The Future of TV: How Changes to the Way We Watch Television Are Keeping Brands on Their Toes
Long gone are the days when the whole family would crowd around a single television, completely focused on the screen for the entire duration of the programme. Today, family members consume different content in different rooms on different devices. All of this means that the traditional advert break is becoming less and less relevant – so just what does this mean for brands?
Ad blocking is already gaining ground, with more and more consumers eliminating ads they consider intrusive. According to PageFair, at least 419 million people are now blocking ads, a 90% increase in 12 months. This figure does not include content-blocking apps, in-app ad blockers, and opt-in browser ad blockers. PageFair forecasts the global cost of ad blocking to reach $41.4 billion in 2016. The best response to ad blocking is to make each advert as relevant to the viewer as possible so that it is a welcomed interruption rather than an annoyance. All messages will have the potential to become context-aware when TVs connect with other objects in the home and wearable devices.
Despite the general move away from real-time programming, certain big TV events will remain compelling enough for audiences to watch live, particularly global sporting events. But, there will be increased expectations for augmented viewer experiences through immersive content and second-screen interactivity. Netflix earlier this year announced a new second screening feature providing viewers with supplemental content which can be accessed through their mobile devices. Further brand integration with entertainment content will be key going forward, from product placement (making a brand visible in a scene) to product immersion (making a brand an integral part of the storyline). Brands should also take advantage of device fluidity – connecting TVs with other screens and platforms allowing owned content to flow from screen to screen – to provide a connected and holistic viewing experience.
Success today lies not in targeting more people, but in how brands reach consumers with personalised content based on their environment or needs. Addressability allows brands to show different ads to different viewers while they are looking at the same content, such as Destination Canada’s ‘Explore Canada’ campaign. The more a brand knows about its target audience, the more it can refine its message and deliver maximum impact. Personalisation is currently broadly limited to viewers being able to choose which device they want to watch media content on, and getting suggestions for future content based on their viewing history. We are also seeing trends in the personalisation of viewing content, such as NFL NOW, a video network which allows sports fans to build their own channel of content by selecting their favourite teams or players. In the future, personalisation might start to influence storylines based on viewers’ preferences, or perhaps even by syncing with the viewer’s emotional, physical and haptic biometric data.
DRASTICALLY CHANGING VIEWING HABITS IS ALREADY PROVING HUGELY CHALLENGING FOR BRANDS.
As Nikki Mendonça, OMD EMEA President, explained at the Future TV Advertising Forum, it is the role of media agencies to cross-pollinate (like bees) between the emergent walled gardens to create powerful custom audiences, which will become the marketing currency of the future.
However, she warned that “there is a lot of value in the so-called wastage.” We need the reach of TV, even if targeting is very valuable: P&G scaling back targeted Facebook Ads is an interesting example.
Ultimately, we need to follow the same marketing principles as we always have. We still need a powerful story that reaches the right people at the right time and in the right place. The brands that are leading the charge in giving individual viewers what they really want will reap the rewards going forward.