AOP Summit 2011: No 'paradigm shift' from TV to VoD, says Hazlitt

Fru Hazlitt took to the stage at the AOP Summit this morning to explain why linear TV and video-on-demand are complementary and discuss how the scattergun approach to advertising is giving way to one-to-one targeting.

Fru Hazlitt: addresses the AOP Summit 2011
Fru Hazlitt: addresses the AOP Summit 2011

Opening today's Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Summit the managing director of commercial and online at ITV, Hazlitt said she disagreed that there was a "paradigm shift" from linear TV to video-on-demand and other formats should instead be seen as complementary.

Hazlitt said: "A more scattergun approach is giving way to one-to-one targeted adverting. In replacement of one-way traffic we have opportunity to stimulate dialogue between advertisers and consumer and that could lead to transaction.

"How powerful is that? The TV platform starts the conversation that ends in a sale."

ITV has been criticised in the past for not making the most of its digital media but since Hazlitt started at the broadcaster in August last year there has been an improved focus on its online business.

Hazlitt cited examples such as Argos and Emmerdale, which use an enhanced 30-second slot that referenced plotlines in the soap, coupled with a digital mechanic to drive engagement, to explain how TV and digital can work together.

Hazlitt said: "This is not about a car replacing a horse, this is about complementary stuff. The way I see it multiplatform has presented us with an enormous opportunity. TV has had a resurgence.

"The conversation that starts with 'The X Factor' and 'The Only Way is Essex' can be continued and our job is to make sure we can monetise that. To say 'let's move TV to something that is inclusive and interactive' takes advantages of the mass audiences with the interactivity we can deliver."

Hazlitt also showcased the interactive ads on ITV.com that allow users to skip ads and go straight to the content they want, if they answer questions about the brands correctly.

However, video-on-demand does not deliver the same scale as linear TV. For example, in the last year ITV delivered one billion video-on-demand ad impressions compared to 350 billion TV ad impressions.

"That's what we’re dealing with, but we're scaling up fast," Hazlitt said.

In the past 12 months ITV's on demand offer has grown 60%, Hazlitt said, and the viewing of long-form video content has grown 95% year on year in the last few weeks, driven by shows such as 'The X Factor'.

As part of ITV chief executive Adam Crozier's five-year transformation plan ITV is looking to diversify its business model and reduce its dependence on the cyclical nature of airtime spot revenue.

Hazlitt said she believed there are substantial opportunities beyond the core advertising model – from ecommerce, gaming and viewers paying for content directly – and content owners should "embrace the chance to diversify".

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