People are consuming a lot content, and families are spending a lot of time together. The television set is still where families naturally gather at the end of the day.

Recently, the Video Ad Bureau’s Jason Wiese hosted a webinar with Cadent SVP, Advanced TV and Video, Jes Santoro, about understanding shifting audience behavior and exploring the question, “Should I still be advertising on TV?”

Shifts in viewer behavior are happening in real-time, and marketers have to have a nimble strategy to keep pace. Here are a few takeaways from the session:

Even before COVID, people were consuming a lot of content. Viewership will increase across demographics this year. Traditional TV will jump by 8.3 million U.S. viewers this year, ending a nine-year dip. (eMarketer)

TV is as relevant as ever. People are consuming a lot content, and families are spending a lot of time together. The television set is still where families naturally gather at the end of the day. People are watching more TV than ever, but they’re tuning in across different platforms and channels.

Now, marketers have to prepare for a post-COVID world. How can marketers bridge linear, OTT, CTV and other advanced TV solutions in the future? Watch the video below.

How Does a Theatrical Run Impact a Movie’s VOD Debut?

Every studio head and film marketer wishes they had a crystal ball. Without one, who can predict why a low-budget action-adventure with a little-known cast performs like a blockbuster on VOD or how a star-studded rom-com that blew away the box-office competition on its opening weekend disappears with as little trace as a small bag of concession-stand popcorn.

While no one can rely on crystal balls (except maybe in the movies), there is a data-driven way to make informed decisions about an on-demand campaign: box office delta.

Simply put, box office delta is the difference, expressed as a percentage, between a film’s opening box office take versus its total box office. And no matter what the genre—costume drama, comedy, horror, or science fiction—having that figure can be revelatory. Films with higher box office deltas tend to exceed their video on demand (VOD) rental revenue goals, and the reverse is true as well: a lower box office delta often means a missed video on demand rental revenue goal that will need to be adjusted.

We analyzed more than 50 VOD rental campaigns from 2018 and found that the average box office delta was 363% (the result of an average domestic opening weekend being slightly over $19 million, while average domestic total box office worked out to slightly under $70 million).

There are, of course, outliers, and those prove especially instructive for Cadent’s purposes. For example, a dark superhero flick pulls in more than $80 million in its opening weekend and more than $200 million in its box office total, by no means a failure for a theatrical performance, but there’s a compelling story there for its VOD performance. The delta for this particular film was less than half the average, telling us that it might be lacking momentum entering the VOD landscape. Whereas an action-adventure remake with an opening weekend gross of a respectable $36.2 million racked up a jaw-dropping total box office of $404.5 million, meaning its box office delta was more than three times the average. It’s reasonable to conclude that there’s significant organic interest in the film as it leaves its theatrical run and enters into the VOD landscape.

Box office hits or failures don’t necessarily make hits or failures in the VOD space; what’s important is whether the title has audience interest and whether that interest is building as the film enters the VOD rental window.

Campaigns with high box office deltas exceeded their revenue goal by an average of 18%, while those with lower deltas missed their goals by an average of 11%. Of the 43 campaigns with under-average delta, almost half missed their revenue goal, while of the nine with over-average delta just a single film missed its goal.  With box office delta as a planning variable, this could be anticipated and planned for.

Box office delta can be an enormous help in setting realistic VOD revenue goals during the planning stages by serving as a benchmark. In other words, by adjusting opening box office numbers based on box office delta early on, we can much more accurately foresee VOD revenue.

Let’s take the example “Shape of Water.” It opened up with $3 million (and the chosen comparisons average just slightly over that). Later, however, thanks in large part to positive press and a good showing during awards season, the movie caught some buzz, and its box office delta ended up at 2028%. The takeaway is that the movie still had an active audience despite it no longer being in theaters, Potentially, it could punch above its weight because of overwhelming interest it had coming into the rental window.

Basing a campaign on that modest opening weekend would represent a missed opportunity. Mathematically, the huge box office delta suggests that the film has performed more like one with a $13 million opening (versus the $3 million it had), and that’s the figure that should be considered when setting VOD goals.

In an opposite scenario, a movie with a lot of advance buzz might have an epic opening weekend as fans flock to be in the vanguard; box office delta could then end up being low, because everyone who wanted to see it did so right at the start and the film didn’t build lifetime momentum. Thus, a low box office delta. That state of affairs will naturally affect the VOD outcome, and a marketer who has taken box office delta into consideration might just have averted an expensive debacle.

