Sling TV Launches Puppet ‘Slingy’ to Promote Service

OTT service Sling TV is introducing “Slingy,” a puppet star of its new digital ads.

The puppet is designed and created by Tim Clarke, one of the masterminds behind “The Muppets” puppet design, according to the service’s blog.

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“Slingy is on a mission to let everyone know that Slinging is easy and anyone can do it — even a puppet!” reads the blog. “Slingy is passionate about educating live TV lovers who want to cut the cord and is even willing to show up at people’s homes and offices to tell them about Sling. After a visit from Slingy, consumers can’t help but get excited about the choice, flexibility and control that Sling TV offers without the baggage that comes with cable.”

Last year, Sling TV launched a tongue-in-cheek TV campaign featuring celebrity couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally as “slingers.”

Amy Poehler to Star in Comcast Xfinity Ad Campaign

Amy Poehler will star in a year-long Xfinity advertising campaign starting Feb. 4, Comcast announced.

The campaign featuring the actor, producer and director (“Parks and Recreation,” “Saturday Night Live,’ Inside Out and upcoming “Wine Country”) is called “Simple, Easy, Awesome – starring Amy Poehler” and uses her “unique sense of humor and wit to put a spotlight on the brand’s product benefits, across Xfinity Internet, Xfinity TV and Xfinity Mobile,” according to the Comcast release.

The two launch spots — “Potpourri” and “Make Yourself at Home” — will air across television, digital, mobile and radio.

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“Working with Amy has been a dream — her charm, charisma and relatability are a great fit for Xfinity and her improv skills really took our creative to another level,” said Eileen Diskin, SVP of marketing communications at Comcast, in a statement. “We’re proud to have her represent our brand and look forward to building upon our partnership with Amy throughout the year.”

“Simple, Easy, Awesome – starring Amy Poehler” brings to life the idea that you don’t have to be an expert to get the most out of technology, and the commercials put Poehler in real-life locations ranging from a family’s home to an Xfinity retail store, according to the release.

The campaign will include multiple TV spots to roll out in the coming months.

In addition to the creative content, the Comcast partnership with Poehler includes product integration into the company’s Xfinity X1 platform. Customers can say things such as “Amy is Awesome” and “Everything Amy Poehler” into the X1 voice remote and they will be taken to a special page with a curated collection of Poehler’s movies, shows, talk show appearances and more, and also will be able to unlock special voice messages from Poehler.

Xfinity has more than 30 million customer relationships across the country, according to the release, and the X1 platform includes Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video with the voice remote processing more than 700 million commands each month.

Ad Group Plugs Ad-Supported OTT Video

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Oct. 10 released new data it claims underscores the value of marketing through ad-supported over-the-top video.

In its study based on a Sept. 25-26 survey of 1,223 consumers ages 18+ in the U.S., results found that the largest audience segment of OTT video is 18-34-year-old adults with household incomes above $75,000.

The audience includes households with kids and skews more male. Nearly 73% of respondents who regularly stream video say that they have watched ad-supported OTT. Moreover, 45% of streamers report that they watch ad-supported OTT the most.

“Advertisers have a real opportunity to make connections with younger consumers, who are likely to have higher-income, through ad-supported video delivered over-the-top,” Anna Bager, EVP, industry initiatives, IAB, said in a statement. “The findings from this study can help marketers navigate their way to valuable and receptive audiences by deploying an OTT strategy.”

Indeed, the report claims respondents are not easily reached through broadcast TV or subscription-based video on demand (SVOD). More than half (52%) of ad-supported OTT viewers are cord-cutters or cord-shavers, largely due to cost (77%), while 42% cite ‘convenience/flexibility’ and 38% cite ‘better content on streaming services’ as a reason. Additionally, they spend less time watching cable than SVOD viewers.

The report found that a higher percentage of respondents also enjoy interacting with ads in comparison to SVOD viewers, providing opportunities to engage and develop one-to one-relationships with these households and consumers.

Ad-supported OTT video viewers are more likely to try new brands, with 36% stating they learn about new brands/products/services from video ads. In fact, respondents said they spend more on online subscription purchases ($119 monthly vs. $89 for SVOD viewers).

“This study showcases the high value that brands should place with increased investment in ad-supported OTT video,” said Sue Hogan, SVP, research and measurement, IAB.

 

 

Netflix Testing Video Ads for Original Content

Netflix reportedly has begun testing streaming video ads of original content to select subscribers. The ads appear during binging sessions and other content viewing.

“We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster,” Netflix said in a statement first reported by ArsTechnica.com.

The world’s largest SVOD service – along with Amazon Prime Video – has shunned running advertising or any kind – a stance it says it would continue as the video spots are not for third-party content or products.

Hulu has run third-party and house ads since launching in 2007. The service co-owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast and WarnerMedia also offers an ad-free option at a premium price.

Netflix said the house ads can be skipped and underscore its desire to expedite a user’s streaming experience with recommended content suggestions based on user data.

Indeed, users to the Netflix home page are now subjected to video previews when hovering the cursor on a particular program or movie.

“We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster,” said Netflix.

Response on social media to the test ads appeared largely negative, with many comments falsely suggesting Netflix would begin marketing products and services to subscribers.

“Autoplay anything makes me more likely to choose a competitor, or just shut the TV off and do something else,” wrote one subscriber on Reddit.com.

