RTÉ Player Live Ciarán Norris March 15, 2011BackgroundRTÉ’s highly successful Player has been updated so that viewers can now stream live shows, as wellas using it as a catch-up service. This brings the RTÉ Player in line with similar devices, such asthose of the BBC & ITV in the UK.DetailsVideo on Demand (VoD) has been one of the biggest success stories in terms of driving digitalrevenue to indigenous publishers over the last 18 months. By allowing previously nervous clients,who may have had little experience of online advertising, to essentially replicate a model they knowand understand, the various players have opened up a lot of new opportunities.However, the case is still not 100% made, and the new Live player highlights this: whilst, as with thecatch-up version, a short ad, or pre-roll (usually 10-30 seconds long), plays at the start of theprogramme, when the TV ads are being shown, the online viewer is presented with a blank blackscreen and the words RTÉ.ie Commercial Break. Who said the web was all about engagement?The Live player is likely to increase the already sizeable numbers of people viewing TV contentonline (the RTÉ Player alone claims over 2 million streams a month), which are still growing steadily,which makes it even more important that they are able to back-up the reasons for investing in whatis, when compared directly to TV, a relatively expensive advertising channel.ImplicationsIf the TV stations wish to continue to charge the sort of premium rates that they currently are forPlayers, they need to prove why advertisers should pay them. With 3 minutes of black screen duringa live stream, there are bound to be many, both within the TV stations, and in agencies, askingwhat the true value of such a view is.The first step to answering this is to provide combined ratings, something that 4OD has started todo for many shows, allowing agencies and clients to understand what proportion of an audiencethey would miss out on were they to exclude Players from their plans. When they can do this, theywill have answered a lot of questions, particularly as pre-rolls and other Player formats can’t beskipped.On top of this, they will need to work to provide a standard multiplier, which will be a significantstep on the path to creating a digital version of the GRP. If they are to fill the long black gaps thatcurrently appear when ads are airing on TVs, they’ll need to be able to answer simple questionssuch as how many people are watching, who they are, and what they’re worth to an advertiser.With the likes of Facebook & YouTube entering the long-form content space, and able to providedata on the value of the interactions that surround the viewing experience, and the BBC’s iPlayerapp likely to launch outside of the US sooner rather than later, local suppliers will need to startboxing more clever if they want to keep agencies and advertisers interested in this indigenoussuccess story.