Spotify Tries Video; Rethinking Video After The Olympics

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Video Push

Spotify wants to be more than an audio platform. The company pushed into video in May with 12 original series around music, and plans to spend big to expand in categories like animation and comedy, reports Sahil Patel at Digiday. But it’s tough to add video to a service that didn’t start with it. When Spotify tested video snippets from Comedy Central, ESPN and Vice, view rates were so low they called off the deals. Spotify is one of a number of big companies (including Apple Music and Verizon Go90) semi-awkwardly trying to bust into the lucrative digital video market. “Will every one of these services be around in five years? No,” said one Spotify content partner. “But it’s something they all have to try.” More.

It’s All TV

What’s the difference between a broadcast ad and a streaming ad? That’s the question asked by Sapna Maheshwari, new ad industry reporter for The New York Times, at the wrap of the 2016 Olympics. “We’re trying to look at it as video, and not think about whether it comes through cable or internet or a linear broadcast,” said Ryan Eckel, marketing VP for Dick’s Sporting Goods (a first-time Olympic advertiser). A view is a view, especially because people watching an OTT app or linear broadcast are still home on their couch (as opposed to mobile viewers catching snippets while waiting for a crosswalk). But marketers and broadcasters want to understand some intangible differences. For instance, live-streaming Olympic viewers saw a limited selection of ads over and over, while broadcast had a broader brand roster. Did the brands that inundated OTT app viewers see their messages reinforced more effectively? Are the younger streaming viewers worth more or less to brands? Read on.


Targeted digital advertising still suffers from a lack of creative and production support. Product retargeting can be a killer solution on the first or second try, but it quickly fades into an outright nuisance. “Brands using more targeted media need multiple ads and creative approaches to avoid wear-out or advance a storyline,” writes Jack Neff at Ad Age. The solution is to broaden the circles of targeting and to prepare advertising content as a series instead of hitting consumers with the same post/product/idea over and over like water-drop torture. More at Ad Age.

Ad Tech In 2020

In the final installment in his series of predictions for ad tech in 2020, GroupM’s Timothy Whitfield places bets on the importance of social data, the digitization of billboards and cross-device measurement accuracy. The vendor struggle to outperform giants like Google and Adobe will only get tougher as deterministic data and personalization become essential to reach consumers. Whitfield foresees more vendors integrating with ad servers and DSPs to target buys. And when it comes to programmatic TV, “everybody seems to be looking at everybody else trying to figure it out.” Read it.

Buying Time

The lure of infusing social media with ecommerce has drawn a lot of interest, but is still mostly myth. Facebook has the social scale, but its digital storefronts, buy buttons and peer gifting haven’t stuck. Pinterest hosts lots of shopper intent, but has limited scale and actual on-platform commerce. Amazon (which is probably the best suited for the task) dropped about $1 billion on Twitch, a social platform for video game live-streaming, and is opening its wallet for media to keep viewers on Amazon Prime, but those properties remain disconnected from the central marketplace. Bloomberg reports on Alibaba and WeChat, Chinese social and ecommerce giants, which are beating their American rivals to the punch. More.

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