Taking ROO to Europe
ROO, now known as KIT digital, was one of the early pioneers of online video publishing and distribution. Formed in 2001 and publicly listed in 2003, ROO was enjoying a position of market leadership in the US and Australia by 2006, serving over 80 million streams per month and boasting syndicated content deals with Fox News, Reuters, Associated Press, ABC News and 20th Century Fox among others.
But having entered the UK market in late 2006, its brand profile in Europe was low and ROO was facing stiff competition from the likes of Narrowstep, Brightcove and Vividas. A high-impact PR campaign was required to support ROOâ€™s aggressive and ambitious expansion plans for Europe.
Liberate Media was appointed by ROO in December 2006 to handle a trial PR project announcing its partnership with VNU Business Publications. During the development of this project, two additional and urgent announcements surfaced for deals that had just been secured with MGN Digital (namely www.mirror.co.uk) and News Corpâ€™s investment in ROO Group. Liberate Media jumped to the challenge and managed all three announcements in co-ordination with ROOâ€™s US PR agency Kwittken, receiving excellent levels of coverage in both territories.
It was clear that the culture fit was a good one, and ROO was impressed with Liberate Mediaâ€™s commitment and immediate successes. From January 2007, Liberate Media was hired on a retainer basis to officially â€˜launchâ€™ ROO to the European digital and broadcast industries.
ROOâ€™s primary PR objective for the UK was simple: to raise its trade profile as quickly as possible to the level of awareness that it was enjoying in the US, and to subsequently position itself as a key player within the online video industry.
An intensive launch campaign was required that would incorporate a steady stream of scheduled news announcements around client wins, technology innovations and company growth stories, to assert ROOâ€™s stake in the market. Big brand stories were key and over the first three months Liberate Media successfully announced partnerships with Northern & Shell (Publishers of the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK!), MTVu and GMTV among others. This strategy ensured that target journalists were quickly made aware of ROOâ€™s entrance into the marketplace, and they soon became hungry for exclusives on new deals that were being signed.
Differentiating ROO from its heavyweight competitors who were making a lot of â€˜noiseâ€™ within the media was another important challenge for the campaign. To achieve this, Liberate Media focused on evidencing the strength of ROOâ€™s proprietary backend technology that had been in development for the past five years â€“ a message that its competitors could not compete with. Key journalists were offered joint interview opportunities with ROO and its big brand clients such as The Sun, The Mirror and GMTV, to discuss product development and technology innovations in the pipeline. At the time online video advertising and distribution was still in its infancy within the UK and a hot topic for the trade media in particular. The opportunity to discuss this subject with leading media owners and a large player like ROO was extremely well received by journalists, and proved a highly successful campaign tactic.
Establishing a position of thought leadership in the UK was also high on the wish list for ROO, but in reality would take longer to achieve. As a first step, Liberate Media undertook a â€˜rapid responseâ€™ project for ROO, whereby industry issues were monitored on a daily basis to identify breaking comment opportunities for key company spokespeople. By reacting quickly ROO became rapidly engaged within industry debate, and within a matter of months its share of voice in the trade media was already matching that of its key competitors Narrowstep and Brightcove.
By the summer of 2007, the PR campaign was already generating direct business leads for ROO, including Universal Music, and media opportunities were coming through thick and fast. Despite its recent entrance into the UK market, the industry had already begun to view ROO as market leader in online video distribution.
In light of the campaignâ€™s success, Liberate Media suggested a shift in the PR strategy after the first six months to focus more intently on establishing ROO as a trusted thought leader, and move debate to the next level. The ROO brand was now well known within the UK owing to the steady news-flow that had been carefully managed by the PR team, and so the foundations were in place for ROOâ€™s senior VP of Europe, Tony Martin, to take discussions to a wider national consumer audience. The objective behind this approach was to raise awareness of ROO beyond the broadcast and digital media industries and reach a new audience demographic of potential clients, as well as the end user.
In addition, Liberate Media identified the need for a trusted educator within the online video market, with there being much confusion around best practice for online video advertising in particular. Tony Martin was eager to embrace the challenge, and so the PR team worked closely with him to develop a targeted speaker and events programme. High profile speaker slots were secured at events such as Streaming Media Europe and C21 Future Media, which opened the doors to column and opinion piece opportunities with key publications. As testimony to the educator status that the PR campaign had secured for ROO, the company was commended for its leadership and innovation within the introduction to NMAâ€™s Top 100 Interactive Agencies Guide in 2007.
By the end of 2007, ROOâ€™s aggressive expansion plans were being realised, and PR was acknowledged internally as the largest contributing factor to this business success. Sadly, Liberate Mediaâ€™s relationship with ROO was brought to an end in early 2008 when the company was taken over by a group of investors, and re-branded as KIT digital.
- Successfully launched the ROO brand within the UK and Europe
- Assisted ROO with its ambitious European expansion plans by delivering big brand new business leads directly through PR e.g. Universal Music
- Positioned Tony Martin and senior figures as trusted thought leaders in online video distribution and advertising
- Seized media share of voice from Brightcove and Narrowstep within a six-month period
- Championed best practice for online video advertising within the European market, effectively educating the industry on this new emerging market
- Evidenced ROOâ€™s strength in technology, which led to several award accolades
- Co-ordinated ROOâ€™s European partner announcements on a global scale, working efficiently with ROOâ€™s US PR team
Broad range of media coverage, consistently appearing in:
- Nationals â€“ FT, Media Guardian, Times Online, BBC News Online
- Trade â€“ C21 Media, NMA, Revolution, Media Week, Marketing Week
- Online â€“ Journalism.co.uk, Brand Republic, Netimperative
Over 50 media interviews completed with the first six months of the campaign.
Thought leadership areas:
- The challenges of getting online video advertising to work
- Best practice in online video ad format development
- Innovations within UGC video
- IPTV advertising
Keynote speaker opportunities secured for Tony Martin, senior VP of ROO Europe, at:
- Streaming Media Europe
- C21 Future Media
- Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA)
- MIP TV
- Broadcast Content 360
- Video Search Summit
- Association of Online Publishers (AOP) â€“ winner of Use of Online Video category, in partnership with The Sun Online.
Why Liberate Media?
â€œIn a crowded and confusing market I have always felt that well thought out PR campaigns deliver far more bang for the buck. This is especially true when it’s with creative partner companies such as Liberate Media. Traditional marketing and ad spend can never focus on your target audience in the same way that opinion pieces and editorial can. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Liberate’s understanding of the market place as well as the technical issues is second to none.â€
Tony Martin, senior VP Europe, ROO
Liberate Mediaâ€™s relevant experience
Digital marketing experience:
â€¢Â Â Â Search marketing – Greenlight, Spannerworks, iCrossing, mSearch (WPPâ€™s search arm)
â€¢Â Â Â Online advertising – AdLINK, AdJug, Associated Northcliffe Digital (AND â€“ part of the Daily Mail Group Trust)
â€¢Â Â Â Creative digital marketing – Collective, de-construct, Kerb
â€¢Â Â Â User experience/analytics – Foviance