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This is “Internet Week” in New York City as MediaPost hosts a series of conferences on the heels of the the second annual Digital Content Newsfronts. This is the Internet industry’s answer to broadcast and cable television’s “Upfronts” where the major networks hype the new shows and build advertiser and agency interest in committing to making buys. Yesterday’s session focused on Internet video with a full day’s agenda packed with agency, interactive ad network, publisher and brand speakers. The bottom line, online video is a serious business at the national and regional level. For those selling online video to local accounts, the data coming out of yesterday’s session shows extremely strong validation for three things: (1) Online video works…to engage and give brand and sales lift; (2) traditional television is still the benchmark of excellence in video advertising; and (3) online video complements broadcast video to drive even higher lift.

Vinoo Vijay, EVP/CMO for TD Bank kicked off the day by highlighting an innovative online video brand campaign to drive the image of TD as a bank with “human values.” The successful online video campaign owed much to social media. As Vijay said, “If the videos are compelling, they will be shared. We figure people will find good stuff.” TD leverages their online video through Twitter, Facebook and their website. TD’s goal was to drive home their image as a bank that understands and cares about people. TD Bank finds online video to be an excellent investment to drive strong brand values for their “stores” (they prefer calling their bank branch offices “stores”).

comScore’s Josh Chasin, chief research officer, spoke to the issue of how to best measure cross-platform video campaigns. Joined by TVB’s Stacey Lunn Schulmann (chief research officer); Adam Shlachter, SVP Media, Digitas and Tony Jarvis, Olympic Media Consultancy, the answer clearly is some measure of Gross Rating Points (GRPs). That’s the easy part. The hard part is which of several definitions of GRPs to use. Nonetheless, GRPs are and will continue to be the essential metric for buying and selling cross-platform video.

Another panel considered the role of Real Time Bidding and programmatic buying in video, where some see a huge movement especially for pre-roll video. However, the panel including speakers from YuMe, TubeMogul and Lenovo, concluded that “context matters” and will trump RTB platforms. Premium video content establishes a context and value over and above the kind of value targeting by RTB and programmatic buy can offer.

What will online video look like next – is there room for innovation or is the sense that it’s better to standardize on fewer video ad formats? While there is strong support for going with standards, and notes of appreciation went IAB’s way for their leadership here, another panel concluded, “bring on the innovation.”  Speakers from AOL Video, VivaKi, Dynamic Logic, AdoTube, Innovid and Tribal while giving measured praise to the necessity of having some standards in video ad formats, the medium is too exciting to be stifled. Michelle Eule from Dynamic Logic in particular, spoke to the virtues of IAB’s new portrait video ad unit as a type of inventory that offered a lot of creativity and flexibility for agencies and brands.

BIA/Kelsey estimates local online video ad sales will grow at a 35% CAGR through 2017 to about $5 billion. Seeing the energy, commitment and excitement around online video cross-platform from speaker after speaker, we’re confident that the local online video market will benefit from innovations in ad units, measurement, successful case studies and of course, higher spending in online video as local businesses continue to get more experience with this ad format.

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