Posts tagged: VOD

2015 – The year of video content

It’s that time of the year where the “Winners of 2014” are announced.

We’ve seen the worst adverts (sorry Iceland, but even Peter Andre was embarrassed of the ad he starred in!), the best media agencies and the most viral adverts. Now the ten most watched ads of 2014 have been announced and who better to announce this than You Tube themselves. 

Unsurprisingly, Christmas ads rose to the top of the most-watched list with Sainsbury’s pipping John Lewis to the winning position. The advert came with some controversy and divided viewers who didn’t support its use of the First World War centenary to promote retail purchases, however regardless of good or bad publicity, it gathered an impressive 16.6million views in a very short space of time. 

Let’s have a look at the top 10: 

1. Sainsburys Official Christmas Ad 2014
2. John Lewis Christmas Ad #MontyThePenguin 2014
3. Nike Football: Winner Stays ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Zlatan, Iniesta & more
4. Nike Football: The Last Game ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Zlatan, Iniesta & more
5. Always #LikeAGirl
6. Three #SingItKitty
7. Marks & Spencer Christmas Advert 2014 #FollowTheFairiesz
8. Most Shocking Second a Day Video (Save The Children)
9. Sapeurs: New Guinness Advert
10. Human Loop the Loop with Damien Walters: Pepsi Max. Unbelievable #LiveForNow

Director of consumer marketing at Google commented that “The most popular ideas are those where brands are thinking like publishers, not advertisers” which is exactly where content needs to be in 2015. It needs to be sharable, interesting, fun or different. In an ‘always on’ world, thanks to the rapid advancement and adoption of  tablets and smartphones and the expansion of free WiFi hotspots and improving 3g, we face constant gratification and quick fixes… basically, we have the online attention span of a gnat. Therefore, advertisers must provide content that doesn’t feel directly like advertising; content that makes us learn something; wows us; stuns us; puts something into a shocking perspective or makes us excited to be watching it.

The majority of the ads in the top 10 list were longer than your average 30” or 60” advert. This “mini movie” strategy helps to create a PR storm and spread word-of-mouth, with a little help from social media sharing, ensuring that the adverts are sought out regardless of whether they have been seen on TV or not. This is the beauty of You Tube; it’s a fantastic platform that allows brands to advertise in a way that they are unable to do to (without such a premium) via Live TV. 

Content is king
And what does this mean for 2015? Brands must work hard to provide fantastic content for consumers as a Thank-You for being a consumer, and for dedicating your precious time to watching my content. Whether that’s in the form of a long-form advert with a big TV advertising launch, or short-form content in the form of videos on their YouTube platform where consumers can re-watch and share their favourite content. Brands must recognise what it is that consumers want to watch. Let’s bear in mind that Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off video was seen over 400,000 million times in 2014 whereas the top ten most watched ads listed above were seen collectively over 330,000 million times. Taylor’s onto something…

Source: Mediatel

Emily ChapmanWritten by Emily Chapman from Total Media
Emily has worked on the Broadcast Team for 4 years and has recently become a bit obsessed with her Sky box-set catch up service. Her favourite programme is Homeland and she has just finished catching up on True Detective which was the best thing she’s ever watched!

Needless to say if you don’t wish to watch any coverage of the Olympics and are hell bent on avoiding the ahem… “massive waste of tax payers’ money”…. then  you will also need to avoid picking up any newspapers as they will have the Olympics story dominating both sides seeing as it’s not often that press has an advantage over TV and online these days.

TV is no longer that box in your living room

There’s no doubt that the TV landscape is changing, and there’s certainly no denying that we are all rapidly moving online.

More recently, TV viewing on a TV set has adopted the term ‘traditional TV viewing’ and many have been led to believe that TV is facing the graveyard shift.

One area that has seen a hit is the kids market. In the first half of 2014, the kids market saw an impact decrease of 4% YOY. Taking the biggest hit was Turner, owner of Cartoon Network and Boomerang, seeing a substantial 18% decline. Disney seems to have faired best, with an 80% rise in viewing, although they still saw an 11% decline towards the back end of the first half. But why is this? It is fair to say that kids TV as a whole has struggled in reaching older girls and boys, generally from the ages of 10 to 13, due to changes in interests – as is often said these days, kids are growing up too fast. But what are all these kids doing with their time if they aren’t watching TV on a TV set?

