Frame Rate 118

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Frame Rate
Episode 118

Frame Rate 118:

Intro Video

The Big Story

Another Big Story

Yet Another Big Story

Slip Stream

Tube Tops

Film Falm

Premiering This Week

Movie Draft

What We're Watching


Hey Brian and Tom, I have recently moved and had to change my cable company. In, typical cable bundle fashion, I now receive the premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Etc) free for the next 6 months. I decided to use this opportunity to catch up on “Game of Thrones”, and I have not been disappointed.

I have become accustom to watching “Game of Thrones” at my own pace, and with the new season starting, I realize I am now going to start doing appointment television like old media wants me to do, and I really want to rebel against that standard.

So my query to you is, should I wait for the season to be finished and watch the show “When I want, how I want and where I want to watch it”? Or, should I watch the story as old media wants me to?

Thank you for your time and consideration.


P.S. Yes, yes. I know!! George R.R. Martin fans have been waiting for the next book in his “Song of Ice and Fire” series for YEARS and it isn’t a lot to ask me to wait a week for the next TV episode… Still I want to live a (semi-)cord cutters dream."

Apologies for the lengthy email, but I found myself screaming in public as I was listening to this week’s show while walking down the streets of New York. I wanted to chime in on your discussion regarding the Nielsen family, social engagements, and advertising.

I have to agree with Tom’s statement that the first and most basic item advertisers look for is the number of impressions (eyeballs, households, people, etc.). Also, it’s crucial to separate the content (show) from the advertising, whether it’s embedded (via product placement) or surrounding it via ad spots (commercials). A show can get a lot of tweets (or social engagements), but it does not necessarily carry over to the advertised products around the show. Also, we’re only talking about so many products and brands that have the ability to elicit audience engagement. It may be easy to get people to tweet about the newest iPhone commercial or the latest trailer for Star Trek, but Procter & Gamble and Pfizer are most likely not going to use social engagements as the main metric for success in their ad campaigns, at least when it comes to TV advertising.

I want to backtrack to some basic concepts of advertising. Very generally speaking, we can break advertising into two types: branding and direct response. The latter, direct response, focuses on a specific target action to occur based on the advertisement. Especially with the advent of digital media, TV (a normally passive activity) is normally avoided for DR campaigns. Online works well as there are several ways to track users down a certain funnel or process flow. To Brian’s point about targeting users, such a thing does exist already and is often used by DR advertisers, but I’ll get back to this later.

Branding focuses on general awareness. While there may be a larger overarching goal of getting people to buy more Pepsi or opt for Kleenex over Puffs, advertisers are usually just looking to get as many people to see their messaging or ad spot as possible. For the super big brands, their target audience is so wide and broad, they look to partner with the biggest shows on TV. Occasionally, when circumstances are right, they’ll look into a bigger, more integrated partnership in an attempt to align with a show (based on theme, popularity, etc.); but this is rare, not the norm. Back to Tom’s point though, advertisers want to ensure that for every dollar they spend, the ad is hitting as many people as possible – that’s why they look to Nielsen to provide research on where people are. Social engagement in a branding campaign is a nice to have and can possibly reflect sentiment, opinions, etc. and other useful information but it isn’t the main currency to which the campaign is judged. At the end of the day, the main action for television is viewing, not tweeting; hence, the basic measurement metric will always be views, first.

Now going back to reaching targeted audiences, that’s long been in existence. Even before the Internet, companies offered to “scrub” mailing lists so that advertisers could mail ads to the people they were trying to reach. Today, hundreds of companies provide all sorts of data and targeting capabilities based on data, online habits, opt-in registration, etc. – it’s one of the main issues people take with companies like Facebook and Google. I can setup an ad campaign today to target dog-owning professional technology enthusiasts living in the Los Angeles metropolitan area (I can target down to the zip code!) who frequently take flights up to the San Francisco Bay Area. I can also ask several companies to target podcasting magicians living in Texas who may have been looking up baby products in the last 30-90 days. Advertisers can target people by behaviours, location, social engagements, websites visited… even that registration form you might have filed out at a county fair five years ago that got uploaded into a database, to which your info was then collected by a data company. What can be scary to some is that targeting has come down to such a science that you occasionally get reports of people getting ads based on information they’ve never sent out (medical conditions, sexual orientation, pregnancy, etc.). Did you know a lot of companies offer look-alike behavioural targeting, which will extrapolate potential targets based on similar habits and data of verified targets?

So going all the way back to the initial topic about TV and online video, if targeting exists, why do people still advertise in very broad areas, like TV shows? Again, it comes down to various goals of the advertiser. They may be looking for general branding, awareness, market alignment, etc. Also, TV at this point only has a fraction of all the advertisements out there. Truth is, several companies have looked more to digital platforms for their ad campaigns. Brian, you started to speculate about a future where advertisers are focusing on viewers and not the show – that’s already been the case. That’s exactly the issue with YouTube I was talking about a few weeks back. Google doesn’t sell YouTube videos by the show, they sell it by the audience, by the target, by the data it collects. Same goes for Hulu – they technically won’t let advertisers cherry pick shows; you’ll have to buy genres or audiences. It helps the shows that normally wouldn’t sell on their own to make money, but it also strips content producers of any direct recognition for their content. Oh, and Hulu charges extra if I’m adding extra targeting factors (Hulu Plus, viewing device, etc.).

Anyways, I was able to clarify a few things and not confuse everyone even more. Always a pleasure listening to you guys!



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