‘Advertising Is Dead,’ And Other Thoughts From Faith Popcorn

Forecasting the future of marketing and predicting trends is always risky, but Faith Popcorn is pretty good at it. No less a source than The New York Times has called her “The Trend Oracle,” while Fortune named her “The Nostradamus of Marketing.” Popcorn is not only a futurist, but also an author and the founder and CEO of marketing consulting firm Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve.

What distinguishes her is her practice of “Applied Futurism,” which translates her cultural trend insights into actionable business strategies to help her clients reposition established brands and develop new and innovative business models, products, and services. She has advised national advertisers including American Express, Avon, Bayer, Campbell’s Soup, Citigroup, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, KFC, Mars, SC Johnson, Tylenol, and The United States Postal Service.

Popcorn, who is scheduled to speak at the annual Association of National Advertisers’ Brand Activation Conference in Chicago April 16-18, offers her views on upcoming trends and what to look for in the midterm elections in November.

Q. What is the single biggest emerging trend that you see impacting marketers in the near future?

A. Without a doubt, it’s the End of Old-School Masculinity and the Death of Gender. Not only are we at a moment where women and men are moving to a new relationship, we are at a time when men and women are no longer the only game in town; younger generations, millennials and Gen Z, in particular, are increasingly gender-fluid — 20% — and evolving toward one gender. How we market and message is about to be revolutionized.

Q.What kind of impact do you think the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and the overall gender-equality issue will have on marketers?

A. It’s having a huge impact. Think of the #grabthembythewallet movement that rocked many brands and businesses around the election; the consumer said, “I won’t patronize you if you support brands I don’t believe in.” Now, it’s coming closer to home. The consumer will say, “I won’t patronize you if you don’t elevate the causes I believe in.” Brands need to show that, internally, they are addressing sexual misconduct and gender inequality. They need to visibly support women.

Q. The midterm elections will be held in November of this year. What do you think will happen?

A. As a futurist, I hope people will vote and embrace their role in shaping tomorrow. And in light of this terrible year, may our lawmakers make gun control priority Number One. We all need compassion and healing and hope. I can’t stress this enough: In the marketplace and in the culture, values are the new value.

Q.How can marketers spot key trends and incorporate them in their overall marketing strategy?

A. Look for the signals of tomorrow — step out of your comfort zone, delve into pockets of the culture you usually avoid. We call it TrendTrekking. Then you connect the dots. Go to underground bars and clubs and offbeat cafes; see what people are eating and saying. Go sound-bathing. Try cryotherapy. And ask yourself, what need is this answering, and how can my business address that need?

read more here: mediapost.com

Amazon Prime Video By The Numbers

Prime Numbers

Reuters obtained audience numbers for Amazon’s Prime Video subscription service. According to the internals, by early 2017 Amazon Video had drawn more than 5 million people into the Prime loyalty program, and about 26 million people overall were watching content on the platform. Amazon now spends $5 billion per year on original content, as entertainment has proven a powerful on-boarding ramp to Prime membership and a virtuous cycle of consumer spending. Those video numbers also point to why Amazon keeps its most valuable content ad-free behind a subscription paywall, since it isn’t about recouping ad revenue for the studio investments. It’s about the lifetime value of a Prime subscriber compared to a mere logged-in Amazon shopper.

Fickle Friend

Facebook is offering to fund news publishers’ shows for its Watch video hub. But publishers, fed up with Facebook’s tendency to flip-flop on such offers, are proceeding with caution, WSJ reports. Facebook pulled a similar stunt with its Live section, spending $50 million to fund year-long projects for news pubs, and then failing to renew those deals the following season. Still, publishers are willing to take the risk if it means access to Facebook’s huge audience. “I think anytime Facebook is willing to pay, we’re more willing to play,” said a publishing exec. “The problem is that when these pilot programs expire, there is still no clear revenue channel. Then you’re stuck.” More. Related: The chairman of NBC News slammed Facebook, AdAge reports. “You can’t have a relationship with them.”

