Nearly thirty years ago, the Head of Public Relations (for the firm I worked at back then) called me into his office; sat me down in front of his computer; barked out a few instructions; and presto – I pulled down a stock quote from over the Internet. True — it was dial-up and slow as molasses, but it was ‘pretty neat’ considering it was the first time I had ever been on the Internet!
Later on he asked me what I thought about the future of Internet advertising, and I thought about it for a moment; shrugged my shoulders and mumbled something like, “Sure, but nothing special.”
So much for my powers of prognostication.
The Evolution of Viamedia Ad Sales
Here at Viamedia, our primary business is the sale of local cable TV advertising to those clients looking to capitalize on the geo- and demo-targeting capabilities we offer across 70+ DMAs and numerous sub-DMA local cable zones. We sell traditional, linear cable television spots on hundreds of cable networks (such as ESPN, CNN and TBS) on behalf of our MVPD partners, who are cable and telecommunications service providers, as well as utility companies and municipalities.
Over time, our business model evolved in light of the migration of audiences to ‘all things digital’, whether it be home computers, laptops, tablets, “phablets”, smart phones… you name it. We created an entirely new digital division in 2012 to service our linear TV clients (as well as an entirely new client base) to ensure they reached their key, leverage-able targets whenever and wherever they could be found – a true cross-platform, multi-screen offering .
Today, our digital clients can be classified broadly as:
1) Traditional local cable TV advertisers, who primarily utilize our service to reach specific cable zones, and who extend their geographic coverage (or reinforce it) through the use of the Internet;
2) Non-local cable advertisers, who are not necessarily bound by specific geographies, and who are most interested in reaching specific demographic, psychographic and behavior-graphic targets across the digital spectrum.
Both client groups are now taking advantage of the numerous digital products we offer for sale — such as video pre-roll; display; and “Mobile Ad Messenger”. And in just a few short years, digital’s percentage of total Viamedia advertising dollars has increased well over 6-fold (from 1.4% in 1Q2012, to 9.6% in the most recently completed quarter):
A variation of the above can be seen in the next chart where we have created an index of advertising growth, with the first quarter of 2013 serving as the base year (index = 100). While total (company-wide) advertising has increased 27% (127 Index) over the past two first quarters, Viamedia’s digital advertising is up 83% (183 Index):
Local Cable Advertising Categories
In parsing our local digital revenues by advertising category, we find (in general) a similar pattern to our traditional linear television ad business — but there are a few notable divergences. For example, the automotive category, which captures 26% of total digital ad revenues, represents 39% of traditional TV revenues at Viamedia. The Hardware & Home Improvement category skews in the other direction: 9% of total digital ad dollars vs 6% television.
But note, in particular, the last catch-all category (“All Other / Miscellaneous”) – 23% of total digital ad dollars versus 13% for television.
That is not a random bounce in the data.
We often think of cable television as offering hundreds of specialized networks with unique audience niches that advertisers can capitalize upon. But in the digital world, the number of sites (and unique targets) is nearly limitless! Bottom line: Viamedia’s digital sales team is working with numerous advertisers that cannot be so easily defined by our standard TV ad categories… thus the large percentage of uncategorized digital revenues:
A Growing Suite of Digital Products
Just a few short years ago, we launched our digital sales division devoted primarily to search engine marketing. As viewers migrate across multiple screens, we now offer a full cross-platform suite of digital products for a growing base of advertisers interested in reaching highly refined targets wherever and whenever they can be found.
For more information on Viamedia, visit www.viamediatv.com.
– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia