Pfizer Extends Campaign on MSN Video Into 2005

  |  November 12, 2004   |  Comments

Decision based on study claiming streaming online video 'as effective as television.'

In a market expected to quintuple in the next five years, advertisers are growing increasingly bullish about the results they expect from streaming video ads online.

A case in point: Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, on the basis of an independent study conducted by Millward Brown, has opted to extend its streaming video advertising campaign with MSN Video through the end of 2005.

In a burst of enthusiasm that didn't include the hard figures of the study or any campaign details, Pfizer claimed the study indicates streaming online video ads "are equally as effective as television" in creating brand interest, communicating a distinctive message and influencing viewers.

"This study was the catalyst for us to enter the broadband arena in an innovative new way to connect with consumers," said Kaki Hinton, vice president of advertising for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

"What we're excited about is having a major brand like Pfizer supporting MSN Video," MSN General Manager of North America Ad Sales Steve Moss told ClickZ at an MSN party in New York last night for clients and agency folks. Todd Herman, the company's streaming media evangelist, added MSN is courting the top 100 TV advertisers.

While the comparison of online streaming ads to TV spots strikes some analysts as over-exuberant, there's little doubt about the explosive growth expected from the sector in the coming years.

"I've yet to see any convincing evidence that online video advertising is as effective as television," said Nate Elliott, associate analyst for JupiterResearch. "However, I do think it's the most effective online ad tool for branding. Online video opens the eyes of traditional buyers who have never purchased online to consider buying online."

According to Jupiter Research, streaming video will account for $121 million in advertising sales this year, and will increase five-fold by 2009 to $657 million.

Launched officially in January 2004, MSN Video integrates advertising spots within MSN Video's broadband content of news, sports, entertainment and other broadband content.

"As consumers spend more viewing time online, leading brand advertisers are shifting as dollars into products like MSN Video to reach audiences online," said MSN's Moss.

With broadband connectivity estimated at between 30 and 40 percent of all online users in the United States, a total of 5.6 billion video streams were counted in the first half of 2004, said Paul Palumbo, research director for AcuStream. Eighty percent of that total took place over broadband connections.

"What all of this indicates to me is that streaming video ads are as effective, if not more effective than television ads," Palumbo said. "It's a very different experience online.

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