Startup Says Streaming Ads Need Hollywood-like Production

Another player is looking to break into streaming media advertising, but says its value proposition comes from the quality of the message — and not the technology serving it.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Flicker Media’s solution is based on RealNetworks’ RealVideo streaming technology. However, through proprietary techniques, Flicker Media said its streams don’t compromise commercials’ production quality.

And that’s important because it has Hollywood-level production and directorial personnel on staff.

The company said relationships with Hollywood talent agencies give it access to the kind of entertaining, creative skill that encourages eyeballs — which is what it says has been lacking in streaming media advertising.

“There’s a production value associated with [our] relationships,” said Flicker Media founder Jonah Hillman. “We have Hollywood directors … and producers working alongside programmers. That establishes a level of quality previously unseen on the Internet.”

Of course, the proliferation of all streaming content is contingent on the widening availability of high-speed Internet access. However, Hillman said he’s confident that advertisers and agencies will come flocking to his solution, passing over competitors in the fledgling market thanks to Flicker’s high quality.

The company also has a fairly unique distribution model — integrating its own media planning and buying into creative work, with the result that ads are specifically targeted to the Web publisher. For instance, an ad — which it calls a “Flicker” — for swimming attire would be designed for posting on the U.S. Swimming Team’s homepage.

That’s in marked contrast to other rich media firms like Bluestreak and EyeWonder, which are seeking to gain traction for their solutions by partnering with broad-reach online ad networks.

“We design the streaming media campaigns from the ground up, and the media buy in a very targeted fashion,” Hillman said. “It’s the opposite of TV advertising, which creates a very vague message and broadcasts it out to both consumers it apples to, and consumers it doesn’t apply to.”

While four-month-old Flicker Media has yet to land any clients, and it is going up against some entrenched competitors (Bluestreak recently secured an investment and partnership with AOL Time Warner) Hillman said Flicker Media is itself “negotiating with several large advertisers” and agencies.

But regardless of whether Flickers ever take off, Hillman reiterates an often-repeated shortcoming of online marketers — who have often been criticized for paying too much attention to the technology and not the content behind Web advertising.

“About 50 percent of the traditional ad agencies have totally ignored the Internet … because the production value has not been there,” he said. “There’s no way a four- to six- cell animation is going to sell a Lincoln Navigator. We are used to Hollywood-style special effects.”

Similarly, “Flash and JavaScript [compression technology] do not have the production value to service multinational clients and product lines,” Hillman added. “This is big business.”

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