TV isn’t dying, it’s changing - and we need to change with it

Martin O'Boyle, Managing Director and Partnerships PMX, Publicis Media

TV viewer behaviour is changing, with more people watching video and less watching live broadcast, also known as linear TV. While this means it is more difficult than before to reach audiences using only linear TV, advertisers are able to utilise both linear TV and broadcast video in order to reach the same levels of audience as in 2015 (according to Thinkbox nickable charts).

This should be good news for broadcasters, right? The audience has changed how they consume their content, but have stayed within their platforms.

However, the recent IAB / PwC Adspend report tells another story. Spending on video has increased nearly fourfold since 2015, but broadcast video only accounts for 17% of overall video investment. This means that while consumers are watching more video than ever and advertisers are spending more in this area, broadcasters (the traditional home for quality video content) are only taking a small portion of this spend.

There are a number of reasons for this: technology has enabled consumers to watch content on the move, on any screen they want, when they want it. Meanwhile, advertisers can target more advanced audiences at scale, away from the broad, indistinct audiences available via linear TV and broadcast video.

Broadcasters are now acting on this opportunity: ITV exclusively licensing Amobee technology in the UK; Channel 4 creating links with multiple buying platforms; and Sky expanding its Adsmart addressable TV offering. These are all positive moves which advance broadcast video and enable the type of targeting that buyers have taken for granted with digital players. This will result in a more level field between broadcast and non-broadcast video suppliers.

So where does that leave linear TV? That old bastion of campaigns, tried and trusted, and still the largest element of audio/visual investment. With audiences migrating, and reach declining, is this the beginning of the end for it?

Not necessarily. There are many opportunities to intelligently apply data to both planning and scheduling of linear TV spots. By utilising behavioural data and applying it to TV data, linear TV can become far more advanced than it is currently. Through this approach, advertisers can schedule airtime in a far more addressable way, enabling us to reach more of the key people and drive success beyond the current demographic proxies.

By applying data driven approaches across linear TV, our entire video approach will be more consistent. We can apply the same advanced targeting across both linear and addressable TV, broadcast and non-broadcast video buys to communicate to all relevant consumers when and where they are watching video. This advancement in targeting will allow us to increase reach to these key audiences by maximising current investment.

The industry has been disrupted and we need to modernise the way we plan and schedule linear TV campaigns. Maintaining the status quo is easy, transformation is not. Things are going to change, and we can let this happen, or we can drive the change. This application of data can be done today, across all video platforms. No longer is it acceptable to not apply the same data driven approaches to linear TV that we do to all video.

There is untapped potential in TV. It is up to us to harness this.

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