Asleep At The Wheel

Snapchat’s shares sank almost 5% Thursday after pop singer Rihanna called out the app for running a tasteless ad that asked users to decide whether they wanted to “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.” Snapchat removed the ad, which ran inside a mobile game on the platform, and chalked it up to an error by its review team, which is supposed to block any content that violates its policy banning“shocking, sensational or disrespectful” content. “We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process,” Snap said in a statement. “We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.”

read more here: www.bloomberg.com

YouTube TV rockets to top of vMVPD list in 2017

YouTube has been spending big to promote its vMVPD service. According to the latest data from TiVo, the service was used by 9% of consumers in Q4 2017. That would make it more than twice as big as its biggest rival.

YouTube TV ad blitz working

YouTube TV has been on an ad blitz for the last several months. The service was a very visible sponsor of Baseball’s World Series, spent big on other TV ad campaigns, and is doing more of the same this year. It is also advertising extensively to regular YouTube users. According to TiVo’s new Q4 2017 Video Trends Report data, the marketing spending is paying off.

TiVo added YouTube TV to the quarterly survey for the first time in Q4 2017. An amazing 9% say they use the service. The next nearest service, DirectTV Now, has less than half of YouTube TV’s total, and Sling TV has less than a third. We should perhaps treat the YouTube TV number cautiously. It is possible some survey respondents confused YouTube TV with YouTube on TV. That said, even if YouTube TV has just half the number of users as TiVo indicates, it is still the new category leader.

The TiVo numbers suggest the size of the vMVPD market could be much larger than the 4.5 million estimated. Dish Network reports that Sling TV has 2.2 million subscribers. YouTube TV could already have more than 4 million subscribers, and it could also mean the total number of vMVPD subscribers is almost double the previous estimates.

SVOD continues its inexorable advance

TiVo’s data says that SVOD continues to grow in all dimensions. 68% say they use an SVOD service, up more than 4% over the previous year. Netflix continues to dominate, with 55% saying they use the service. 26% use Amazon Prime Video, 17% use Hulu, and 6% use HBO NOW.

Spending on SVOD services increased strongly. The number of people spending more than $15 a month increased from 27% in Q4 2016 to 35% one year later. However, it could be vMVPDs that are driving this number, rather than people subscribing to multiple SVOD services. Only one vMVPD, Sling TV, has a tier below $21 a month. The rest charge $35 or more per month. The increase in the number of people spending over $21 a month was 9%, with 7% paying over $30.

Time spent with the services also increased. 93% of people that subscribe to SVOD services say they use the service every day, 3% higher than two years ago. As well, the number of people that say they use their service for less than 1 hour a month decreased 10%, to 12%. Meanwhile, those using their service for 2 hours a day or more increased dramatically. A third say they watch their SVOD services for more than 3 hours a day, and almost a half watch from 1 to 3 hours per day.

TVOD continues its slow drift downwards

Transactional VOD continues to struggle in the digital era. The number of people saying they had rented or purchased a movie or show online declined slightly over the last year, to 37%. Amazon maintained and slightly extended its lead, with 18% saying they used Amazon’s video store in Q4 2017. Redbox kiosk users fell slightly to 13%. Apple also lost a little ground to Amazon, with only 8% of saying they used iTunes in Q4. Google Play looks as though it may overhaul iTunes this year. It gained slightly more users and is only a little behind iTunes.

read more here: www.nscreenmedia.com

Netflix’s real advantage is that it’s a tech company first

Netflix hasn’t been coy about its plans to take over Hollywood. The company has already said it could spend up to $8 billion on content this year alone. But, for all the awards House of Cards and Icarus rack up, one of the reasons Netflix has tasted success so rapidly is its streaming technology. That’s an area it has been perfecting in-house since 2010, when it became more than a simple mail-order DVD rental shop.

