“As it turns out, ‘commercial-free’ is not exactly a dirty word in the world of advertising,” Jon Lafayette writes for TV Week. “Top members of the advertising community welcomed with open arms the news last week that The Walt Disney Co. and Apple will make hit ABC shows available for download commercial-free on iTunes.
“Perhaps it sounds counterintuitive-marketers endorsing a new business that bypasses the traditional delivery of their messages-but executives last week identified at least two reasons a move like this is good for their businesses,” Lafayette writes. “For one thing, podcasts could actually improve the performance of shows in prime time, where marketers do advertise-especially if the downloaded shows are of a serialized nature. Second, the value of product placements within podcast shows could blossom the same way executives expect placements in shows to increase in value when they are viewed on VOD.”
“What’s more, industry insiders see the Disney-Apple deal, which calls for the ABC hits ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ to be available without ads, as a possible precursor to or foundation for a model that does include ad support,” Lafayette writes. “Serialized shows, such as ‘Desperate Housewives,’ ‘Lost’ and Fox’s ’24’ and ‘Prison Break,’ have great potential for getting a boost from readily available airings on emerging viewing platforms because they enable viewers to catch up on plot lines, said Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer at Mediaedge:cia.”
“‘The more opportunity you give people to stay with it and stay engaged, the larger your overall audience is going to be, so I think it’s actually positive for the broadcast advertiser,’ he said… Indeed, a big question facing marketers is where advertising fits into a world in which users are willing to pay for better access to TV content. While the content is currently ad-free, most do expect an ad-supported model to emerge. ‘What I’m hoping will evolve, and I think it will, is the capability to target individual users like we can on the Internet,’ said Coleen Kuehn, executive VP of strategic development at Havas’ MPG. Basic ad implementation, she said, could look much like what’s currently offered for broadband video-15-second spots or one 30-second spot before the show,” Lafayette writes.
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