So i’m playing around with an idea … i wouldnt mind some thoughts, builds ideally rather than something which pulls apart the very fabric of my self confidence . . .
I’m going to make a slightly shady football analogy. There I’ve said it, its out there. The evolving world of AV content consumption and AV media planning and buying is a little like Total Football. In fact it probably needs to be viewed more in this way than is currently happening. So I’m going to suggest we should start talking about TAV (Total Audio-Visual), TAVRs (Total Audio Visual Ratings) and most (more) importantly TAVB (Total Audio Visual Behaviours).
Now of course Nielsen are trying to drag people (some of them not very happily it would appear) into a world of Total Audio Visual Ratings with their XCR measure(s). That will be helpful in a number of ways, but I’m actually more interested in the simple TAV concept and the TAVB idea, here is why.
So, Total Football, according to Wikipedia (that denizen of precise, clear and correct definitions) is:
Total Football (Dutch: totaalvoetbal) is the label given to an influential tactical theory of football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. It was pioneered by Dutchfootball club Ajax from 1969 to 1973, and further used by the Netherlands National Football Team in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. It was invented by Rinus Michels, who was the coach of both Ajax and the Netherlands national team at the time.
The theory is “any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team”, the reality was somewhat different. Whilst playing for two of the key proponents of Total Football in the 60’s & 70’s Johan Cruyff scored 190 goals in 240 appearances for Ajax and 33 goals in 48 appearances for the Netherlands. Why? Because he was a great attacking midfielder or forward (in fact European Player of the Century in 1999). It wasn’t the centre back that scored those goals, it was the person best placed to score the goals based on his skillset. So yes, there was a (fairly high) interchange between positions, but there was also some pretty clear precision about what those players interchanging were really skilled at. The same is true of the Barca teams of Pep Guardiola who played a version of Total Football called Tikka-Takka.
So here is where the analogy matters: Total Football was a system. It viewed the whole and made decisions about where best to deploy resources on the basis of what it saw happening in front of it at the time (so on the basis of actual human behavior, so it had a reason Why). Communications and within it Total AV are systems and we need to start applying systems thinking to them all, to understand the behaviours around the system and how they effect each other and inter-relate.
In AV terms (the total system is for another time) this starts, but certainly doesn’t finish with a total view of screen consumption. Now this can be quantified. There are tools to do it. You don’t need these to be single source – use BARB, along with clickstream, comscore, whatever. The actual key here is NOT looking at platform based consumption but starting to ask the behavioural question of why. People don’t watch VOD. They choose pull a piece of content down from “the cloud” for a reason, people don’t watch YouTube, they amuse themselves with skateboarding cats one minute and educate themselves with TED talks the next, they listen to music videos and get make up tips. Each of these is a very different behavior. Possibly (I shudder to suggest) there is an archetype-based approach to this, which may help. Either way, some codification is important. Lean back vs lean forward isn’t clean enough (and it isn’t quite behavioural driver oriented).
Once you start looking at the why of content consumption you start to much better understand the brand communications opportunity (or lack of one). One of the many reasons for the vast sums of money spent by brands ending in invisible YouTube videos is because they aren’t asking themselves “why, in what mode, for what reason, would anyone be interested is consuming this amazing edifice” (that along with the fact that the assumption is people can find it, organic video discoverability being a huge myth).
You also start to understand the role for brand content in its broadest sense (ie the church that ranges from advertsing to AFP via SEO and Facebook video uploads). When you can sense the role for brand & branded (different things) content then you can start to unpick the system that your brand needs to deploy.
Why does this matter? Two reasons, one intrinsic to our roles moving forward, one an extrinsic force, which has been central to our roles for at least half a decade now:
The extrinsic force is that the great media behemoths of the twenty first century (Facebook, YouTube (&Google)) are audio visual businesses. They are a key component of the system, and they are about to get really serious about their role. Yes it does matter whether teens are moving away from Facebook in their droves right now, but what arguably matters more is the business Facebook looks like it is in. Increasingly that is the broadcast AV business.
Finally back to the Dutch football analogy, this matters because you can’t effect a system you don’t understand. To understand a system you need to understand what creates the flow through it. To understand what creates flow you have to understand the “Why” of human behavior. You don’t understand human behavior until you ask questions beyond media intensity and start codifying those behaviours in a human manner rather than a “time spent” intensity manner, which is an interesting fact, but a shonky argument for anything.