It was a lively scene in the Microsoft office in midtown Manhattan, as industry marketers of all stripes gathered to hear the latest and greatest from Microsoft Advertising and key premium video partners.
What’s new, what’s hot and what’s jumping off the screen in Premium Video was shared from an “A list” group of digital experts that included Fox Sports, msnbc.com, TODAY.com and Xbox.
Rick Song, General Manager East Region for Microsoft, served as host and set the scene by highlighting the importance of including video in digital marketing plans, citing huge increases in consumer engagement within video environments. As an example, within Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold U.S. platform members are watching an average of an hour of television a day.
Having now hosted the 4th Digital Showcase in as many years, Song noted that Microsoft Advertising’s monetizable video streams have swelled to 3.2 billion annually in the U.S. across the portfolio, creating a rich field for marketers to leverage.
To bring the opportunities into further context Russ Axelrod of Microsoft Advertising’s BEET team, led a panel discussion to drive a deeper discussion into current trends and case studies covering premium video in the context of multi-screen and social.
On the panel Rob Bennett, GM & Executive Producer of Network Programming for MSN, mused he’s not only being asked are portals dead, but also “Is Facebook dead?”
A bit early to make that pronouncement, he said, but opened up a segment on the state of portals today. Bennett noted portals are changing, going beyond the PC and across platforms. Those that are taking advantage of the new “human signal” will do well by taking these inputs and marry them with rich premium editorial, including premium video to transcend what any one individual site could provide.
Fully embracing content on the web allows for more peoples perspectives.
Panelist Jen Brown, Site Director, TODAY.com, NBC commented on her self-admitted “Facebook stalker” status. It makes the content better, referring to the integration that happens between online and TV programming by using Facebook and social networks as an indicator of what’s happening and folding into the programming and content cycles. By looking at hours 5-24 as an extension of the TODAY shows 4 hour television block advertisers are able to connect with the coveted “always on connector” 25-34 women demographic.
Rounding out the session experts from key partner groups took the stage to highlight offerings with fast paced clips showcasing hot programming opportunities and partnership examples covering all conceivable genres.Microsoft Advertising All-Up Video
MSNBC & TODAY
Also in the session, Microsoft’s Jahn Wolland promoted a holistic approach across sight, sound and motion strategy agreeing that audiences are watching more video than ever and pointing out it’s never been more important for online to also work with TV teams. Wolland touted the “All Up” approach being offered by Microsoft whereby an advertiser could utilize a single set of creative across premium online video, extended network, Xbox and the Microsoft TV Network which utilized millions of set top boxes to place commercials in front of a desirable audience. Additionally, a new partnership now exists with Nielson to measure results across online and TV.
Brian Billick, Fox Sports analysts took the stage, Superbowl ring sparkling and visible from afar, shared his interested in the online audience opportunity. Citing how his own TV viewing habits of watching the Today show regularly and his mastery of the DVR, he hasn’t watched a commercial for 5 years. This type of consumer behavior underscores his interest in reaching audiences online.
No Microsoft event would be complete without an Xbox 360 Kinect give-away and, in this instance, also included sets of autographed Brian Billick memorabilia including autographed footballs. Also, on the spot, attendees were able to use their mobile phones to scan a promotional flyer with Microsoft Tag to see if they had the winning ticket with one lucky winner receiving a Samsung Windows Phone 7.
Until next year’s Digital Showcase 2012!
Jay Crutcher, Industry Marketing Manager, Microsoft Advertising