Two cents blog

Bringing TV into the 21st century

by Sam Kane on 10 August 2017

TV IS DEAD: a doom and gloom proclamation that anyone in the media or advertising industry has heard repeatedly over the past few years. You may also be familiar with ‘PRINT IS DEAD’. There is a common theme here, you put some form of traditional media in front of the words ‘IS DEAD’ and suddenly you’ve predicted the future of the media landscape as we know it.

While there is some truth to these statements (data, industry trends, revenue projections, common sense etc.), many people in Adland would argue that TV is not actually dead. Many campaigns are still launched with a TVC, many creative ideas are formed with a TVC in mind, and many audiences still consume TV, which is why TV is still recommended by media planners and buyers around the country.

That being said, let’s look at some facts:

– 9% of Australians don’t watch any commercial TV on an average weekday, compared to 6.9% back in 2008 (Roy Morgan, 2016).

– In Q4 of 2016, it was reported that average broadcast viewing had dropped 4.7% over the last 12 months (OzTam Australian Multi-Screen Report, 2016).

– Free to air TV advertising is predicted to contract from a $3.7 billion market in 2016 to a $2.9 billion in 2020, while digital ad revenue is forecasted to grow from a $7.1 billion industry to $10 billion over the same period (PwC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2017-2021, 2016).

So while TV isn’t dead, it’s definitely in trouble. Media planners, advertisers and clients aren’t ready to exclude TV from current or future media buys, but we do expect more from it. We want TV to deliver more; we want TV to be smarter. It’s not enough in 2017, with a seemingly endless stream of data at our fingertips, to buy against a target audience of people aged 25-54. Not when we can put the same budget online and target this same demo, but then overlay this with interests, topics, behavioural and actual transactional data. Forget peak/off-peak splits, we can choose to deliver an ad at a specific time of day or, better yet, let the algorithms used for programmatic buying determine what is the best time to reach a single user with a particular message or offer.

So what can TV do to steal back some of these precious advertising dollars? Enter addressable TV. Addressable TV uses programmatic capabilities and advanced audience segmentation to deliver specific ads to a specific household in real time. Sounds impressive, right? But essentially it’s bringing TV into the 21st century. It’s allowing us as advertisers to buy TV in the same way we buy digital, with the target audience front and centre.

While it sounds fine in theory, there is still a lot of education to do around this space before addressable TV becomes a standard component of a media schedule. Broadcasters fear losing control over their inventory and diminishing its value while, for some advertisers and clients, the word ‘programmatic’ brings with it concerns over brand safety and quality of inventory. While these are all valid concerns that must be addressed, in order for TV to remain a significant player in the Australian media landscape, it must evolve. If it doesn’t, there will come a time when targeting by age and gender simply isn’t enough. And to be honest, I think that time is now.

Sam Kane is a Media and Programmatic Specialist at BCM

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