NewFronts Debrief: Vudu

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Mindshare’s Grace Smith, Director, Digital Media Investment, shares her insights from Vudu’s Upfront.

1) The talent onstage:

  • Stefanie Jay, General Manager, WMG
  • Jeremy Verba, VP & General Manager, Vudu
  • Scott Blanksteen, COO, Vudu
  • Ben Simon, Head of Video Ad Sales, Vudu

2) The announcements caught your eye:

  • Vudu is offering shoppable dynamic ads within the OTT environment, which allows the viewer to add-to-cart seamlessly without interrupting experience.
  • Second big announcement was that WMG is offering an audience extension for OTT allowing advertisers to leverage Walmart Media Group’s first party data across multiple OTT providers outside of Vudu (will announce who those partners are in coming months.)
  • Lastly, they are launching a slew of original content this year with a major focus on programming centered around Early Childhood, Kids Programming, Co-Viewing, and Parents (very skewed to family, almost exclusively).

3) Implications for marketers:

  • Our current digital ecosystem and the way it is evolving, makes it so that we can no longer rely on predicable models. Marketers need to work harder to make relevant connections with customers along their entire path-to-purchase journey. WMG’s partnership and network expansion with Vudu allows advertisers to leverage their unique first party deterministic data across a channel that has traditionally been considered upper funnel. It gives advertisers the ability to tie in a purchase/ retailer specific message, and the ability to track sales (online & offline) within the Walmart ecosystem. This means, that we can measure impact of our upper funnel tactics through a lower funnel KPI. That is to say, we will be able to measure the impact of an OTT investment by not just reach and brand awareness, but also much sales it drove at Walmart.

4) Challenge for the publisher:

  • The biggest challenge for the publisher would be scale. Their partnership with other OTT providers should increase that scale, but to what extent, it’s not very clear. They hang their hat on their partnership with Walmart and how Walmart is the largest American retailer, but it may not necessarily translate to Vudu’s user base.

5) What was different about this NewFront?

  • OTT is typically leveraged as an upper funnel tactic, and this NewFront disrupted that by focusing predominantly on how it can drive sales at a retailer level. 

6) Anything else we should know?

  • Vudu is leveraging their partnership with Walmart to drive the point home that Vudu offers exactly what Walmart offers, which is efficiency and quality. They’ve adapted Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better” into the OTT space and is pushing forward the message of “Save Money. Watch Better.” Knowing that viewers want cheap but great viewing experience, they are offering an extensive list of content (including their own) with less commercials compared to linear TV.

In a week filled with lots of content, sales pitches, and very little sleep, Mindshare is bringing you a debrief on some of the biggest NewFront events with the implications for marketers, the challenges for publishers, and more. Check back every day for more debriefs.