For Netflix, the tech is just as important as the storytelling. Regardless of how many shows or movies Netflix produces, it needs to ensure that its 118 million subscribers can watch them without issue — no matter where they are in the world, which smartphone they own or how fast their internet is. Netflix even recently re-encoded its entire catalog (said to be around 6,000 titles) to produce the best possible picture using the smallest amount of bandwidth, which was made possible by an AI technology it developed called Dynamic Optimizer.

During a tour of its Hollywood and Los Gatos headquarters, Netflix said that a typical episode of a show like Jessica Jones, which is roughly an hour long and is captured in 6K resolution, weighs in at 293GB of raw, unedited footage. That amounts to about 750 Mbps of data, which would basically kill your internet plan if you streamed it before it was compressed. The company says it used to be able to deliver content with “an enjoyable quality” at 750 Kbps, but last year it started using a new encoding framework that shrunk that to a mere 270 Kbps. In the real world, that means that if you have a 4GB data plan, you can watch 26 hours of Netflix per month, up from just 10 hours before. These improvements are especially important for developing regions where Netflix is trying to grow its business — particularly in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.

Of course, Netflix isn’t the only one trying to develop the best streaming tech possible. BAMTech, the startup created by Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media and now owned by Disney, takes credit for being the first to stream in 60fps and in 4K. And its technology has such a solid reputation that it powers many of the most popular streaming services, including HBO Go, WWE Network and MLB.tv. Disney will join that list when it launches its own offering in 2019, which is setting up to be a major challenger to Netflix, with cheaper monthly fees, a library full of popular titles and BAMTech’s engine under the hood.

The quality of streams counts for only so much, however, and Netflix is well aware of this. As such, the company says its other main focus is to provide the filmmakers it works with the necessary tools “to create content at a high level, then distribute that around the world.” Netflix says that most of its original shows and movies are being shot in 6K — though it’s only delivering that picture in 4K right now. Still, not only does this allow it to be ahead of the curve (others, like HBO, stream only in 1080p), but it gives Netflix the ability to future-proof its content.

Netflix has also been a big proponent of high dynamic range, which delivers richer colors and deeper blacks. The company now has more than 300 hours of HDR programming, but it says the challenge is to not make content only look good on high-end TVs. Everything Netflix makes and streams needs to be just as perfect whether you’re watching on an iPhone X, a Galaxy S9 or an older, entry-level smartphone.

read more here: www.engadget.com

Study: 34% of Gen Zers are Leaving Social Media

Thirty-four percent of Gen Zers, or people born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, say they’re permanently leaving social media, and 64% say they’re taking a break from the platforms, according to new research from Hill Holliday’s in-house research group Origin cited in Campaign.

The research also shows Gen Z’s paradoxical view of social media: 41% say the platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed, but 77% say the platforms offer more benefits than drawbacks. Twenty-two percent say social media makes them feel like they’re missing out, but 71% say the platforms have a positive effect on their relationships. Social media negatively impacts self-esteem, 29% of Gen Zers said, but 61% say it boosts their ego. Seventy-two percent said people their age spend too much time on social media, while 66% say the platforms help them make connections with people.

Some of the main reasons Gen Z members gave for considering leaving social media include the propensity for wasting too much time on the platforms (41%); too much negative content (35%); the fact that they do not use it very often (31%); a lack of interest in the content (26%); privacy concerns (22%); too much pressure to get attention (18%); too much commercialization (18%) and that social media makes them feel badly about themselves (17%).

Gen Zers are widely considered to be more social media-savvy than any other generation, but as the new Origin research highlights, their feelings about social media can seem somewhat contradictory, which suggests that the sluggish interest levels from younger consumers that Facebook has already been experiencing could start spreading to other platforms. To best reach Gen Z, which has a purchasing power of $44 billion, marketers need to refocus their strategies on using social media for good to help Gen Z foster their own identities. Marketers should also invest in using social media to tell compelling brand stories and spread highly personalized, relevant messages.

