It’s time for video to step out on its own

According to folklore Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” Although it’s never been confirmed if Ford actually spoke these words out loud, this quote is often used by business leaders in speeches about creativity and innovation – Steve Jobs most famously.

Well I’m starting to worry that the video industry is guilty of trying to “breed faster horses”, by chasing proof that video offers incremental reach versus broadcast television.

I was talking to an industry peer recently when the conversation turned to incremental reach studies, and how, a few years ago, they were a popular sales tool as video campaigns looked to pinch some TV spend.  More often than not, advertisers took TV copy and re-purposed it for video, forcing agencies down this path. But to still be pushing incremental reach as a genuine reason for layering video spend on top of TV, tells me that the industry is failing to acknowledge the opportunities that video campaigns can offer brands.

A recent Tremor Video and IAB study illustrated minimal incremental reach in the UK, and even in the US, where cord-cutting is growing and the Video channel options are significant, there has never been an incremental reach study that garnered higher than 4%. So can we please put incremental reach to bed now?!

Personally I believe it’s time that the Video on Demand industry started to focus on its own abilities above and beyond other media channels. For starters brands can get creative with video advertising and engage with their audience using interactive formats. Digital video can also be frequency capped via IP ensuring consumers are not served the same advert time and time again – as multiple screens become commonplace this feature will be ever more valuable. Multiple creatives can be delivered via IP as well, so brands can tell a story using different ad copy for example. You can even deliver digital video via a postcode if you wanted to. And all these benefits come with a backend function which has a detailed suite of reporting and analytic functions – not something that can be matched by all media.

While we can’t ignore reach, frequency and linear TV metrics as they dominate the planning schedule, other mediums such as radio have always worked well alongside TV – so why can’t video? I think it’s time we start building in the video opportunities on top of the standard audience demographic and help video to re-define some of its capabilities versus other mediums.

  • Alasdair reid

    Henry Ford almost certainly didn’t spout nonsense about horses. Cars had been around for decades when he was trying to get his business off the ground — and his target market was people who used motorised public transport of some sort. That Steve Jobs could believe he said it (and I’ll take your word for that), on the other hand, tells you rather a lot about Steve Jobs.

    As for broadcast television, I thought Schmidt (and Jobs for that matter) had proved that it died at least ten years ago.