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How the rise of digital will shape the future of TV media

How the rise of digital will shape the future of TV media

Sam Kayum, CEO of smartclip UK, looks at the impact the rise of digital has had on the TV advertising market and what the future holds for media buyers.

The TV advertising market is undergoing a challenging time. Large brand budgets are being slashed and marketers are asking themselves whether they should be spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a format with impact that is at best hard to measure.

Many factors have contributed to this gradual change. The advent of the internet encouraged media planners to take their budgets online, where they could target specific demographics instead of the mass reach of traditional TV advertising. Latterly, advertising budgets have also suffered the inevitable impact of recession.

There is no denying the impact of a great TV advertising campaign. Just think of the croaking frog ad for Budweiser or indeed the Coca Cola Christmas adverts.

Adverts like these enjoy staying power that resonates long past the end of their individual campaigns. But how effective was the use of budget when a significant proportion of viewers were outside the target demographic – in the case of Budweiser, those under 18 years of age?

Watching TV is one of the most common modern leisure activities and with 88.8 per cent of households now subscribing to a digital TV service (Ofcom “Half of TV households choosing pay TV services” 9th April 2009), it has tremendous reach.

Advertising on the TV allows you to show and tell a wide audience about your business, product or service; demonstrating the benefits of ownership and helping to influence consumers’ purchasing behaviour.

And yet, at the same time, consumers are increasingly viewing TV content online and on demand. This experience fits our busy lifestyles better than broadcast TV: we can fast forward through the adverts to the content we want to consume and watch it absolutely anywhere at any time.

A wide variety of devices and technologies are making the Web-to-TV market a reality. According to comScore, in 2008, 271 million requests were made to watch a program through BBC iPlayer alone.

For advertisers, the real advantage of the online format is that it can offer a compelling combination of scalability, cost-effectiveness, demographic insight and highly targeted marketing to help brands ensure that campaigns are measurable and can achieve ROI.

For example, by allowing brands to collect information about users and track particular behaviours online they can also help improve sales conversation rates and increase user engagement.

So does the rise of digital mean the death of TV? There are those who say that the internet is far more targeted and measurable and that as a result digital advertising should be used to replace the traditional TV campaign entirely.

But in fact, the two are ideal bedfellows. Today’s savviest advertisers are those who can find ways to monetise the video content they use for TV campaigns in the online medium. A combination of the two can offer a powerful solution, especially when the interactive elements of video advertising are bought into the equation.

The most sophisticated online video networks can take TV content in any format and adapt it to the right online medium, placing it on carefully targeted sites that speak directly to the relevant target audience.

In combination with the mass reach and brand-building power of the TV campaign, the campaign’s impact becomes significantly greater – with quantifiable, measurable results driven by the online video segment.

Over coming months we expect to see more and more advanced forms of premium content become available online. In such a crowded market where brands of every size are fighting for the eyeballs, truly effective campaigns will be those that evolve beyond traditional broadcast to reflect the way their audience consumes content today.

There will always be a role for TV advertising in the marketplace, it’s simply a question of asking how it will evolve in today’s ever-more digital and better connected society.

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