If there’s anything better than a night in front on the TV, then the only thing this author can think of is a night in front of Australian TV’s top bosses.
As part of its sponsorship of Advertising Week, industry body ThinkTV organised a dinner with the commercial TV CEOs on stage as the main course.
And if you ever doubted the power of TV, you only had to look at the attendees that rolled up to know the old medium can still draw a crowd.
From Russel Howcroft to John “Steady” Steadman, the industries top brass all turned up to join in the spectacle. Group M’s chief Mark Lollback, OMG’s boss Peter Horgan, heck even Darren Woolley was there in Barangaroo’s shiny new 12-micron restaurant.
They even let in a good smattering of the fourth estate.
As the crowd quietened and the guests took their seats, ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate took the stage and welcomed us all.
In what now must be considered a well-drilled performance the TV Kool-Aid was brought forth.
Portrate gave her short but punchy presentation that shows off TVs efficacy as an advertising channel thanks to the independent research ThinkTV had commissioned from Ebiquity.
If you’ve not seen it, it’s a great bit of research and basically tracks the advertising spend of 21 Australian brands that spend roughly $500 million annually on advertising combined and works out the ROI by channel – print, radio, TV, search, digital display, social etc.
Whether it was just good luck, the research shows TV aces it against all comers and hence why we see so much of it.
Next up was Australia’s favourite sweary professor Mark Ritson. Now if you’ve not caught Prof Ritson’s show before it goes something like this. Spending money on Facebook and other social media channels is a complete waste of time and only idiots would do it. Sadly, Prof Ritson expounds, we were all idiots because we all gave our money to Facebook.
The other point Ritson makes is that yes digital advertising did swallow an enormous amount of share of the advertising pie, but it only came from one sector, news media. TV, Radio and OOH have all actually grown since digital first appeared.
It’s a great show, but pretty much everyone has seen it now so we’re hoping to see some new material the next time we see the learned professor.
The other point with Ritson’s presentation is while Google and Facebook took down traditional media’s slowest moving wildebeest, it’s eaten news media but it’s still hungry.
It was an easy kill for the tech giants, but just because they didn’t kill the others in the herd last time doesn’t mean they’re not going to do it in the future.
But hey, this is televisions night so let’s not get off track and spoil the party.
The final act for the night was the main event. And what a show it has become. Now quite used to sitting together compared with the first time we saw it a few years ago, the four white men who head up Australia’s commercial networks – Tim Worner, Hugh Marks, Paul Anderson and Patrick Delaney – were positively beaming.
Quote of the night goes to Seven’s Tim Worner who said “if you advertise on television, you better back sure you’ve got enough stock, because you’ll run out”.
Marks summed up the tenor of the evening best when he said: “we’ll compete on content, but collaborate on technology”.
All-in-all, it was a huge back-slapping exercise, but not one without merit. TV in Australia has woken up to the threat it faces and thanks to the coordination of ThinkTV has taken the fight up to the invading tech giants.
We will watch the battle play out with interest.