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Four Ways TV Advertising Will Change During this Decade

lizdebskBy Leszek Izdebski, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

The past few years have brought sweeping transformation to television—a trend that will only accelerate in the coming decade. Following up on a 2011 study on the future of television, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently examined the ways disruptive technology and user behavior trends are impacting TV advertising. We identified four major trends that will transform advertising and the viewer experience.

1. Channels Will Go Away

While we do not believe that all future distribution will be through on-demand unicast technologies, consumers will not think about “channels” as the means of accessing programming. Adoption of video on demand, Intelligent Programming Guides and personal video recorders (PVRs) is shifting viewing from linear broadcasts on a TV screen to a multiscreen, multi-device, multi-modal, on-my-schedule, user-controlled experience. Brands and networks will no longer be able to ensure that ads placed in specific episodes will have sufficient audience reach. This behavioral shift will force advertisers to focus on new forms of addressable advertising: Read More »

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The Future of TV: Coming Soon to a Wall Near You

The future of television may well include holographic, multisensory experiences worthy of science fiction. But many other visionary predictions are closer to the horizon, if not already upon us. These are creating exciting opportunities, while forcing all players in the television value chain to adapt quickly.

Recently, I met via Cisco® TelePresence® with more than 50 journalists from 11 countries—all in Central and Eastern Europe—to discuss the future of television and its impact on these mostly emerging markets. I participated with two of my colleagues: Kate Griffin, from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) service provider practice; and Guillaume de Saint Marc, from Cisco’s service provider video technology group (SPVTG). The roundtable took place over two days and used a Cisco IBSG study, “The Future of Television: Sweeping Change at Breakneck Speed,” as a springboard for discussions that were lively and free-spirited. Read More »

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Tomorrow Isn’t What It Used To Be

The future is not that far out. While it is tempting to say that we’re already connected and that there is not much left to connect, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Internet is increasingly everywhere. There are “only” two billion people in the world online…that leaves five billion and counting to go. Additionally, the number of things connected to the Internet will grow from 13 billion today to 50 billion by the end of the decade. And this means that the number of possible connections between people, things, employees, employers, doctors, patients, businesses, customer, etc., etc., etc., will continue to grow exponentially.  We’ll be creating new connections that we can’t even imagine today, and at a rate we’ve never seen before.

Cisco’s first 30 years have been building the global infrastructure that enables people and companies to connect. Our customers, and our partners that serve them, are driving the innovation on top of our platforms to transform themselves, and their industries.

We know our brand is only as strong as the value we’re able to create with (and for) our customers and partners. And today, our brand has the privilege to be counted as one of the top 20 global brands in the world. We are both proud and humbled by this.

And we feel we are just getting started, as we see the amount of new value creation with our customers increasing every day. While we are proud of our global brand position, we have more work to do to help people understand the role that Cisco plays in bringing powerful connections to the world. To that end, today we are pleased to begin a new relationship with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as our branding and advertising partner moving forward. We are excited to work with this dynamic and innovative team as we further articulate all that Cisco makes possible.

While many have contributed to the success of our brand to date, we’d like to thank Ogilvy and Mather for their partnership and the work they’ve created on our behalf over the last decade. They have been a strong and trusted partner and we wish them the very best.

Cisco played a major role in creating the Internet as we know it today, and we’re playing an equally large role in its future generations. As we connect the previously unconnected, I am certain the years ahead will be even more amazing as the network becomes the platform on which we work, live, play and learn.

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Video that’s viral and possibly even virile

Ah, the power of video.  Witness the virality (and virility?) of the Dollar Shave Club.

Seems like a revolutionary concept, doesn’t it?  And with that David vs. Goliath overtone, it’s downright catnip to the trodden, recession-weary masses.  But, guess what?  Budget blades have been done before.  Several times. (See,, not to mention drugstore knock-off brands.)

So, what made it different this time?

In a word, video.

(4.15 million views on YouTube in a month.)

You can call it social media, too.  Or just a sense of humor.  But the basic fact is, without the video, and the talent it showcases, Dollar Shave Club would not have the big brands shaking in their boardrooms.

