Leaders of the “Big Four” networks declared broadcast isn’t dead, but while they might be a little biased, the data speaks for itself. U.S. TV ad spend was at a stable $70 billion in 2018, and the Upfronts remain a constant in the advertising calendar. Yet with calls from ABC Entertainment to rethink the traditional schedule, the reality is TV (and the role it plays in our lives) is not dying, it’s changing – and I believe it has a very solid plan for the future.
Riding the Rollercoaster
Scaremongering aside, “TV is dead” conversations do highlight fluctuations in our space. TV, like many industries, experience highs and lows, and since TV is consumer-facing, these tend to vary by country or culture, dependent on the popularity of the program schedule. Despite the publicized peaks and valleys in ad spend, TV continues to be unparalleled to any other Performance-Marketing channel, delivering content that resonates and engages audiences, while also driving digital activity – everything from search, app downloads, and site visits.
TV has evolved into an effective Performance Marketing channel – one that can be measured and optimized in real-time (just like digital). When you look at the bigger picture, you can see its true power:
- US adults watch 3 hours and 35 minutes worth of TV each day
- Around 120 million households in the U.S. own a TV and this number increases year-on-year
- The majority of daily media consumption and interaction occurs through live TV
- Live and time-shifted TV has a weekly reach of 88%
- What’s more, TV’s strength and effectiveness is reflected globally
Thanks to real-time performance analytics and optimization, it’s proven that TV is able to stay one step ahead in an increasingly competitive space. TV advertising is no longer a luxury reserved for brands with million-dollar budgets. With the right planning and a complimentary Marketing approach, TV has become a contending platform for brands of all shapes and sizes.
TV has truly earned its place in the future media ecosystem. As an entrepreneur who believes data-driven decisions must be the cornerstone of every business, I turned my attention to the TV industry in 2012 because there was a colossal gap in the market: advertisers had no way to measure and optimize TV campaigns for real-world performance. By bringing real-time analytics and performance insights to space, brands, agencies, and networks across the globe now have the means to integrate TV – whether it’s a linear or digital TV campaign – for maximum response. And, yes, I did say “digital TV,” as I believe the term “TV” today now encompasses both linear and advanced TV.
Cementing the Future
Hundreds of billions in Marketing budgets are funneled into advertising every year and, regardless of change, TV will continue to attract a significant chunk of that money. The technology now exists to allow marketers to be more precise in their spending across media channels and, in the case of TV, to optimize toward brand-specific, performance-based KPIs.
As we look to the future, the industry’s approach to media buying will shift. Currently most of it sits with the ad agencies, as this is how TV spots have traditionally been purchased. However, with the advent of addressable and Programmatic Advertising allowing networks to provide increasing amounts of inventory in an automated space, TV is set for a further revolution. As more data becomes available advertisers will benefit through a better understanding of viewer activity to select the most effective ad slots in real or near-real-time.
This shift is still in its infancy, but as buyers become more confident in the use of automation, they will increasingly incorporate new buy-types into their Marketing plans. As brands further develop their understanding of which days, dayparts, networks, programs, genres, creatives, and even audience segments work best for each campaign, marketers will continue to direct budget to TV.
Success Breeds Success
While the disruption brought about by FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) is definitely changing the TV landscape, there is still a huge amount of work to do to ensure a sustainable future for TV advertising.
We’ll see digital video brands wrestle with content quality and availability, while the traditional content-first TV is set to push ahead with new technologies that will benefit all in the media ecosystem. Although often considered opposing outlets, the digital and traditional TV worlds have more to gain by working together than not, and TV’s role as a driver of digital activity must not be understated. Ultimately, no matter the perceived threat from digital, TV will continue to thrive and stake its claim for a space in the media landscape for years to come.