TV vs online: who's winning the best bang for buck battle?

  • Cannes Lions
  • July 25, 2010
  • Liz Fraser
TV vs online: who's winning the best bang for buck battle?

While the anatomy of TVC and online advertising mediums has been much discussed, a direct comparison of advertiser value is more elusive. But with so much video now consumed online (and online content consumed via TV and other screens) and more advertisers placing TVCs there, directly comparing the value of each medium comes into question. So, which one offers the best bang for buck? And how does one go about comparing value?

Here’s my stab at it. According to Statistics New Zealand data there are 1.7 million New Zealanders aged 15-44 years. Using Windows Live ID information I know that in the same cohort there are 870,000 people on MSN New Zealand. Placing a video ad on MSN New Zealand (frequency capped at one) would reach 51 percent of all 15-44 year olds. By TV standards this equates to 51 tarps. At a $20 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) MSN’s 51 TARPS would cost $17,400. Which means the cost per TARP (CPT) is $341.

$341 might be a bargain, or a bit pricey. And different TV network times (peak/off-peak), demographics, and TVC duration – 15”, 30”, and 60” – will impact the value, or otherwise, of the Cost Per Thousand (CPT) rate. Who knows (well, your friendly TV sales rep should be able to tell you)? But at least advertisers have a comparative value measure to work with.

Not so long ago online video advertising lacked legitimacy. Stunted broadband, compatibility issues and shoddy online delivery technology consigned online to the planner’s portfolio of ‘emerging’ media options. But these limitations are history and advertisers increasingly vote with their feet.

New opportunities, such as web-enabled TV, and proliferating online video (advertising and entertainment) offer audiences more viewing options, in terms of what they watch, how they watch it and when. Convergence and slowly improving broadband are bringing the geeks back to the TV lounge. Soon, there will be no such thing as a computer geek – just more ugly people and pizza boxes in your lounge.

Video is king. Who cares about the delivery platform when availability is so unrestricted. Sure, when it comes to reaching a mass audience TV is hard to beat. But these days advertising is less about mass and mostly an exercise in engaging a defined group, on their terms (when and how they like to watch).

The time is right to establish a common industry measure. Just putting it out there.

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