No two movies are exactly alike, and, admittedly, no one campaign strategy is going to fit every film, but box office delta provides a powerful tool that allows marketers to consider both short-term performance and the long tail while planning for on-demand.  When combined with 20+ other variables, we have a pretty solid expectation for how a film will perform in the VOD rental window.  It’s not quite a crystal ball, but almost.

Get in touch with us for more information.

This Holiday Season, Here’s How Retailers Are Supercharging Their TV Strategies

Holiday retail sales this year are forecasted to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% from 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. With that in mind, retail marketers aim to be everywhere consumers are during the holiday season, beginning with TV. 

With so much on the line during the holiday season – Adobe Analytics estimated 2019 Cyber Monday sales increased almost 17% over last year for a total of a total of $9.2 billion – retail marketers are taking a more data-driven approach to TV, creating sequenced campaigns that move customers through their purchase journeys and boost sales during a key period for retailers’ businesses.

The key challenge this year (and likely the key challenge next year) will be reaching fragmented viewership. In order to meet potential customers with a relevant message everywhere this holiday season, marketers have to start with an understanding of viewers. 

The evolution of TV viewership

There are many types of TV viewers today – advanced cord cutters only watch on-demand TV; some viewers still like to tune into linear TV for a set amount of time; and transitional viewers, those who fall somewhere in the middle, sometimes watching live TV, and sometimes watch on-demand.

During the holidays this year, marketers have had to orchestrate unified campaigns around constantly changing consumer behavior. The “holy grail” of digital and TV is leveraging the data and insights from one channel and bridging it to another channel for continued success. The opportunity for bridging digital and TV is rich., but unfortunately, data silos are all too common, and strategies for TV and digital remain squarely separate.

Through audience-based buying technology, retail marketers can bridge the gap for cross-screen success. For instance, when consumers engage with social media, they invariably reveal things about themselves of interest to marketers. Engaging with certain hashtags on social media shows affinity for a product or activity. For instance, engagement with #DogsofInstagram reveals that the user has a dog or is interested in dogs, while tagging posts with #FitnessMotivation or #Keto shows an interest in exercise and health. Marketers can sequence messages and control frequency through data-driven TV, keeping their brand top-of-mind with prospective customers and further spreading its message during the holiday season. 

Addressable TV advertising can be used as an extension to digital by applying data to TV. A retail marketer can place a pixel on their website to track exposed TV households that visit their sites. Afterward, they can target those visitors on TV again to reach them with a message specific to whatever stage of the customer journey they’re in. Putting all the data together, a marketer can get a much better idea of a consumer’s wants and interests than they would otherwise. 

Use TV to spark an omnichannel experience

Retail marketers today know that seamless customer experiences, from online shopping to in-store pickup, are critical to driving sales during the holiday season. The in-store experience is a still a significant differentiator – consulting firm A.T. Kearney found that 81% of Gen Z shoppers in the U.S. said they liked to transact in-store, and three out of four said they appreciated a “well-curated store experience focused on a limited number of products.”

TV, with its ability to reach customers at scale with relevant messages, is still the most successful medium at reaching a wide swath of audiences with a message and driving results. Linear TV can drive awareness of a promotion or particular items offered on Black Friday, for instance. Through data-driven TV, retail marketers can reach households during the consideration phase of their journey, such as customers who previously bought a competitor’s products or who lapsed in purchasing and could be influenced to buy again.

Addressable TV can be used to target viewers with relevant messages at the household level. What’s more, campaigns return a wealth of insights to retail marketers post-campaign, including incremental impact of addressable TV against a brand’s KPI, such as return on advertising spend (ROAS), lift in penetration, share shift and foot traffic to store locations. 

An orchestrated approach to holiday retail marketing is critical this year and will be for years to come. Retail marketers today understand customers are shopping on devices and in brick-and-mortar shops, and they’re consuming content in a variety of ways. 

In the past, retail marketers could reach the 25-54 demo through a few major TV networks. But with the proliferation of OTT, TVE, AVOD and more services, it simply doesn’t work anymore. By some counts, consumers subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform. The average consumer subscribes to three streaming services, according to Deloitte research, and with Disney+ and Apple TV Plus gaining steam and others launching in 2020, it’s not going to get easier to reach unified audiences anytime soon. 

TV viewers today watch more premium content across more channels and devices than ever before. A holistic approach to retail marketing during the holidays spans the full customer journey, from awareness to action.