Michael Pachter, media analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, doubts Netflix would pursue third-party ads going forward. The analyst contends the ads could be a way to enhance the service’s longstanding “personalization algorithm.”

“They are too far down the rabbit hole to spring commercials on their customers,” said Pachter. “I think it will be poorly received and subscribers will complain.”

 

Roku Bows Service to Help OTT Ad Sellers and Buyers Target Audiences

Streaming TV pioneer Roku June 27 introduced its Audience Marketplace, allowing advertising buyers and sellers to more effectively target audiences on the Roku platform in the United States, according to the company.

By leveraging Roku’s first-party data and proprietary ad technology, publishers can use Audience Marketplace to sell targeted audiences on the Roku platform to advertisers, according to a Roku press release.

“Roku has extensive insights into its millions of OTT streamers, and offers the ability to precisely target specific segments at a household level,” the release stated.

“The business of streaming is winning – both in the minds of consumers and advertisers,” said Seth Walters, VP, demand partnerships, Roku, in a statement. “As the industry’s leading TV streaming platform, we’re well-positioned to empower our publishers to unlock the full potential of OTT advertising and help them to meet the needs of brands and consumers.”

Initial publishers participating in Audience Marketplace include Fox, Turner and Viacom. Advertisers can use the Audience Marketplace for programmatic or traditional direct selling methods.

“Over-the-top distribution has been a key audience driver for Turner’s portfolio of premium content, with Roku being one of the preeminent partner platforms,” said Larry Allen, VP, ad innovation and programmatic solutions, Turner, in a statement. “Participating in Roku’s Audience Marketplace gives us access to rich insights and enhanced audience targeting capabilities, extending the ability for ad buyers to reach and engage with streaming viewing audiences that are critical to grow their business.”

“Roku’s ability to precisely message luxury auto-intenders in premium TV programming unlocks great value for our clients,” said Garrett Winkler, director of connected TV Lead, Modi Media, in a statement. “It helps significantly reduce waste and delivers a more relevant viewing experience. We see this as a huge step towards unifying targeting for connected TV campaigns.”

Hulu to Offer Ad-Supported Content Downloads

Hulu May 2 announced it is making available select content for download, enabling subscribers the ability to watch content when offline. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have featured offline viewing since 2016.

Hulu’s offline viewing will be ad-supported, which it said offers marketers an alternative opportunity to reach consumers. Netflix and Prime Video are ad-free.

“Our launch of the industry’s first ad-supported downloadable content experience is yet another example of how Hulu is innovating viewer-first ad solutions to drive powerful results for brands” Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising sales at Hulu, said in the presentation at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York. “With downloadable content, we’re offering brands more ways to connect with engaged viewers who love the experience of watching television, wherever they may be.”

Hulu also disclosed that Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) for OTT is now its go-to media measurement tool. Advertisers can use DAR to measure, guarantee and report campaign audience delivery across all desktop, mobile and connected devices, providing vital insight into viewership on the platform. With 78% of Hulu viewing taking place in the living room, Hulu claims DAR provides accurate, holistic measurement for everyone watching.

Hulu announced it has expanded its suite of “sales effectiveness” tools with four new partnerships. It will now offer attribution across the auto and retail categories, working with IHS Markit for Polk Campaign Measurement Solutions and Nielsen Buyer Insights, respectively.

In addition, Hulu announced an expanded offering for CPG brands with the help of IRI’s attribution solution. And in partnership with Experian, Hulu will offer advertisers the ability to enhance their CRM data with Hulu’s first-party data to deliver better insight into sales growth on the platform.

 

 

Study: Young People More Engaged by Brand-Boosting YouTube Videos Than Traditional Advertising

Brands that want to reach Gen Z and young millennials might have a better shot by placing products in influential YouTube videos.

That’s according to “neuroscience intensity research” from Fullscreen conducted in partnership with research lab MediaScience. The study evaluated Gen Z and young millennials’ attention to and response to traditional brand advertising versus YouTube branded influencer videos, as well as the impact of the two kinds of brand boosting. It used physiological response tracking tools in a lab setting to monitor 128 subjects ages 13-24 while they watched both a TV sitcom and YouTube videos and were exposed to advertising as it would naturally appear in those two separate environments. Study metrics included eye tracking, biometrics, facial coding and post-exposure survey.

Key findings include:

  • Branded influencer videos are on par with the 30 second TV spot on biometric intensity and joy.
  • While viewing branded influencer videos, 93% of the time consumers’ eyes were locked on the content; this is 30% higher than the experience viewing a brand pre-roll ad. This high attention also correlated to 2 times higher levels of brand recall than brand pre-roll ads.
  • Teens are 18% more likely to “like” branded influencer videos than young millennials.
  • Branded influencer videos delivered higher levels of brand attitude (10% more than TV; 9% more than pre-roll) and brand loyalty (10% more than TV; 13% more than pre-roll) than traditional brand formats.
  • Brand Influencer videos yield stronger recommendation levels compared to TV (10% more) and pre-roll (13% more).

 

“Studying the biometric responses of Gen Z and young millennials allows us to understand what types of advertising formats are making an emotional connection and impact,” said Pete Stein, general manager, Fullscreen, in a statement. “Our study found that influencer branded content delivers TV-like emotions, higher attention than pre-roll, and stronger brand impact across the board that hints at a deeper level of connection between audience and format. Today’s youth audiences are a complex mix of ad avoiders and brand advocates. Marketers need nuanced approaches to effectively impact them.”