Serious buzz about multichannel video advertising

Monday, April, 22 2013

Cable advertising: ready to go mobile?

By: Stewart Schley Monday, April, 22 2013

The future of local online advertising is mobile, mobile and more mobile, says local media researcher Borrell Associates . This past weekend Borrell tweeted its latest projection, saying ads targeting on-the-go mobile network users will make up 80% or more of local online ad spending by 2017 – up from just 13% today.

That’s obviously a huge run-up, and if it comes true, it means local cable advertising organizations have some work to do in finding ways to integrate more robust mobile ad offerings into their product mixes.

We took a look at how cable companies are playing in the mobile realm today, and found a scattering of mobile ad plays designed to get local advertisers to start thinking about the interplay of mobile messaging and TV advertising.

For now, the most common offering is a relatively straightforward invitation to add opt-in text messaging invitations and/or mobile sweepstakes offers to TV ads, as the Cox Media image above illustrates.

That’s an easy, inexpensive way for cable companies to bridge their mainstay advertising platforms with mobile audiences. But going forward, it’s going to take more robust product sets for cable to keep up with competitors. Borrell thinks local mobile-video advertising, couponing and local ad-supported apps are destined for big increases, although for now text messaging/SMS and local search remain the biggest vessels for local mobile advertising.

Here’s a roundup of what prominent U.S. cable companies are (or aren’t) doing today in the mobile ad realm:

Cablevision Advertising Sales : Focus is on TV-centric advanced advertising platforms including dedicated advertiser channels, “Telescoped” local ads and household addressable advertising. Mobile isn’t currently listed on Cablevision’s website as an ad platform option.

Charter Media : “ Mobile marketing ” solutions tied to spot advertising include Mobile Alerts  that deliver users text messages, Mobile Coupons designed to capitalize on instant coupon redemption; Text-To-Win sweepstakes and Trivia/Polling products. Language: “Timely and personal, mobile marketing targets relevant consumers and builds an exclusive database of customers for advertisers to remarket to again and again. Measurable results make this advertising solution a complement to any campaign.”

Comcast Spotlight : No “mobile” ad product line per se, but the overriding argument is for multi-screen advertising, which extends to on-the-go web browsing of sites featuring Comcast Spotlight advertisers. Language: “Comcast Spotlight’s multi-screen solutions include television and online advertising to integrate an advertiser’s message to potential customers in a more engaging and impactful way.”

Cox Media : Mobile Text Advertising service invites advertisers to place prompts within local TV spots encouraging viewers to text for special offers/coupons. Other possibilities include “text-to-win” sweepstakes and interactive voice mechanisms that connect viewers with agents and/or pre-recorded call messages. Language: “Timely and personal, mobile text advertising targets relevant consumers and builds an exclusive database of customers for advertisers to remarket to again and again.”

Suddenlink Media : Mobile Text Advertising applies prompts within TV spots that encourage opt-ins for text messages. Language: “With mobile text advertising, 30-second commercials prompt viewers to send a text message to receive a special offer. Once customers opt in, you can remarket to them over and over again, significantly extending your ROI.”

Time Warner Cable Media : Nothing publicly advertised yet in the mobile arena, although TWC Media does have an advanced effort under way to sell online advertising across a variety of third-party websites. As more web viewing occurs over mobile devices as part of a broader evolution, TWC Media has a sort of a natural extension into the mobile environment. (Here’s one recent study suggesting 23% of all web traffic now comes from a mobile device.)

For the most part, cable’s current mobile ad products are mainly value-add adjuncts to the main TV advertising stage. Adding a text-message prompt to the bottom of a TV spot doesn’t generate incremental revenue, although it gives cable the beginnings of a footprint in the mobile medium.

Broadcast TV stations, most of which offer mobile versions of their online news content, have a more obvious path to local mobile advertising, but things are still in early stages there. Hearst Television Inc., for example, derives only 15% of its digital ad revenue from mobile, despite big traffic increases, SVP Roger Keating said during last month’s Natl. Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. (See this TVNewsCheck recap .)



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