Mental health and well-being are important to Gen Zers, which is why many report taking breaks or swearing off social media altogether. Members of Gen Z also tend to be distrusting of institutions and expect a lot from brands, rewarding those with strong values and that support the causes they care about. Gen Z has a strong sense of purpose, and 69% think that brands should help them achieve their goals and 30% said they have felt excluded by brands because of their identity, per PSFK research. Brands that position their social media content as educational or collaborative and unobtrusive stand the best chance of engaging Gen Z on social media.

read more here: marketingdive.com

Analyst: US pay-TV revenues to fall by $27bn

US pay-TV revenues peaked in 2015, at $101.71 billion (€82.51bn), according to the eighth edition of the North America Pay TV Forecasts report from Digital TV Research. A $26.58 billion decline (26 per cent) is forecast between 2015 and 2023 to take the total down to $75.13 billion.

Cable TV revenues peaked in 2010 at $54.11 billion, but they will fall to $36.75 billion by 2023. Cable will lose nearly 12 million subscribers between 2010 and 2023 (although most of the heaviest losses have already taken place).

“Cable TV is not the only platform to suffer,” noted Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research. “Satellite TV and IPTV are also losing subscribers and revenues. Much of this is due to the operators shifting their subscribers to online platforms. However, growth from vMVPDs is not expected to make up completely for the subscriber and revenue shortfalls from traditional pay-TV.”

IPTV’s fall is mainly as a result of AT&T encouraging its U-Verse subscribers to convert to DirecTV, its other pay-TV asset. This is the reverse of what has happened in most other countries. IPTV revenues spiked in 2015 at $9.60 billion, and they will halve to $4.77 billion in 2023. The number of IPTV subs topped 12 million in 2014, but it will decline to 6.26 million in 2023.

Satellite TV revenues will fall from $39.78 billion in 2017 to $33.61 billion in 2023 – or down by 16 per cent. Satellite TV subscriptions will drop by 4.08 million between end-2017 and 2023; having fallen by nearly 3 million in 2017 alone. DISH is pushing its vMVPD platform Sling TV hard, with DirecTV Now also making an impact.

The number of US traditional pay-TV subscribers will fall from a zenith of 100.34 million in 2012 to 90.35 million by end-2017 and down to 80.33 million in 2023. Pay-TV penetration will fall from 87.6 per cent of TV households in apex year 2013 to 66.7 per cent in 2023.

Although Canada is losing pay-TV subscribers, its problems are not as severe as its Southern neighbour. Pay-TV penetration reached a high point in 2013 at 85.1 per cent. The level will fall to 74.8 per cent by 2023. However, the number of pay-TV subscribers will be 11.17 million by 2023 – about the same as 2017. Pay-TV revenues will fall from a peak of $6.82 billion in 2015 to $6.01 billion by 2023.

Gen Z discovering music on YouTube, but not listening

Sweety High, a digital media company for Gen Z girls, has released its first Gen Z Music Consumption & Spending Report, which reveals research around the preferences of the powerhouse cohort. According to the report, while YouTube ranks as the top platform for music discovery (75 per cent), more than half of respondents also cite Radio (58 per cent) and Movies and TV Shows they watch (57 per cent) as top sources for exploring new artists.

Additionally, while they may have grown up in an age of reality TV, Gen Z shies away from talent featured on competition shows: they appreciate contestants’ talent but are unlikely to listen to their music after the show ends (78 per cent).

While streaming platforms, like Spotify, ranked second for music discovery (70 per cent), the service is Gen Z’s top choice for frequent listening (61 per cent). YouTube drops to 6th when it comes to general listening (30 per cent), with more Gen Z respondents preferring to listen to music they own, via CDs (38 per cent) or iTunes (36 per cent). When it comes to overall consumption, streaming services have clearly become the new normal, with 66 percent of Gen Z saying they use both for discovery AND listening, vs. Radio (55 per cent) or YouTube (25 per cent).

