Accenture On Video: If It’s Not Entertaining, Don’t Bother

uncledrew_2Accenture Interactive exec Matt Gay’s 14-year-old son has a strict policy – he doesn’t look at ads, period.

“He will actively avoid watching content if it’s got ads,” said Gay, a senior director and digital advertising lead at Accenture.

But that’s not because Gay’s son hates advertising, per se. He just doesn’t have time to waste on boring or irrelevant stuff.

“I know my kids would watch ads if they found them fun, interesting and engaging,” Gay said. “There is a way to get a message across without being interruptive.”

Consider the slight branding in Pepsi’s “Uncle Drew” video series, in which Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving disguised himself as a crotchety old man and schooled a bunch of “young bloods” in a game of pickup basketball.

While Gay insists “there’s no reason people shouldn’t want to watch an ad as much as they do regular content,” significant expense goes into creating effective video content, and distribution is a major challenge.

“Viewers of digital video are dissatisfied, have difficulty finding relevant content and have inconsistent viewing experiences,” he said. “Providers lack insights into consumer data to deliver them more personalized services.”

Accenture is attempting to help bridge these divides with Accenture Video Solution, a modular platform that clients can use to manage, deliver and monetize digital video across linear, OTT, gaming consoles and mobile. Mediaset, Italy’s largest broadcaster, recently tapped the platform to stream UEFA Champions League football matches to more than 1 million viewers.

But that was an infrastructure play, and it also involved live sports, which until recently seemed like the last bastion of live TV. Video ad creative is a different, and challenging, kettle of fish.

AdExchanger chatted with Gay about what clients are looking for when it comes to video and why ad blocking is actually good for the future of video creative.

mattgayaccentureAdExchanger: What does the future of video look like to you?

MATT GAY: Several things need to change – the nature of the content, the format of the actual ads, the way the ads are delivered and how data is used.

Video strategy needs to be data-driven – that part will become table stakes. It’s so easy for people to move from thing to thing that if something’s not relevant, people will almost immediately turn away. Advertisers need to understand who’s on the other side of that screen, whatever the screen is.

What are your clients asking for help with in terms of video?

Figuring out how to use video data for commercial advantage vexes digital video providers. They collect data from their video platforms, but have difficulty using consumer insights to make their businesses more profitable. Whether their business models are subscription, advertising funded or transactional, consumer insights can be the key to addressing revenues and increasing investment returns.

Viewers now expect a personalized and relevant experience, whether that’s having the new drama series they might like recommended at the end of watching a film, an email that suggests they subscribe to the new sports package or even a tweet replying to a complaint about buffering during the last episode of a show. Anything less would reduce consumer engagement – and ultimately impact loyalty and churn.

During an Advertising Week panel, you noted that videos will monetize via subscription. Is that really the future of video – affluent people paying to remove themselves from being part of an addressable audience?

It all goes back to being entertaining. I’ve said this before – and if you quote me out of context, I sound like a lunatic – but I believe ad blocking has been good for this industry. Not, of course, from the perspective of people losing money and the notion of theft, but because it emphasizes that ads and creative need to be more entertaining and compelling.

Just looks at what’s developed – ad blockers that block ads and ad-blocker blockers that are meant to block the ad blockers. The next step is unblocking the ad-blocker blockers, and it’s crazy. It’s trying to solve for the symptom and not the disease.

But it’s a fact that people watch Super Bowl ads because they’re fun. Granted, the Super Bowl is one small slice of the world, but it’s evidence that people do sometimes seek out ads. My hope would be that something negative, like ad blockers, will spur on something positive, like better creative and more relevant targeting.

Frankly, though, there’s still a long way to go on the creative side. For now, most brands are still just taking stuff from TV and jamming into on a smaller screen in the form of pre-roll or post-roll.

 

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