New TV, new opportunities for marketers

Audiences are switching off and advertisers have good reason to be sceptical about TV, but new technologies and platforms, says Bryan Hall, offer valuable potential for engaging audience.

Bryan Hall copyAccording to Dentsu Aegis Network, digital spending in Australia is projected to reach more than 50% of total advertising spend this year, with digital being the preferred advertising channel since 2014. Facebook and Google continue to drive advertising sales away from traditional publishers. As much as 85% of digital ad dollars are spent on both platforms alone, putting pressure on traditional publishers to retain relevancy with advertisers. If publishers fail to innovate and challenge the Facebook and Google duopoly, the two giants will not only win media dollars but, potentially, the increasingly tough fight for survival.

Television is a traditional channel that continues to provide significant reach for marketers, and thanks to data-driven TV, marketers now have the power to truly understand their consumers across channels. In fact a recent Neustar study revealed that TV remains the most effective way to advertise as it provides the most scale and delivers the highest return on ad spend from both a sales and awareness perspective.

However, in the multi-screen, multi-device, multichannel world we live in, the role that TV plays in the advertising allocation mix continues to be examined with the same level of scrutiny as a tax audit. Many media buyers in fact argue that the days of television are numbered.

This is because TV networks make money off of ads consumers often watch passively, if at all.

Brands are hence becoming increasingly dissatisfied with TV’s lacklustre advertising measurability and proven results. Moreover, consumers paying for cable TV are spending money on content they don’t care about in order to watch the programs they do. A market where consumers pay a lot for what they don’t consume and bundled services they don’t need, is generally not considered economically sustainable.

Meanwhile, viewers of free-to-air TV appear to be simply switching off in favour of online content-on-demand options. According to Roy Morgan Research, over one fifth of Australians aged 25-34 no longer watch no free-to-air TV, as the subscription video on demand (SVOD) market including Netflix, Stan, Presto, Quickflix and Foxtel Play increases.

However it’s likely that major growth from streaming services such as Netflix will not come from customer acquisition, but from consumers doubling up on new services. Users are watching more video content than ever before – across different devices and formats. Video growth will therefore come from multiple service subscriptions and competition will eventually come down to price.

With the introduction of YouTube and SVOD, the way we watch video is changing. Long gone are the days of linear TV, where the main place you watched programming was from the comfort of your couch. Mobile and streaming options continue to redefine what TV viewing means, whether it’s live programming, digital video record (DVR), or on-demand.

Interestingly, our research showed that video ads attached to premium streaming content are more effective than user-generated platforms. With the explosion of sharing platforms and popularity of video format, professionally produced content is seen to be the most impactful. The analysis also found that behavioural targeting required the fewest impressions to generate an interaction.

No doubt as ‘addressable TV’ capabilities – which bring online targeting and accountability to TV advertising – gains more momentum, many of the measurability and targeting issues that marketers have with traditional television will fade away. Addressable TV advertising can enable advertisers to deliver the right ad, to the right person on the right device – all at the same time.

As consumers increasingly demand more flexibility, quality content and accessibility, the likely scenario is that people will continue paying for TV bundles in some form, even with a proliferation of video streaming start-ups. What will change is the size of the pie. The upside to diminishing scale is more targeted reach. TV companies that embrace this change and adapt as required, will reap the rewards of smaller, yet potentially more engaged, audiences.

In order to grab a slice of the advertiser’s pie, TV networks will need to become more innovative with content and programming, licensing and partnerships to ensure that they can adapt to consumers’ changing consumption habits and expectations for access to quality content on demand.

For marketers, it’s time the customer is put back into focus with direct to consumer relationships. Broadcasting non-customised content to a mass audience is no longer an ideal way to reach audiences, with more and more consumers turning to video platforms that offer more personalised viewing.

 

Bryan Hall is senior director, Australia, at Neustar.