Is Web Video Cutting into TV Budgets?

Dollars are undoubtedly shifting to online video. The question is, from where?
A new survey of 117 digital media buyers conducted by the Web video network BrightRoll found that 65 percent of respondents plan to pull dollars from TV to fund increases in online video spending this year. That echoes a commonly held bit of wisdom from the digital ad world–that money is inevitably leaving traditional media to flood the Web. The often-repeated belief is that as more consumers spend far more of their media time online, advertising revenue will follow.
The problem is, that hasn’t proven very true, at least when it comes to TV. After taking a major hit during the recession, TV advertising rebounded in a big way last year. And by most accounts, TV is set to clean up during the upcoming upfront –taking the air out of the argument that a fundamental, industry-altering shift is on. The fact is TV budgets are predominantly managed by different agencies with different clients (this survey was limited to digital buyers). There’s also the little matter that the Web video world continues to speak a different language than TV when it comes to metrics.
Plus, while BrightRoll’s report claims that TV viewership is down due to increased consumption of Web video, Nielsen data tells the opposite story TV is still extremely popular; it’s just that dual Web and TV consumption is quickly growing in popularity.
There’s no question that advertisers are enamored with online video. Nearly every analyst following the industry is predicting major surges in spending. And BrightRoll found that 27 percent of respondents reported that more than half of their 2010 RFPs included online video.
What’s interesting in BrightRoll’s survey is that while 65 percent said they plan to shift dollars from TV to fund online video, upwards of 80 percent said they plan to pull dollars from display, which has been resurgent of late. That may be indicative of the shaky faith most media buyers have in the effectiveness of display advertising. It could also be an indication that portions of display budgets are moving into video moreso than TV budgets.
According to BrightRoll’s report, buyers like Web video because they believe in its effectiveness. In fact, 30 percent of respondents said they find the medium to be more effective than TV (though their dollar allocations would seem to indicate otherwise).
Buyers also continue to have complaints about online video when it comes to the basics. More than a third (36 percent) listed the need for clearer success metrics as a primary concern, found BrightRoll’s report, while 26 percent named ROI as a concern.

Web video inventory is also viewed as costly; BrightRoll’s survey found that 23 percent of respondents felt that lower costs would bring more advertisers on board, though that figure is declined 9 percent from the same survey one year ago.

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