Tablets take on TV’s

The growth of tablets may just hold the answer. Just five years into their existence, tablets have seen substantial growth, with over 40% of the UK owning a tablet. A recent study by TV Licensing found that 26% of 12-15 year olds and a shocking 13% of 5-7 year olds now own a tablet. The same study found that kids are leading the way with watching TV in many different forms; virtually all 5-15 year olds watch TV in the ‘traditional’ way, but just under half in 2013 also used another device, such as a tablet, to view TV content.

TV on tablet

To put this into context, Channel 5’s on demand service, Demand 5, consistently sees Peppa Pig come in as their top programme month-on-month, with Milkshake the most popular content for the whole site. BARB recently found that 16-24s are currently the only age group spending a daily average of 1+ hour on online TV. In comparison, only 7% of 55-64s spent time watching TV in online forms.

More TV from more sources

What this is showing is that although ‘traditional TV’ may on the whole be drawing in fewer viewers, although still 2.5 hours per day, the medium is not – it is the way we are consuming that is changing. As a result of such changes, we now have more exciting and innovative ways of reaching engaged audiences through sit-forward opportunities such as interactive VOD formats, online competitions and second screening. Sherlock Holmes, broadcast on New Year’s Day, is a great example of how TV viewing is changing; 9.2 million people watched the episode live, but 3.54 million people watched the show within 7 days of it being aired, whether through VOD or EPG’s such as Sky+. This is a great example of how much viewers are relishing the opportunities to watch what they want, when they want to.

The growth of VOD and OTT platforms such as Netflix plays into this trend perfectly. If you are a Sky HD customer, you may have noticed Sky’s recent revamp of their EPG (that’s Electronic Programme Guide to you and me). The service is now designed to direct customers to old content, such as the their much-advertised ‘Sky Boxsets’ (a great play to the latest viewing habits - who isn’t spurning nights out for their latest catch-up sesh with West Wing?). And the good news for us? Even more innovative opportunities for advertising.

So, it is time we all erase the ‘traditional’ image of TV and embrace the ways in which we are really consuming it, across a multitude of platforms and services. When brands begin seeing these changes as an evolution, not a decline, in all forms of content (here’s looking at you magazines and radio), they will be better placed to target the right people at the right time, whether they be kids with tablets or the parents themselves. 

Written by Jessica Venner from Total Media

Jess works as part of the Broadcast team and loves strategy, customer/client relationship-building and a half-hourly snack or two.


Charlie and the Sky Subscription Factory

Do you remember the early scenes of the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film?

Charlie is peering through the window of the local sweet shop, shaking his head in sad disdain at all the smiling, spoilt children inside having sweets thrown all over them. They’re in and he isn’t and he can only catch a glimpse of what’s inside, knowing he’s unlikely to ever afford the privilege of going into the shop with the other children.

Charlie & the chocolate factory

So why am I talking about Charlie?

As part of a new £600m commitment to the Sky Owned portfolio, Sky First Episodes was born on February 1st; a platform which allows users to watch first episodes from Sky on YouTube. Naomi Gibney, Sky director of entertainment, marketing and digital, said: “The combination of Sky First Episodes and a TV campaign featuring entire clips from our biggest and best series means that now everyone has the chance to sample Sky shows.”

Just a taste…

Sky are attempting to utilise the ever-growing VOD space and have extended their content to a new video platform in the hope they will generate more subscribers, just as the sweet shop owner enticed children with his shiny shelves of sweets. It is growing increasingly important in such a media-saturated world that brands are now confident in their platform choices for the mutual benefit of both the company and customers. A brand must now ask: ‘How appropriate is this medium for our business objectives and what will it actually do for us and our customers?’ In other words, how can Sky build long-term relationships between its customers and their content?

Sky’s new service provides first episodes and scene teasers plus behind the scenes footage to non-Sky subscribers via YouTube. What’s the catch? In order to view more episodes, viewers must subscribe to Sky. This brings me back to Charlie, who did indeed desire what the other children had inside the sweet shop. However, no matter how enticing the shop was, it just reminded him of what he didn’t have and couldn’t afford. In other words, if Charlie had been able to afford to go into the sweet shop, it is likely he would have. And we all remember how disappointed Charlie was when he eventually got a chocolate bar but it didn’t hold the golden ticket. His hopes were raised, his anticipation built but then he was let down by not being able to continue his chocolate journey without having to purchase further.


