BARB’s beta BVOD Planner brings benefits to the industry

5 October 2020
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The ability of television broadcasters to reach and communicate with the UK population has always been strong, and these opportunities have only been enhanced by the availability of broadcasters’ own video-on-demand (BVOD) services. The launch of these services on TV sets and across other media devices mean that viewers can access their favourite content in ways that suit them.

Advertisers need to be able to plan BVOD alongside linear campaigns

For commercial broadcasters, this also means that advertising opportunities are now available across their linear and BVOD services. Advertisers, agencies and broadcasters need industry tools to be able to confidently plan delivery of BVOD alongside linear campaigns. In response to this need BARB developed the beta BVOD Planner, launched in June 2020 with the support of TechEdge and RSMB. Media agencies and broadcasters are already able to see the benefits of this integrated approach.

Alex Debenham-Burton, VP, Head of Reservation Media at agency Essence:

“Broadcast TV and Broadcast VOD are not two separate channels – it is the same content being consumed just on different platforms and is mainly and increasingly watched on the same ‘big’ screen. Arguably, the biggest TV planning frustration of recent years has been that we cannot readily access BARB-standard BVOD data in the same way as we can for linear TV and crunch those data via the same tools. The interim solution that BARB have released has given us the opportunity to do this via TechEdge K2 and has allowed for us to take a more efficient approach, with insightful results.”

Matt Hill from Thinkbox also welcomes the arrival of the new tool:

“As TV viewing is increasingly redistributing, from linear TV into video on demand, BARB’s new BVOD planning tool is a crucial step forward for the TV industry. Historically, the IPA TouchPoints channel planner and agencies’ own planning tools have helped fill the knowledge gap around the optimal mix of linear TV and broadcaster VOD in order to maximise TV campaign reach. This new tool from BARB now provides an even more sophisticated means of planning.”

By combining data from IPA TouchPoints and monthly ad-impression data from broadcasters with BARB’s gold-standard panel and census data, the tool can be used to calculate BVOD reach and frequency across TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones, for any target audience available in BARB data. The BARB BVOD Planner is the first joint-industry tool designed specifically to support planning of campaigns across a range of channels and BVOD services, and thus help plan total TV performance.

“The tool helps demonstrate the vital importance of BVOD alongside linear TV” says Matt.

Advertisers are already seeing the benefits of BARB’s beta BVOD Planner

By using the combined data, planners can run multiple scenarios to optimise the reach of their campaigns, and thus deliver better value to clients.

Yasmin Locke, Director, Media Activation at Essence, gives an example:

“We have used the tool for our current campaigns, and also to inform our thinking for the future, based on earlier campaigns.”

Yasmin continues: “Historically, we had planned a campaign for a client at £2m, with blends at 90% / 10% across TV / BVOD. This delivered 78% 1+ cover for ABC1 Adults. By running a range of blends in the beta BVOD Planner, our analysis showed that altering the mix of linear TV and BVOD commercials would offer the client options to maintain or increase reach and frequency, for a range of budgets. A campaign we recently planned for one of our clients incurred a budget cut, and by re-attributing the TV and Video blends with the reduced spend we were able to reach the same 1+ cover for Adults 16-34.”

These learnings can be used to inform future planning decisions across campaigns, including for wider target groups. “We are very interested to understand the impact of BVOD on campaign reach for older audiences, from 55+” says Yasmin.

BARB’s BVOD Planner can’t stand still

The beta-testing process has also allowed for users to feedback to BARB areas where future improvements can be made. A key ask for agencies would be for the tool to offer the optimal split of ad-placement. “At the moment, we prescribe the levels and run multiple iterations to compare the various results and work out the optimal splits both within and across the various channel and service mixes. The ability for the tool to recommend optimal splits based on cover or discrete frequency requirements with bespoke client costs would be an interesting and welcome development” says the team at Essence.

Feedback like this and from others across the industry means that BARB is adding budget optimisation to the next iteration of the Planner, alongside other enhancements to make it even more useful to advertisers, agencies and broadcasters alike. These are expected to be available in early 2021.

The beta BVOD Planner is available to BARB-subscribing IPA agencies and advertisers, and BARB underwriters via TechEdge. Please contact Jim Jarrett for more information.