The TV Evolution

Whilst the days of traditional TV broadcast and watching do look to be forever changed, it is far from the end of TV. The TV industry has responded to the call to arms issued by the digital revolution the only way it could, by making friends with the enemy and reinventing itself, transforming content production and utilizing the innovative technology that once threatened its very existence. This has culminated in the host of new connected TV platforms (Amazon Firestick, Now TV, Apple TV) and Video-on-demand services (internet streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, SkyGo and FuboTV etc (over-the-top or ‘OTT' media services)) with which we are all now familiar and that are no longer reserved for the tech geeks and millennials. We are at the point in the TV evolution's growth curve where even more conservative consumers are ready and actively adopting this technology as we see more than 50% of the US and UK population are connected TV or OTT media users, and this is only set to grow; with figures like that it is safe to say that connected TV and OTT has truly entered the mainstream.

This technological revolution has inevitably created a paradigm shift in the way advertisers need to reach out and connect with their audience, no longer able to rely on conventional techniques due to the fundamental changes in both new and incumbent viewer behavior. Studies show that it is primarily big live sporting or other public events (awards ceremonies, royal weddings, inaugurations and the like) that will temporarily tempt the viewer back to traditional broadcast TV.

Families are no longer the captive audience of the central TV set, being force-fed the same advertisements at universal time slots between linear programming schedules. Viewers can now access content on multiple devices anywhere within the same home. Households may have multiple channels accessible at any one time, or alternatively may be all huddled around one series or box set for hours or days on end, and increasingly, viewers want to be able to select not to watch any adverts at all.

This has meant that connected TV platforms and providers have had to completely rethink how their offering works for both the viewer, as well as the advertiser. Many connected TV platforms are proudly advert free (Amazon, and Netflix, e.g.). Where does this leave the role of advertising? Is it dead?

As long as there are products to be sold and consumers to consume them, advertising will never be dead. The face of it will change. We are already seeing investment in integration technology to allow ad-supported platforms to shift from direct selling to programmatic settings. Using data in a more sophisticated way, and in particular, potential utilization of big data taken from the ever-increasing internet-of-things (multiple internet-connected devices, including home security systems, and automated or remote-controlled heating systems for e.g., can potentially be used to inform advertisers of peoples habits) will allow marketers to create bigger and more relevant data sets than ever before affording them the opportunity to improve the consumer experience and utilize the ever-decreasing available advertising time and space to be used more efficiently. This approach will deliver smarter, more relevant content, and therefore be better received by consumers; when people are only targeted with adverts for products in which they are genuinely interested, they resent time spent watching adverts less. Advertising is set to evolve to be appropriately integrated to look and feel more like a part of intelligent and entertaining programming, talking directly to their audience rather than blasting them with repetitive slogans and earworm jingles.

The critical change is that advertisers will need to look more at the target market their brand is trying to reach, rather than the platform or time of day it is being broadcast.

TV and video is still by far the medium of choice when it comes to advertising, and can only be enhanced by the increased connectivity brought about by the digital revolution. The two needn't be diametrically opposed. Be set to embrace the change, collect, analyze and utilize data, from every avenue you can, and see your profits rise, in the new era of targeted advertising once the algorithm is set; the money makes itself.


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