PBS Interactive, PBS Marketing & Communications, Iowa Public Television, KPBS, KLRU, PBS SoCal, WGVU and WTTW are working together on a Prosper/COVE experiment. The goal of this experimental pilot is to create effective 'call to donate' pre-roll ads tailored to an online audience. We began work on this idea several months ago by collaborating on a creative brief for the pre-roll ads. We wanted to create something a little more unconventional than traditional television promos. The 15 second pre-roll ads give instructions to click on a donation link that will be tied directly to that local station’s fundraising page.
Angela Lunter, PBS Director of Online Sponsorship & Monetization, notes “PBS is always looking for ways to help stations increase their financial support, be it from viewers or corporate sponsors and underwriters. This experiment enables us to tie direct donation solicitations to use of PBS online video”. Tammy Carpowich, KPBS' Director of Interactive Strategies explained that by working with PBS, her station will hopefully be able to “start monetizing their online video portals with a lot less risk than if they set out on their own.”
Chris Walz, PBS Director of Brand Strategy, says his team was “encouraged by the station participants to take some risks and come up with concepts that were clever and unexpected and, dare I say, funny.” In total, five pre-roll videos were created for this test. Three that will be paired with drama, nature or science content and two that mimic “viewer advisories”. Lunter will be comparing the results for each genre of pre-roll videos, along with click through rates and actual donor conversions. Her findings should be ready at the end of October and, if things go successfully, she hopes PBS Interactive can roll this Prosper initiative out to all stations.