For more on retail marketing campaigns, get in touch with us.

The Impact of an Earlier Oscars Ceremony on On-Demand Planning

Awards season buzz has a powerful impact on viewer interest in films, both at the box office and in the home. This year, studios will need to adapt their strategy to profit from this effect, as the Oscars—Hollywood’s biggest night—are being broadcast almost a month earlier than usual.

Why does this matter for on-demand planning?

Let’s break it down: The average time between theatrical and VOD release is about three months. Oscars timing usually aligns pretty well with award-contender films that want to capitalize on the theatrical window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, before releasing on-demand by late February – just in time for the Oscars telecast late February or early March.

This timing is important. Titles with awards buzz get a boost in on-demand transactions, but only within a certain window. The further a VOD release date is from the award ceremony, the lower the organic impact of the award buzz.

Cadent found that when a film is released on-demand the month of the award show rather than the month before, the ROAS dropped by 16%. That stat continues to plummet, dropping by 40% the month after the award show and 56% two months after.

We also looked at the correlation between studio investment and revenue. In the month before and the month of the award show (with the award show at the end of the month), studios saw strong returns with additional investment. In the month after the award show, however, that relationship weakens substantially. This shows that many studios probably underspent, banking on award show buzz that had petered out.

In short, this means that titles with awards buzz that are released on-demand after the award show need more support and a higher ad spend.

A well-planned VOD release is especially important for smaller independent films that don’t carry resounding box office success or wide audience buzz. (Think “The Favourite” versus “A Star Is Born”.)

Leading up to the award shows, these small films have a hearty buzz that can make up for low awareness coming out of a less successful theatrical window. This buzz can be harnessed for strong returns and performance surpassing similar low-awareness tiles without this buzz. Once the awards are handed out, however, these smaller films tend to fade into the background, especially if they don’t win any big-name trophies.

With this year’s Oscars ceremony falling at the beginning of February, there is a much smaller window in which a title, especially a smaller one, can ride the award season wave.

Let’s walk through an example: a film is released on Christmas Day and is nominated for an Academy Award. The film is not a wide-release box office hit, but is critically acclaimed and is getting a lot of awards buzz. Based on the average release schedule, it won’t be available on-demand until the end of February, two to three weeks after the Oscars ceremony. Based on Cadent’s findings, this film would see a 16-40% drop in return on ad spend. It would need a much larger spend to make up for the lapsed award show awareness.

Heading into fall and winter, there are some best practices to make the most of the short awards season. First, let the big budget box office hits run their own course. These films should have enough awareness and buzz without an award-show boost to perform well on-demand. Releasing them based on ideal holiday theatrical timing and adapting revenue goals based on their theatrical success is a smart strategy.  

Then, focus attention on smaller releases that will garner critical acclaim and nominations. Consider earlier releases for these titles, to time their on-demand release in January. This positions the titles that can benefit from awards buzz the most during the time when they can benefit from awards buzz the most. 

To get a better grasp on the impact the earlier Oscars ceremony could have on in-home entertainment and the movie-rental window, get in touch with us.

Read more about the variables that affect in-home rental revenue.

Why Consumers Will Choose Streaming Service Quality over Quantity

It’s clear that the streaming service space is crowded – consumers have more than 100 options, by one estimate. Forty-seven percent of consumers are frustrated with the ever-increasing number of choices.

Ask anyone who has been to a restaurant with a book-sized menu, and they might agree – an abundance of options isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can hinder the customer experience. Having too many options typically means people end up less satisfied with their final decision than if they’d been given fewer options in the first place.

And with fan favorite shows moving from one service to another, consumers are frustrated because it means they have to subscribe to yet another service. Finding content among all the new options for streaming video requires work, and that brings down consumer satisfaction. 

Competition for consumer preference heats up 

Look to the past to better understand the convergence of TV and digital. In the early stages of the internet, when browsers battled for dominance, Netscape’s Navigator initially had an edge over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Then, Internet Explorer took the lead. Eventually, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox joined the competition. Chrome rapidly gained ground, and today, it has two-thirds of global browser market share

Similarly, streaming services are about to enter a battle for consumer preference. And just as browsers like Opera, Cello, Mosaic, Amaya faded out of prominence, so will some streaming services. Each service will enter at a different playing field, with some producing new content and some coming to market with fan-favorite hit shows from the past or taking content off of certain services to exclusively stream on their own service. After a few years of competition, the wide array of options will get whittled down. 