Outside of providing first episodes and behind the scenes footage, Sky’s new service seems to be lacking a real reason for customers to continue their journey. Ultimately, the key to Sky’s advantage over competitor platforms is the ownership of experience opportunities for consumers. This is something which is growing increasingly important in a world bored of materialism, hence the popularity of Twitter and Facebook where consumers can share their experiences and discuss their excitement. OTT platforms such as Netflix have also hit the nail on the head by providing exclusive, exciting content available only to subscribers and which gets people talking. At the end of January this year, they passed the 44 million user mark, and have stated: “It's been a good year for Netflix. People around the world want what we offer: consumer-in-control internet television.”

Instead of simply providing an outlet to view programming, Sky need to create noise and excitement around their content; get customers talking and sharing; start creating and joining conversations; tap into the ‘content experience’ and begin adding an extra value dimension to their offerings, perhaps creating media events around their programmes. So take note Sky, it’s time to open those sweet shop doors and offer more than a penny sweet sample and a window view. 

Written by Jessica Venner from Total Media

Jess works as part of the TV team and loves strategy, customer/client relationship-building and a half-hourly snack or two.

Screen Life: TV in demand

The psychology behind emerging TV behaviours and what it means for media planners.

Thinkbox, the marketing body for all forms of commercial TV in the UK, recently visited Total Media HQ to deliver their latest round of research. The study looks at emerging TV behaviours using new techniques to get real, unbiased results on viewing behaviour.  Thinkbox’s research revealed how and why audiences choose between watching TV and video on demand (VOD).

6 reasons why we watch VOD

The research revealed audiences typically indulged in six different need states in live TV viewing:

  • Unwind: to defer life’s chores or de-stress from the pressures of the day
  • Comfort: shared family time; togetherness, rituals, familiarity and routine
  • Connect: a sense of ‘plugging in – to feel a sense of connection to society, to time or to place
  • Experience: usually revolves around a need for fun and a sense of occasion to be shared 
  • Escape: the desire to be taken on an enjoyable journey to another time and place
  • Indulge: satisfying (typically guilty) pleasures with personal favourites, usually consumed alone

The research also displayed clear differences in the need states and media consumption for differing age groups. For example, 18-24s spend almost twice as much time in the Connect need state as 35-55s (28% v 15% respectively). 

live tv

Overall the research found that individual TV platforms meet different audience needs. Live TV is the best equipped to meet all of the established need states – which goes someway to explaining why live TV is usually the starting point for most viewers. This is true even among audiences who regularly watch VOD – 60% of audiences first looked at the schedule for live TV before checking out anything else. 

VOD and planner TV are also closely affiliated in terms of audience needs and both forms of TV excel at serving our need for Escape.

How does this affect media planning and buying?

The research highlighted that advertising works differently accordingly to a person’s need states – advertising will be more accepted and welcomed in certain need states such as Connect and Unwind,  than others like Escape and Indulge.

In context-based need states like Unwind, Comfort, Connect and Experience, advertising has a higher level of acceptance due to the sociality factor.

In content-based need states such as Indulge, Escape and Experience, the audience displays high levels of attention because they have personally chosen to watch that particular media content, therefore any advertising has to work extremely hard to be attractive to the viewer.

As Thinkbox points out, advertisers need to match need states with categories, tones and narratives. By following these basic rules, any media placed should deliver better results for brands.

Four Thinkbox Takeaways for VOD advertising

Need states: Plan your media against your anticipated audience’s viewing need state. For example, if you’re using VOD, the best form of advertising is biased towards Escape and Indulge need states. These need states are a natural fit with brands in categories such as travel, fashion, beauty and treat foods.

Get Mobile: Increasingly, research has found that VOD is consumed on smaller, portable screens and more often than not, outside of the home. This provides advertisers with the opportunity for location specific messages for interactive ad content.

Be personable: Audiences watching VOD are much more likely to watching alone and the content chosen, more personal. This is the apt moment to distribute personalised and addressable advertising. Segmentation can be based on 1st party data, brand data, public data and much more in order to customise your ad.

