Madison Avenue’s Frustration with Online Video: Quality is “Complete Crap,” top WPP Exec

By on 11/06/2009 6:46 AM @beet_tv

Despite the commanding position of YouTube, with 40 percent of video streams in the U.S., the quality of the environment for advertisers is not always acceptable, according to leading digital advertising executives.

Rob Norman, CEO of WPP’s giant GroupM Interaction, the digital media buying group, says that despite the availability of high quality video ads to go up on the Web, the technical quality and environment of sites like YouTube is not acceptable. He says the current environment is “complete crap.”  (His comments come at the end of this clip.)

GroupM says it is the world’s largest media buying company, with billings of $60 billion.

Ogilvy’s Robert Davis and Digitas’ John McCarus discuss the value of YouTube as a powerful distribution platform with value and limitations.

YouTube has recently increased the number of pre-roll ads and has expanded its relationship with many ad agencies.

This is an excerpt from last month’s Beet.TV Online Video Roundtable held at the New York offfices of msnbc.com. 

Moderating this section is Michael Learmonth, reporter for Advertising Age.  Michael recently reported how consumer package goods are using online video advertising in a big way.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

Video Transcript

Michael Learmonth:  Eric Smith said yesterday or the day before that YouTube is now doing business with 90 of the top 100 AdAge, top advertisers. What are your clients saying about YouTube? What, if anything, are they doing on YouTube, and do you think YouTube has figured out the scalable model that’s going to work for them?

John McCarus: 
Well, I would say for Digitas and the Third Act, which is our brand content platform, that we’re very much working with YouTube as a distribution partner. I think one of the challenges is they spent some time trying to dabble in the content business and I’m not so sure if that’s an area where they can see a lot of sucess.

Michael Learmonth:
  Well, they had one big go with that, right? And they said they were going to do more and it just didn’t happen.

John McCarus:  Yeah, and look, they’re a terrific distribution network and a terrific technology platform and what we have to remember on the web is that, unlike in broadcast television, we have the opportunity and challenge for packaging all of this ourselves as clients and advertisers. It is, with the right thinking, successful and many times the best solution. So we are putting YouTube together with the right content solutions and have actually some big programs that will be announced shortly.

Robert Davis:  Yeah, I think, you know, not to comment on their business model, that’s whatever they try to do, they try to do, right? Now, it’s essential. They own so much of the market that it’s essential for clients to be there, to be well represented. Are they the end-all, be-all? No, but they own 40% of the views, so you deal with them and then you deal with the other 60% as you can.

What I see as I look around at YouTube though, is that it’s not being used to its fullest extent. I’m amazed at the poor quality of video that’s being posted. And that’s not YouTube’s fault, that’s the fault of the people putting up the video…

Michael Learmonth:  Well it’s their fault that they don’t surface the good stuff, right?

Robert Davis:  Well no, just even technical quality, forget even content. I’m just looking at it, going, “If somebody put that on TV looking that way, they’d be fired.” Why is it acceptable? Full gamut. Why is that acceptable online? So I think there’s things that we, as an industry, need to start realizing that YouTube is probably more powerful than we’re making itself.

Rob Norman:  So it’s maybe ironic when you look at YouTube, and we’ve now got this host of HD delivery systems. If you actually looked up, it’s possible that today is lower proportion of all video that’s consumed is consumed at the highest possible quality that was available than ever before. Because, although we’ve got HD and we’ve got a whole load of ads in HD, we’ve also got millions and millions of pieces of video being consumed in a customer delivery quality that’s complete crap. It’s kind of interesting.

Recent Videos
image
Pitchapalooza: Media Change is Driving Agency Reviews

CANNES — What is the sound of $25 billion changing hands? It’s enough to prompt a sharp in-take of breath from ad agency execs. That is the amount at stake after many of the world’s biggest brands recently began reviewing their long-held agency relations. Why are the brands putting ...

image
Hulu’s Hopkins: We are the Biggest Ad-Supported Video Play in the Living Room

CANNES –  Hulu, the giant video portal supported by three of the four U.S. television networks, has become the biggest ad-supported, IP-delivered platform in the living room, says Mike Hopkins, CEO in this interview with Beet.TV Regarding advertising, he says that Hulu has found the right mix of ...

image
Artificial Intelligence Technology Poised to Rock Ad Business: PHD’s Cooper

CANNES —  Artificial intelligence is poised to become one of the biggest changes wrought by technology in the advertising business in the years ahead, says Mike Cooper, CEO Worldwide of PHD, in this interview with Beet.TV.  “In ten to fifteen years time, artificial intelligence will take ...

image
How Bank of America Is Reaching Millennials via Vice and Pinterest

CANNES — In an effort to reach millennials, Bank of America turned to a platform and a publisher that people don’t closely associate with financial services: Pinterest and Vice. The conversation with Vice CEO Shane Smith began in Cannes a year earlier and led to a video series the bank is sponsoring ...

image
Civolution’s Teletrax Focuses On TV-Synced Digital Ads

CANNES — After Philips bought out its part-owned UK video watermarking company Teletrax in 2008, it rolled it up in to a new unit called Civolution, which also offered TV event audience measurement and second screen functionality. Now Civolution has sold off the latter pieces to Kantar, it is ...

image
E-commerce Huge: Our Competitor is Walmart, Not other Media Agencies, GroupM Chair Irwin Gotlieb

CANNES — The ad spend on paid media has dramatically dropped over the decades, representing one of the biggest evolutions in the marketing business, Group M’s Irwin Gotlieb tells Maria Mandel, VP Marketing at AT&T AdWorks, during this leadership session with AT&T AdWorks on “The ...

image
Big Change in Video Ad Format with the Rise of Vertical (Portrait), GroupM’s Rob Norman Explains...

CANNES — Social platforms have made some big announcements in recent weeks, with both Twitter’s Project Lightning and Snapchat’s 3v Advertising due to usher in auto-playing, full-screen videos. You might expect that vertically-oriented video would present a challenge to advertisers, who, ...

image
Omnicom And Partners Push Ads To Drive Commerce: Nelson

CANNES — A common theme out of the recent Cannes Lions advertising festival is advertisers’ quest to turn messages in to actual ecommerce sales. That’s what agency Omnicom’s digital CEO Jonathan Nelson is shooting for, too, with big partners. “We’re huge partners with ...

image
How Choice Enhances Ad Engagement: true[X]’s Levy

CANNES — TV ads aren’t as effective as they could be online because viewers instinctively want to be able to exert choices over otherwise passive content. That’s according to an ad exec whose company enables that functionality. “We have incredible budgets for television commercials. ...

image
VivaKi’s Bertozzi Sees Advertisers’ Programmatic Confusion Dissipating

CANNES — The rise of automated, super-targeted advertising known as “programmatic” has been complex and fast. Sometimes, ad tech players have not helped themselves by obfuscating their offering in obtuse language. But one of the key execs in the space says he observers advertisers ...

image
Yahoo Now Reaches 188 Million Video Viewers: Utzschneider

CANNES — Yahoo arrived at Cannes last month ready to talk about video and programmatic. Lisa Utzschneider, the company’s SVP-Sales, Americas, observed that Yahoo’s video offerings now run the gamut from long-form original content (such as a custom opportunity for Honda in “Community”) to short ...

image
Ad Fraud Is An Erupting Volcano: Bank of America’s Paskalis

CANNES — After a couple of years of estimates that upwards of 30% to 50% of online ad impressions may have been fraudulently served by nefarious bots, it has begun to seem like platforms have gotten across the problem. Try telling that to Lou Paskalis, who holds the marketing purse strings as Bank of ...

loader