In a recent article entitled “Netflix and Other Streaming Platforms Are Embracing Ads—but Will the Advertisers Love Them,” Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Vranica took a critical look at the streaming advertising landscape. NBCUniversal President and Chief Business Officer Krishan Bhatia didn’t take too kindly to the piece, and penned a lengthy response criticizing the WSJ’s coverage.
Let’s take a closer look at what Bhatia had to say.
Bhatia’s Response to WSJ Coverage
In his response, Bhatia lays out several arguments in support of his position. First, he points to the fact that NBCU was one of the first major media companies to jump into streaming with both feet. He argues that this gave them a tremendous amount of insight and experience in how to navigate these waters. Second, Bhatia contends that while it is true that running ads on streaming services remains challenging, this is not unique to streaming – all forms of digital advertising come with their own set of challenges. The key, he says, is to focus on the opportunities and not get bogged down by the challenges.
Bhatia argues that the media has been fixated on streaming challenges, and giving scant attention to the progress and advantages already in the marketplace. He stresses the progress already made in the streaming sector, and contrasts it with the challenges that traditional television faces.
While it’s true that there are still some challenges when it comes to streaming advertising—such as lack of ad inventory and advanced measurement capabilities—Bhatia makes a valid point that the industry has come a long way in a short period of time. And as more and more people continue to cut the cord and ditch traditional television for streaming services, it’s only going to become more important for marketers to understand how to reach this growing audience.
Bhatia also argues that it is short-sighted to think of streaming as just another avenue for TV advertising. He points out that streaming provides a unique opportunity to reach viewers who are time-shifting or cord-cutting. In other words, streaming offers a way to reach audiences who are traditionally difficult to reach through traditional TV channels. This, he argues, is a huge opportunity that should not be ignored.
It will be interesting to see how this back-and-forth between NBCUniversal and the WSJ plays out. Will other national press outlets weigh in? Only time will tell. In the meantime, CMOs should keep an eye on this story, as it provides valuable insight into how one of the largest media companies in the world is approaching streaming advertising.