Kessler eyes HBO Voyeur's growth


NEW YORK -- HBO co-president Eric Kessler said Monday that HBO's multiplatform video-based brand building initiative HBO Voyeur far exceeded the network's expectations, with more than 1.6 million people visiting in less than 30 days.

Speaking at OMMA, the online media, marketing and advertising conference and expo, Kessler said the campaign -- which produced two hours of original content on -- also led to increased consumer usage of HBO mobile, video-on-demand and podcasts but, most important, "positively impacted consumers' perception of the brand."

"Consumers told us they were particularly impressed with the online experience, referring to the site as unique, intriguing and different," Kessler told the OMMA conference, which is part of Advertising Week. He said visitors spent an average of almost 10 minutes on the site.

"We created a subtle but more engaging way of connecting with our audience and that positively affected how they felt about HBO," he said. "Going forward we are committed to extending our programming and brand voice online but in unique ways that provide the audience with the entertaining content experiences that they expect from HBO."

Also at the OMMA conference, Unilever director of media and entertainment Babs Rangaiah said that in line with the strategy of following its "eyeballs," Unilever's use of online video content has gone beyond brands like Dove and Axe to permeate the entire company. Other Unilever brands that have created original online content include Suave, Degree, Caress, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Wish-Bone.

"Not all of them will be gigantic, and not all of them are going to be like Evolution," he said, referring to the Dove video that was viewed 200 million times in the U.S. alone and spawned video parodies on YouTube.

"But they're all successful in the way that they set the objectives. There are a lot of things we did wrong but ... we have the ability to aggregate learning across so many different brands," Rangaiah said. "There is power in digital video. We've shown that it's scalable, we've shown that it's obviously highly engaging and can be incredibly impactful. It's our belief that video is going to drive the Internet for the foreseeable future, and it will only be a matter of time before all video including television is essentially served over the Web. I think we should all be prepared for that and be prepared to market to that."