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The Long Tail of (Web) TV

As the major TV networks are struggling to sell advertising inventory this season (Reuters), other “networks” are showing vitality. And, although the story seems similar, this time it’s not the cable TV networks – it’s the web TV networks. Sites like youtube, hulu, and others are garnering larger and larger audiences every day.

One site, BlipTV, has particularly been in the news lately. They provide a platform for independent show creators to air their series, whereby the BlipTV people sell advertising time and create distribution channels, splitting the revenues with the show creators. Within the last couple of weeks they have signed or expanded deals with YouTube, Verizon FIOS, Tivo, and others to distribute their shows. So now, even while channel surfing using TV remotes, people can watch their favorite BlipTV shows just like they would other network or cable shows.

This is the beginning of a new revolution in TV – both for content production and for advertisers. Just like the introduction of tens or hundreds of cable channels changed how and what people watch, and just like the introduction of technologies such as DVRs did the same, the introduction of tens of thousands of new web-based networks along with new associated technologies are going to have a growing impact on people’s watching patterns. This in turn will have an associated effect on advertising. How big is this nascent industry? Right now BlipTV garners 70,000,000 views per month, and it’s only getting bigger.

Venues such as this give marketers the opportunity to target tight demographic groups. Moreover, large and small advertisers alike now have opportunities targeting very specific audiences. This includes pre- and post-roll ads as well as product placement and original content creation. Agencies such as Domus, Inc. should be well aware of the possibilities that are now available for their clients.

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