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The UGC UFC: new battles in video

Time was when all video except cinema was broadcast/recorded. That’s because all ‘video’ was TV. That’s almost impossible to remember now. The direction of travel in media has been towards video for over a decade.

But, although the direction is straightforward, the implications for advertising are increasingly complex.

It’s in this context that the IPA has released its new report, “Making sense: The commercial media landscape”, which looks at the UK’s commercial media consumption using the IPA’s rich Touchpoints data.

Touchpoints is an incredibly useful snapshot of media time and how it is rapidly changing. And there’s plenty to unpack and chew over in the IPA’s report, not least about how video viewing continues to transition from broadcast/recorded to streamed/on demand.

The IPA report shows that broadcaster content is a crucial part of this transition. BVOD accounts for 10% of 16-34s’ commercial video viewing, according to Touchpoints. One day, all TV will likely be IP-delivered, not just BVOD.

But it is the rise of TikTok over the last two years that perhaps catches the eye most in terms of the changes in the video world. The latest wave of IPA data puts TikTok viewing at 20% of 16-34s’ commercial video time. It didn’t exist a short time ago.

So what do the changes in video viewing mean for advertising?

Video’s two battles

There are two clear battles emerging in the video space. The first is being fought within the sphere of professionally-produced, curated TV entertainment, between the broadcasters and the SVOD players.

From an advertiser’s perspective the key implication of this is constrained supply as the vast majority of SVOD viewing is ad free.

The other battle taking place is within the world of social video and user-generated content, and the Goliath and rapidly-growing David in the UGC UFC are YouTube and TikTok, with the Touchpoints data suggesting TikTok is growing at the expense of YouTube.

The planning challenge

TV and social/UGC are both video, so they’re understandably grouped together in the same bucket in the IPA’s analysis. 

And, from a planner’s perspective, they’re also obvious bedfellows; there’s an undeniable complementarity between TV and UGC platforms from a demographic point of view.

But they’re a nightmare to plan in a unified way as the video ad formats and environments are so different. Time spent with a medium is only a starting point. To make decisions about advertising, you need to factor in a lot more.

What proportion of commercial media time is actually spent with commercials? This differs wildly depending on the medium and does not follow the same pattern as overall time spent.

Then there are all the quality layers to consider in planning. TikTok ads are easily swiped away. YouTube ads can be skippable – or not. And there continue to be content suitability concerns that, depending on your safe-listing approach, can severely limit the reach potential.

Mediacom’s excellent James Parnum recently wrote an insightful takes on this challenge. Great planners that take into account all the variables, factoring for ad skipping, screen size, attention, brand safety, costly signals, multiplier effects and so on, are more essential than they’ve ever been.

The video planning challenge will rightly continue to be the focus of conversation and development over the next few years.  Measurement will continue to dominate industry debates and metrics such as attention will be in the limelight. With new data from BARB released late last year and with CFlight just around the corner we’re moving to a richer place in terms of our video viewing insight.

Soon we’ll release our take on the viewing landscape and the implications from advertisers. That sound you can hear is the numbers being given their final crunch. Our ‘TV in focus’ event on 2 March will be devoted to this topic and we hope you can join us there.

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