Digital Series Ad Models

At the recent NewFronts a number of digital networks announced that they would be producing and distributing original programming.? Most notably Hulu, is working on 2 new series with Eva Longoria.? One animated series called ?Mother Up? was discussed at the AdAge Digital Conference.? During the conference discussion Ms. Longoria also mentioned that she was producing another as yet unnamed series with Hulu.

Netflix can probably be credited with being the first non-TV network to bring the concept of digital-first distribution into the mainstream with ‘House of Cards’.? They also pioneered a new approach to releasing content by making all episodes for a single season available at the same time.? Netflix continues to expand its original content line up with the highly anticipated new episodes of Arrested Development and several other projects in the works.? Others working on original content distributed in a digital-first (or digital only) manner, include companies like Amazon, YouTube, and DirectTV to name a few.

To add to the excitement, at their recent Xbox One event Microsoft announced that they have made deals to produce a live-action Halo series with Steven Spielberg. Microsoft will also offer exclusive NFL content that lets you call friends through Skype while watching games and get live fantasy football updates as they happen.

With all this innovation around new programming, new ways of distributing and viewing content digitally, why is no one innovating in the ad space?? Why are we just recycling our traditional ads in the digital space?? We can do so much more.

Let?s take the basic video viewing experience.? On the TV it is full bleed edge-to-edge.? The same is true on digital platforms but they also allow for the ability to customize the ?skin? of the video player.? These skins offer an excellent opportunity for a branded viewing experience.? It is easily hidden/shown while viewing the main programming and can surface when interacting with content or moving between shows.? It also offers some unique opportunities to surface interactive brand moments that are not possible short of leaving a channel to interact with a VOD-like experience.

Inserting the standard broadcast ad load (or a digital load of other recycled spots) is another opportunity to innovate.? Digital ads, especially those delivered to devices like tablets, phones and gaming consoles like the Xbox, have the capability to detect motion (accelerometers, Kinect, etc) or respond to gesture based interactions.? Video players that can serve ads that require interaction could be extremely powerful to brands as a measure of engaging consumers ? and entertaining as well.? Let?s not forget about the unique targeting capabilities available to advertisers who target viewers of digital-first programming.? Targeting ads based on viewing history, location, and/or device allows brands to deliver relevant and timely information to viewers who are more likely to be receptive to their messages.

Forward thinking content creators and networks are already moving in this direction.? So how about it networks, producers, advertisers?? Ready to do some real innovation in a medium where viewers don?t already push the Fast Forward button by reflex as soon as a break in the programming happens?