It’s choice, bro: TVNZ’s new Ondemand ad service goes live

TVNZ’s Ondemand is all about choice; about giving viewers the opportunity to watch content when (and increasingly where) they want to. And, with the help of TVNZ’s latest online advertising innovation, Ad Selector, they now have the ability to choose what ads they want to watch.

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More than a few broadcasting pundits have claimed that TVNZ’s Ondemand catch-up service is one of the best in the world. And, with the relatively recent announcement of the Ad on Pause service, which was a joint effort between OMD and TVNZ, and now this new advertising format, which was created in partnership with VivaKi (the Publicis-owned entity that hobnobs with Starcom, Zenith Optimedia, Digitas and Razorfish), the online advertising options also appear to be of an international standard.

“Both these applications are New Zealand firsts, and are highly significant in that they benefit both the consumer and the advertiser. This is a win win. I am thrilled to be part of the team that developed Ad Selector for New Zealand,” says Paul Maher, TVNZ’s head of sales and marketing (and, tellingly, given the two latest Starcom-inspired TVNZ innovations, ex Starcom big wig).

In fact, it actually seems to be a win win win. In the US, according to this article in Ad Age, advertisers only pay when their ad is selected, publishers get a much higher ad rate than a typical pre-roll and “consumers can choose an ad from a category that interests them—say automotive, fashion retail or food—rather than being force fed whatever was cued up”.

The same article shows online video in the US is already a $1.1 billion industry and Vivaki believes the seemingly simple idea of letting viewers choose which ads they watch could add an extra $100 million to the industry coffers and help restore the economics of quality content creation.

Ad Selector was created after research conducted in the US by the VivaKi Nerve Centre (VNC), which claims to be the world’s largest research and development centre dedicated to creating new technologies and advertising approaches, showed that by giving viewers control of the ads they see, advertisers enjoyed significantly higher ad recall, brand awareness and purchase intent.

The research (dubbed ‘The Pool’) was conducted over 16 months and reached 25 million US consumers viewing online video content from some of the top US publishers. And the results showed significant improvements when comparing ad selector video ads against standard pre-roll video, a form of online advertising that research shows already maintains higher performance standards than static online banners.

  • Ad awareness (unaided brand awareness 221 percent greater, top of mind awareness 288 percent greater),
  • Brand recall (290 percent higher than for regular pre roll)
  • Purchase intent (Ad Selector viewers 33 percent more likely to purchase the product/service),
  • Click through rates (106 percent higher)

“When we saw the outstanding results from the US trial we knew we had to forge ahead to bring this innovation into the New Zealand market,” says Jeremy O’Brien, general manager of media solutions, TVNZ’s advertising innovation unit. “The benefit for our advertisers is such that we believe it will revolutionise the way brands communicate in this space.”

Ad Selector, which allows viewers to choose between three different ad options, went live this morning and, in what could be seen as a show of collegiality between TVNZ and Vivaki, Starcom clients Telecom, Proctor and Gamble and Westpac are the first clients on board (Primo’s Ad on Pause is still within its exclusivity period, so it’s the only execution in this format so far).

“Procter & Gamble is always looking for better ways to communicate to consumers online and to improve the digital advertising experience for them. Ad selector is a simple way to create an extra level of engagement improving the advertiser and user interaction, we look forward to tracking the response rates in the New Zealand market,” says Jack Daniel of Procter & Gamble.

Content has always been King in the media. And by giving viewers a choice online, it’s slowly becoming more regal in the realm of advertising too.

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