“Music plays a pivotal role in Gen Z’s lives. They have more options than ever to find undiscovered music, and Gen Z embrace that diversity in their music genres (nearly all, 97 per cent say they listen to 5 different genres regularly) and platforms, blending a mix of new and traditional media options for music discovery and consumption,” said Frank Simonetti, CEO, Sweety High.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

– The majority of this demographic take pride in their variety of music taste (78 per cent) — preferring to listen to a wide range of artists and genres rather than just one style.
– So, what is Gen Z listening to? Pop takes the cake, with more than 3 in 4 respondents claiming it as their top choice in music, followed by Rock (51 per cent) and Rap (50 per cent).
– While only 1 in 5 fans is wooed by a band or artist’s social media presence, 2 out of 3 respondents say they follow artists they like on social and over 80 per cent agree that it’s important for artists to be active on social.
– Love of the music is their top motivation for liking an artist or band (94 per cent), while a shared preference among their friends runs a distant second (36 per cent).
– As to where they find artists and new music, YouTube ranks as the top platform for discovery (75 per cent), followed by streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora (70 per cent), and social networks like Instagram and Facebook (62 per cent).
– Beyond the digital medium, more than half cite Terrestrial Radio (58 per cent) and Movies/TV Shows (57 per cent) as major sources of music discovery.

read more here: advanced-television.com

TV Can No Longer Avoid The Viewability Challenge

by Dan Schiffman

The echoing three-count drumbeat of transparency, fraud and viewability has amplified the din of the digital marketing cacophony. The challenges these issues present have proven so strong that some agency holding companies are voluntarily superseding industry minimums by setting higher thresholds for quality delivery than what the standards bodies recommend. Blame it on a hungry set of publishers, ad tech vendors, and anxious marketers, but the high level of noise is finally getting quieted by folks like Marc Pritchard at P&G who are leading the charge to make the digital landscape accountable for media placement.

TV has fallen to the number two slot in media spend — having made it over 75 years without having to own up to who actually saw an ad displayed on their television set. The famous John Wanamaker quote – “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half” – was born for the print world and easily translated to TV. While the digital ecosystem can very accurately understand who specifically saw an ad and for how long, the more mainstream impression-based media placements got a hall pass from having to tie an impression to a consumer, and a consumer to a sale.

Eyeballs, Meet Impressions

That time is changing though. If digital has suffered the recent wrath of detailed measurement, that approach is starting to make TV look woefully unprepared for modern marketing management. The multi-front war – for attribution, targeting, and personalisation – weighs against the current TV ad measurement approach. Layer in OTT, addressable TV, and connected TV data, and the issue shifts from offence to defense for advertisers interested in measuring which messages resonate.

There are two dynamics at play here. The first is the knowledge of whether the TV was being watched when it was “on.” For any of you with kids, dogs, and multiple TV sets, there are many times that the TV is on but no one is watching (never mind the many times that the TV screen is off but the set top box does not know that). The second is, assuming their is a beating heart in the room, who that person is and are they using the TV for background noise.

The way it works today, viewability on TV is measured by completion. If the program or ad shows in total based on set-top box or Smart TV data, the assumption is that it was seen in its entirety. But think about the number of screens in your house, and which one you or your family are looking at when the commercials come on. If you are actively watching TV, chances are good that you are also actively changing the channel. If you are not paying attention, those ads are probably playing out entirely. So the correlation between 100 percent airplay and 100 percent viewability is not what it seems, and may actually be the reverse.

The important part of the above chart is the delta between standard GRPs and those weighted by attention. This measurement of viewability is powerful in that it answers the question of not just who tuned in, but who is actually watching the show. For broadcasters and pay TV operators, this could translate into better ad prices. For advertisers, it’s a better media plan and likely better link to brand and sales lift.

Ratings Still Matter

Let’s be clear. Ratings are a critical measure of interest, audience reach, and value of the spot placement. But as Dave Morgan of Simulmedia has consistently pointed out, ratings and audience sizes are decreasing as the volume of content is fragmented across broadcast, cable and over-the- top viewing channels. So a show with a lower rating and a high attention score may actually drive more impact than a highly rated show that is on in the background. The two measures need to work together to prove the viewable impact of a TV ad.

read more here: videoadnews.com

Free trials work! 60% convert to paying customers

It can be a struggle to find and retain subscribers for smaller SVOD services. New data from Vimeo shows that a free trial is a critical tool in converting subscribers and apps help cement the relationship.