For many consumers, this change can’t come fast enough. Subscribers are becoming mentally and financially exhausted with all the streaming options available to them. (Hence the term “subscription fatigue.”) One survey found that most people reach their threshold at three subscriptions. Only one in ten respondents said they’d get another service if they could, and one in four said they would dump a streaming service if they were to add a new subscription to their bill. People are not willing to pay more than $45 to $50 a month on streaming services generally. And now, consumers will have to subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform

Keeping the customer experience front and center

Consumers know that quantity does not always mean quality. And as it gets more expensive to subscribe to multiple streaming services, they will hone in on their must-see content and leave the rest behind. The average person already has about three streaming service subscriptions. Top reasons for cancelling services include not getting a good value for their money and not finding enough content they liked. Value is critical, and subscriber experiences matter more than ever before. Consumers want access to the content they’re looking for, and they want an intuitive interface to access the content. That’s why, in the race for winning consumer streaming preference, the services that successfully deliver on customer experiences are the ones that will win.  

2019 Cannes Lions Trends: Transparency and a Focus on Culture

Every year, the Cannes Lions brings the advertising industry together to celebrate the most innovative creative in the world, and we have great discussions that influence the way we think about the brand-customer relationship. This year’s festival was no exception.

At the festival this year, our leadership team took part in excellent conversations on advanced TV and building brands. Cadent President of addressable Michael Bologna hosted a panel on the future of addressable TV with Adam Gerber, President of Global Media, Essence; Laura Nelson, SVP, Advertising Solutions and Performance, Disney Ad Sales; and Bryson Gordon, EVP of Advanced Advertising, Viacom. Cadent COO of addressable Jamie Power spoke on Freewheel’s agency POV on addressable panel alongside Finecast’s Rich Astley and Cadreon’s Sean Muzzy. Cadent Sales President Jim Tricarico spoke to Burger King CMO Fernando Machado about the power of risk-taking creative and television.

Here are a few takeaways we heard:

The value of addressable TV must be made clear. At our panel on Tuesday, Adam Gerber, President of Global Media, Essence, said most buyers are frustrated by the complexity of addressable TV, adding, “They are used to the turnkey simplicity of linear, and it’s not there. TV needs a transparent marketplace that values the underlying audience.” Additionally, Cadent COO of addressable Jamie Power spoke about jargon at Freewheel’s agency POV on addressable panel, saying, “If we don’t speak in English and we make it too complicated, then we won’t move the industry forward.”

Measurement challenges persist. As Laura Nelson, SVP, Advertising Solutions and Performance, Disney Ad Sales, said at our panel on the future of addressable TV, the TV industry has to come together to solve measurement challenges. “Every TV conversation devolves into measurement and that needs to change,” Laura said, adding, “For us to get the full value of our video inventory, we need to fix the measurement collective – publishers, agencies and tech platforms.”

Culture and diversity are prevailing topics once again. John Legend, Marc Pritchard and Katie Couric talked about racial and gender inclusion efforts, with Pritchard saying his hope is P&G’s spots like “We Believe” and “The Look” are intended to “change perspective, to promote introspection, to think about things.” On the topic of diverse hiring and focusing on the pipeline of talent, Verizon CMO Diego Scotti said, “You might hire all the diverse people that you want, but if they come to an environment where they’re not going to feel included, then it’s just a waste of time.”

Influencer marketing gets both a hot and cold reception. Chrissy Teigen’s appearance at Twitter Beach was one of the buzziest events of the week – the Twitter icon and author spoke about the power of social media and how she connects with a diverse spectrum of people through her Twitter presence. Others were not as receptive to influencer marketing in general with a campaign of street signs posted around the city saying ““STOP Encouraging Influencers” and Samsung’s global CMO saying she’s pessimistic about the form of marketing.

How Unexpected Events Impact On-Demand Viewing

There are many variables we’ve identified that have an impact — positive or negative — on the success of on-demand rentals. We can split these variables into two categories: events we know about and can plan for in advance, and ones that can’t be planned for but have an effect on performance.

More than 20 of the variables we found are plannable, including holidays like Christmas or events like the Oscars. The talent featured in a film also has a measurable effect on rental performance.

But many fall into the other category. Think snow days, for example: these surprise days off are a perfect opportunity to reach a household whose members didn’t plan on being home. Now, they have more time in the day, call them “on-demand viewing hours,” at their disposal. (On the other hand, of course, some weather events lead to outages which could prevent families from watching anything at all.)

