The rise of BVOD is the content trend that cannot be ignored

The shift is here to stay, argues Pure.amplify's general manager of media business Tasneem Ali.

Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD) is enjoying spectacular growth, with Australians spending three times as many weekly minutes on BVOD compared to three years ago. BVOD is available across a range of different screens and devices, from mobiles and tablets to computers and televisions, but the biggest consumption by far is on Connected TVs – also known as Smart TVs – which account for 48% of on-demand screen use.

While recent BVOD usage has been driven by more people staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic (up 48% during lockdown, compared with a 9% rise for conventional broadcast TV), the changes it has made to audiences is permanent. Rather than a temporary spike, the shift has been accelerated, and it’s here to stay. More than ever, people are incredibly busy and seeking flexibility. They want to consume content on their own schedules. Marketers must embrace this trend into 2021 and beyond, as BVOD offers a unique opportunity and several benefits for advertisers.

It enables campaign effectiveness tracking

A key advantage to BVOD is that we are able to use it to target ads and track the effectiveness of campaigns. Traditionally, this has been very difficult to do – and still cannot be done by some media buyers in the industry. Without this level of understanding, it’s close to impossible to know which ads a viewer watched. Now, it’s easy to identify exactly who has seen a campaign, and who hasn’t. This provides a clear control group to measure campaign impact and brand awareness, and also enables ads to be adjusted and optimised in the middle of a campaign, for maximum effectiveness.

It’s cost effective

BVOD is a much more cost-effective advertising product when compared to conventional TV. Instead of paying huge amounts to “spray and pray”, without knowing who the audience is, marketers can select very specific audience criteria, with the potential to pinpoint users demographically, geographically and psychographically. Advertising is also bought programmatically, allowing much more efficiency than the manual slot-booking for conventional TV.

It reaches new audiences

There are now Australian audience segments that no longer watch conventional TV and can only be reached through BVOD and other on-demand services. According to one survey, around 7% of 16-to-39-year olds can only be reached by BVOD in the course of a typical week. Younger demographics have seen even higher BVOD growth, and with Connected TV recording the largest increase in consumption, ad dollars can be spent reaching a much greater number of people when compared to views on any other device.

One Australian audience that’s increasingly exposed to video on demand is sports fans, with streaming service Stan last month winning the rights to stream Australian Rugby Union games. Such a fresh approach will no doubt entice younger sports fans, while re-engaging with existing ones who may have become disinterested in viewing games via traditional broadcast media.

It’s targeted and supports more ad formats

As well as being able to target highly specific audiences, ads can also be placed in particular TV shows. Research from digital ad verification firm Integral Ad Science shows that advertising which is related to a TV show has high relevance and results in much higher engagement, sentiment and brand recall.

Additionally, high-impact, high-engagement content messaging is crucial, as is adapting content for households with high-definition TV sets, which are located in 98% of Australian households. Nearly half of BVOD viewing takes place on a full TV screen, and a wider range of creative can be used that is much more effective when viewed on the small screen of a mobile device.

It’s more powerful than social media

A survey by ThinkTV found that brands extending TV reach with BVOD see more than twice the sales impact than brands which combine broadcast TV with social video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. This is largely due to the higher attention levels that BVOD enjoys. And attention is key to generating a sales response.

Advertisers and marketers must pay attention to BVOD, as more and more brands look to engage with this growing broadcast medium. The revenue for FY 2019-2020 reached AUD$170 million, up 32.7% year-on-year, even as other TV advertising declined. Media buying strategies must be rethought if they don’t include some form of BVOD, with this trend only set to rise as we head towards a new year.

Tasneem Ali is the general manager of media business at Pure.amplify.


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