Vimeo has been helping content rights holders launch online video services for more than a decade. It has plumbed data from 3.6 million worldwide online subscribers to bring some insights into how to build a successful video service. Two of the five data points in the just-released The 2018 OTT Revolution report struck me as particularly useful to any online video service provider looking to boost subscribers and increase customer lifetime value.

Free trials work

Online video service providers (OVSPs) could be forgiven for hesitating to provide a free trial. There are risks that many people will signup, binge the content they want, and then bolt without paying a dime. New data from Vimeo shows it is worth taking the risk. Vimeo data shows that any online video service provider (OVSP) would foolish not to allow free trials of the service. The company found that 60% of people that sign up for a free trial from any platform end up becoming a paying customer.

The company saw the highest conversion rates through iOS devices, 69.6%, and Roku devices, 69.4%. 68.4% of those signing up through a web interface converted to paying customers. Android TV and Android conversions were slightly lower, 64.7% and 62.7%, but only slightly.

The challenge is to get people to sign up for a free trial. Vimeo says an OVSP can increase its chances of that happening by one-third if it can get them to use the service app rather than the web interface. Since downloading an app implies a bigger commitment than browsing the website, it makes sense that free signups would be higher. The trick, however, is to get people to download the app in the first place.

Apps a critical part of the ecosystem

Vimeo says that it examined subscriptions to hundreds of online video services it powers. It found that more than 73,000 people subscribed through a web browser in 2017. Of those, over three-quarters also watched through an app. 32% watched through an app on their iPhone, 20% on an Android device, 2.4% through a Roku, and 3.3% through an iPad. This data strongly supports the idea that when consumers signup for a service they expect to have access to it through all the screens they use.

read more here: www.nscreenmedia.com

UK TV advertising slips back year-on-year

Even though it did not quite hit the highs set two years ago, nor indeed 12 months earlier, the UK’s advertising market generated £5.11 billion in revenue in 2017, according to survey data from Thinkbox.

The association of UK commercial broadcasters said the figures represent all money invested by advertisers in commercial TV across all formats and on any screen: linear spot and sponsorship, product placement, broadcaster VOD, addressable and interactive.

The data showed that the annual decrease compared with 2016 came after seven consecutive years of growth in the UK, caused mainly by ongoing economic and political uncertainty, with a weakened pound and inflationary pressure leading some advertisers to reduce TV investment, notably FMCG advertisers. Yet according to data from Nielsen, FMCG spend on TV advertising in Q4 2017 grew by 8% compared with the same period in 2016. And figures from the UK broadcasters suggest that Q4 2017 saw an approximate 2% overall increase in TV spend year-on-year. The Advertising Association/WARC predicts that TV advertising in the UK will return to annual growth again in 2018, forecasting a 1.5% increase in total investment.

Thinkbox also found that, according to Nielsen data the top five TV spending categories in 2017 were: online businesses: £682 million (0.3% down year-on-year); food, which generated £559 million (-11.4%); cosmetics and personal care with £431 million (-2.4%); entertainment and leisure generating £385 million (+1.6%); and finance, capturing £324 million (-3.1%).

Commenting on the results, Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, said: “Post-recession, TV advertising in the UK had seven consecutive years of growth. But TV hyper-reacts to the economy, good or bad, and recent uncertainty saw growth stall in 2017. That growth is now returning. The pendulum is swinging back to TV. We have more proof than ever that TV advertising drives business growth and outperforms all other forms of advertising. TV is a proven, trusted, high quality environment for brands. And TV’s strengths and unique assets have been thrown into even sharper relief recently following the much-publicised scandals and loss of trust in some areas of online advertising. Advertisers are re-assessing where they advertise and TV is well placed to capitalise.”