Reaction, interaction and transaction: Clickable ads are a huge opportunity, and VOD ads are no different. Use this as an chance to empower your viewing audience with interactive offers such as “choose your own ad format”, or exploit the need states such as Indulge and Escape by advertising holiday destinations or creating interactive play along media games.

For more information about Thinkbox’s research please contact Neil Mortensen:



Emma Jeffers Written by Emma Jeffers from Total Media

Emma is our PR and Social Media Manager at Total and loves all things media, especially social media, and classes herself as a massive geek (her words not ours!).

TV on Demand: The Death of the TV Guide?

Television as a medium has rapidly changed. Channel 4 launched in 1982, 1 month after I was born at which point it was only the fourth TV channel available to UK viewers. Now 29 years later, with TV having evolved probably faster than any other medium, viewers can now choose from over 500 channels, each one trying to tap into a niche audience.

The way we view TV has changed too. We can now watch in full HD and 3D, we can pause live TV, we can record without video tapes, and by clicking TV Guide on the ol’ remote your entire TV schedule is available to you. It would appear that 2011 TV viewing is the best it has ever been.

Though possibly the biggest evolution of the last few years has been the increase in VOD services, PVRs and Catch up TV. These new-fangled devices were predicted to spell doom for the old tradition of the family sitting down in front of the TV to watch their favourite show together, though research carried out by Television trade body Thinkbox shows that in fact people are watching more TV than ever!

Whether it is via one of the many on demand services accessed on the web, like BBC iPlayer, ITV player or via a set top box like the freshly launched Sky Anytime+, viewers can now catch up on their favourite TV shows at the press of a button or the click of a mouse or even via their games console. With such opportunities, one might think “That’s it, burn the Radio Times; I can make my own schedule, watch whatever I want whenever I want”.

But TV is such an emotive medium and people are creatures of habit, they like the comfort of knowing that Tuesday is Undercover Boss night, Wednesday is Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance night, on Sunday they can settle down with Law and Order UK. People often plan their week around TV, and it’s the way it has been for 50 years; it’s part of family life and it plays a massive part in our working and social life.

How familiar is this scenario: Walk into the office, “Morning, how was your evening? Did you watch…?” It’s the classic water cooler moment, and it’s this talkability, combined with VOD, that is driving people back to live TV.

From my own personal experience, I can testify to how VOD has driven me back to live TV viewing, having missed the first episode of the Inbetweeners I arrived into work the next day to find people raving about this “new comedy on E4” so much so that in my lunch hour I settled down with a Boots meal deal, logged on to 4OD and chuckled away. Subsequently I watched every single episode live so that I didn’t miss out on the water cooler moment the next time round. 

This behaviour is of course enforced by new technology. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook combined with new technology e.g. Smartphones and Tablets mean that information is at our fingertips at all times. Recent research suggests that 44% of viewers have used social network sites whilst watching TV and 37% have chatted online about TV content. How many of you reading this have recorded an episode of The X-Factor with the idea of settling down later that night to watch the results, only to go on Facebook for the briefest of seconds and discover that Jedward have been voted off? Social Media is the new ‘instant’ water cooler, and if you want to be part of it you need to be watching, there and then, live, as it happens, because nowadays by the time you get to the actual water cooler, Jedward’s demise would be old news.

I believe that video on demand presents some fantastic opportunities for viewers and advertisers alike. The various catch up services means viewers need never miss a moment of their favourite shows and advertisers can add an extra element to their campaigns. This is how I feel it should be considered, as an extra element to provide incremental coverage, not as a substitute to TV.

Currently VOD accounts for 2% of ‘Television’ viewing (source: BARB/IPA Touchpoints) and it provides fantastic support to the box in the corner. But will this always be the case? Will it always be just a support, primarily used to catch-up? Or will VOD replace the traditional live viewing habits?

I’m a big user of VOD, I think it’s a great service, but there is no disputing that like many other viewers, it has driven me back to live viewing. For this reason, combined with my desire to be a part of the Social Media water cooler moment, I believe the schedule is here to stay. I won’t be ripping up my Radio Times just yet.

But this is just my opinion, do you agree? How much TV do you watch ‘live’? Is the schedule here to stay?

Written by Sam Olive

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