Stats are not everything, I believe. Indeed Mark Twain summed up my general attitude in his famous pronouncement – for which he himself incidentally claimed no authorship, crediting it instead to the wily British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli – There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.
But every now again a set of numbers will arrive on your desk that seem to sum up neatly what’s going on in a given field and that’s happening a lot nowadays in the world of commercial information exchange otherwise known as the mass media.
That mass media environment is of course dominated, in the United States at least, by network and cable television. They manage to command $74 billion dollar a year in advertising revenue. That’s a huge amount, and it’s open to drainage and re-diversion
The statistical dollop of statistics to grab my attention just as I was reviewing the widespread disappointment registered by advertisers about network TV’s complacent offerings for the Fall – comes from the Online Publishers Association. The OPA can naturally be seen as a biased source, but their methodologies are generally regarded as reliable. They tell us in a recent report that 25 percent of Internet users are now watching videos online regularly and regularly means at least once a week. Such viewers inevitably (and, they report, regularly) watch video advertising along with their online videos and, again according to the OPA, 44 percent take some action after viewing an online video ad.
In the wake of such figures, excitement is building among some sections at least of the advertising community that they can start to aggregate a reach of millions that will (and they hope soon) rival television. Jason Glickman, CEO of Tremor Networks and an Internet advertising veteran, is especially taken with the way that online networks will often go out of their way to help with translating between online numbers and GRPs (gross ratings points) which in the broadcasting and cable world can sometimes frankly be murky. Glickman says, in MediaPost’s Video Insider newsletter, that this enables advertisers to slot clear numbers right into their plan.
One interestingly telling little feature of the stats: the reach of this newer medium is stronger at different times than the established medias power periods. Online video increasingly dominates what TV moguls have long called, in their own proprietary coinage, â€œthe day-part audience. Thursday night television, supposedly the home of Must-See TV, is no longer the last, best opportunity to get the attention of consumers planning their weekends. That privileged position is now held by the internet on Friday mornings and afternoons.