Read More »

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Creating Effective Digital Sponsorships through Social Entertainment Experiences


The concept of sponsorships is often confused and intermingled with advertising in the online world. In reality, sponsorships are a different vehicle than traditional display or video advertising and as a result have different objectives for the advertiser and different intended effects on the consumer. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) distinguishes sponsorships from advertising as the following:

In line with the definitions above, a complete site takeover of the NY Times home page by a brand like Coke (that includes a complete buyout of the ad inventory on the page) will be considered a sponsorship. The intent is for Coke to have a stronger brand association with NY Times, which cannot be achieved by the purchase of a simple ad unit.

With their unique nature, sponsorships can pose several issues for publishers:

Technology Issues

Sponsorship placements are not standardized by the IAB

The assumption with sponsorships is that advertisers want to create a truly unique and custom experience on a publisher website or mobile app. While the desire for customization is largely true, there is still a huge demand among advertisers for some standardized sponsorship placements on websites (e.g. page skin, media player skin etc). For this reason, publishers such as ESPN ( and Washington Post ( publish their sponsorship specifications on their website, so the advertiser can pick the one that they want. This standardization enables faster adoption of sponsorships and increase in revenue for the publishers.

Organizational Issues

The custom nature of sponsorships puts strain on the development organization to get them live and running. Unlike traditional advertising, where the ads are remotely served by an ad platform and does require any incremental development work on the publisher end; sponsorships are for the most part implemented as changes on the publisher site. This requires the publisher development team to be involved every time a sponsorship is created or updated. As a result, sponsorships require a longer lead-time and the allocation of scarce development resources.

Publishers have a hard time calculating the ROI, inhibiting further sponsorships. Implementing a sponsorship requires the creative design, engineering, ad operations and marketing organizations on the publisher side to be involved. Given the amount of staff needed to accommodate these sponsorships, the publisher is often at a loss to calculate the ROI on the sponsorship. Therefore, the publisher does not really have the incentive to create additional sponsorships.  Similarly, advertisers don’t have a discrete ROI metric to gauge the impact of their sponsorship outside of traditional reach and view metrics.

Standard IAB Ad units are easier to sell; ad sales know how to sell them; brands know how to buy them. Standardization of IAB ad units have enabled publisher ad sales to easily sell this inventory on their sites, either directly or via ad networks since advertisers know exactly what they are buying. This is not the case with sponsorships; the custom nature of sponsorships implies that the publisher has to engage in a conversation with a potential advertiser to explain the nature of the digital sponsorship, the creative placement etc. As mentioned above, sites such as ESPN and Washington Post have attempted to standardize these placements and in some ways define a standard for their own site.

Cisco Eos and Sponsorships

With its focus on delivering high-value, brand experiences, the creation of digital sponsorships on Cisco Eos websites is greatly simplified by the flexible site customization tools and the separation of the presentation and and application layers. Publishers can leverage Cisco Eos to create and manage digital sponsorships without disrupting the content experience, or day-to-day operations of their websites.

Case Study – Variety Screenings 2010

In a recent implementation, Variety Magazine created an Eos-powered web site to host video content around their Variety Screening Series 2010 ( To enhance the value of the sponsorship of the physical movie screening, Variety enabled three different digital sponsorships (site takeovers) on the home page – Dell, Altoids and West Hollywood Tourism Bureau.

Dell Takeover of the Variety Screenings 2010 Site

Altoids Takeover of the Variety Screenings 2010 Site

Publisher was able to enable three different sponsored versions of the site with rotation of the versions, without making any code changes to the site. The sponsorships were de-coupled from an implementation standpoint from the actual site.

Following are the key benefits of using Cisco Eos to enable digital sponsorships.

o   The site customization tools enable the publisher to create a sponsored version of the site without impacting the live site and without having to make any code changes. Cisco Eos’ versioning capabilities enable the publisher and the advertiser to review the sponsorship site and when ready, make the sponsored site live.

o   Cisco Eos streamlines the process of creating digital sponsorships on a publisher site and turns it more into a creative exercise as opposed to an engineering task.

NOTE: The Variety Screening Series site only implemented site takeovers as a type of sponsorship on the publisher website. However, Cisco Eos is agnostic of the specific type of sponsorship and provides the same flexibility to implement other types of sponsorship (such as player skinning, specific page skinning, module attributions to a brand etc).

Using the flexible design and customization features in Cisco Eos make it easier and more efficient for publishers to offer sponsorships as part of their digital inventory. This empowers them to build more sponsorships more often thereby increasing revenue and reducing costs.

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