Surprise Trumps Targeting And That’s Why Free-To-Air Will Rein

Man with big hair watching television


The delight of a surprise still plays a huge role in people’s choice of media PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media leader Marcel Fenez (pictured below) has told B&T at the Cannes Lions Festival today.

Nancy Hromin
Posted by Nancy Hromin

Fenez said the idea that we always want to be served targeted and relevant content did not account for the desire to be surprised and delighted, which comes from consuming “bundled media” such as print newspapers, free-to-air television or live entertainment. For this reason, free-to-air in the next five years will continue to remain a strong contender for the advertising dollar. On a global aggregation basis, it still is a huge and effective medium, he added.


“When you hear company’s espouse they have a digital strategy, you can be guaranteed they will face disruption. Companies need a business strategy to deal with the digital age not a digital strategy,” he said before adding that distinction is still lost on many incumbent companies struggling to make sense of the new order of the digital age.

“Consumers see no distinction between digital and non-digital content. For example, cable companies are talking about OTT (over the top) but consumers are simply seeking tailored, inspiring content that transcends platforms.”

At the centre of the content experience is of course mobile, Fenez said: “However mobile consumption behaviour varies based on geo political as well as economic and cultural factors. In Australia, for example, the mobile is a social experience as well as an entertainment experience, but in Africa, it is about education. The behavioural drivers of Internet penetration varies widely.”

In addition to these factors in content consumption, we also make assumptions about generational differences that may be not valid, Fenez asserted. “For example, on my flight from Melbourne to Sydney last week I sat between two people. On my left was a 23 year old and on my right was a 45 year old. One was on a tablet playing a game and one was reading The Financial Review. Who was doing what?” he asked.

Fenez believes our most precious personal item these days is our mobile phone number and people do not appreciate the ramifications of what they are doing every time they willingly hand it over. The implied consent in handing over our numbers is a can of worms yet to be opened.