Recently, we noticed this phenomenon in the Los Angeles market, which over-indexed consistently against other markets in January.

In 2018, LA had a 159 index for transactions against other top markets like Detroit, Denver, Philadelphia and New York. Looking at January 2019, their index increased 27% to 201. While not all revenue spikes can be planned for, they can be explained: this increase lined up with the Los Angeles United School District teachers’ strike. Schools were shut down from Jan. 14 to Jan 22, affecting around 600,000 students and their families. With their unexpected free hours, families turned to on-demand rentals.

When these unplanned events happen, it’s also important to look at the MVPDs who benefit. Each MVPD has a natural geographical alignment to certain genres, depending on the markets each is zoned for and the demographics of those markets.

For example: TWC organically performs best with family titles and the markets they are zoned for skew suburban. Altice organically performs best on drama titles, with their subscriber concentration mainly in the New York market. Cox does well with action movies and is mainly in military zones. When those areas have more viewable hours (whether planned or unplanned), the movies that organically do well will pop.

In LA, a top market for TWC, a wide range of PG-rated, family-oriented titles saw the biggest bump from the strike. “Goosebumps,” “Incredibles 2,” “Smallfoot” and “The House with a Clock In Its Walls” each saw transactional boosts during the week of the strike. And, once the strike ended, each of these titles resumed their expected weekly decay.

Not all films saw viewing increases during the unplanned strike. Horror movies like “Halloween,” which typically have an average performance in the LA market, saw a higher-than-average decline from week 1 (before the strike) to week 2 (during the strike).

Studios want to know why a movie performed a certain way at a certain time, but the variables that contribute to on-demand rentals are often unpredictable. At Cadent, we have the experience and historical data to dig in and understand what is contributing to increases and decreases in rental revenue. We can look at performance from different angles to find explanatory connections and correlations, then make strategic suggestions.

While things like the LA teachers’ strike may not have a next time, studios should be ready for similar unexpected moments when rich opportunities for on-demand titles hit. When they do, being able to move quickly and strategically is critical. For example, advertising a discounted bundle for movie rentals could make all the difference.

Learn more about Cadent in-home entertainment.

How Smart Strategy and Insights Ramp Up Movie Rentals

At one2one Entertainment, we serve multiple studios and more than 150 movies a year to various markets, so we have the scale to understand trends that studios would never be able to see on their own. Here’s some of what we’ve learned.

Previous behavior is the best predictor of future rentals.

We found that 92% of VOD rentals come from households who’ve already rented through their cable provider, regardless of that household’s affinity for a specific genre. It makes intuitive sense to target a horror movie to a household has indicated an affinity for that genre, but you’ll have much better luck targeting any movie to heavy renters since they’re the ones doing almost all renting. This finding surprised us, and it necessitates a huge mindshift on the part of studios.

Rentals need a completely different approach than theatrical releases.

We used to market movie rentals like we market theatrical releases–targeting people who watch movies on channels like TNT.  While these people do like watching movies, we found they’re not going to tune-away from a free movie to rent a movie On-Demand. Same goes for advertising rentals during major TV events. We have much more success advertising rentals in syndicated content. People are much more likely to tune away from a rerun of Friends to rent an On-Demand movie than they are to tune away from the season finale of their favorite show.

Free On-Demand is a valuable advertising tool for On-Demand rentals.

Existing renters are five times more likely to convert than those who’ve never rented, including those who rent free On-Demand content. People watching free On-Demand have overcome a major barrier to entry by indicating that they’re familiar with accessing the On-Demand portal. Ad spots on free On-Demand are usually fast-forward disabled, so we know people are much more likely to see them. In fact, we recently found that 79% of films advertised in free On-Demand had a positive effect on ROI.

These aren’t the kinds of insight studios can get on their own.

We’re able to track rental ROI for studios because of the scale we have. Operators won’t produce the data needed to fuel these campaigns unless it makes economic sense for them. The cost for a studio to do this kind of analysis with an MVPD for a single movie would be prohibitive. Since we work with most of the major studios, we’re able to pool movies from different studios to negotiate a price that works for all parties. Our relationships allow us to get data that shows which tactics contributed to rental conversions, and we’re able to share those insights back out with our valued clients.

Partnering with one2one Entertainment can give studios the insights and strategy they need to make the most of this substantial distribution channel.

For more on in-home advertising, get in touch.