Advertisers Vs Aussie TV Networks: Who Scores Best On Sustainability?  

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B&T Magazine
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In this guest post, Jade Ong, Co-founder and COO at Elevate Super, discusses who scores bets on sustainability: advertisers or Aussies TV networks?

Commercial TV networks have always worked hard to earn the trust of advertisers.

As an industry predominantly built on advertising dollars, trust is an important commodity the networks can lever to earn themselves a fair share of advertising $$ in any given market.

It’s therefore important for sellers of advertising space (such as TV networks) to demonstrate their values align with those of advertising clients to ensure they secure that trust.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to work from home or self-isolate. This shift has seen TV audiences grow in size. This is great news for TV networks and advertisers alike, which both benefit from more eyeballs on their content.

Given the growth in viewer numbers and associated advertising opportunity, we decided to have a look at the sustainability chops of the TV industry.

Do advertisers and media companies see eye-to-eye when it comes to sustainability?

Interestingly, our analysis of the top 100 advertisers (listed companies) showed sustainability is high on the agenda for the biggest spenders.

The top 30 per cent of advertisers in the sustainability stakes average a 64/100 SDG score. Pretty darn good! This sits well above the database* average score of 50.

This top 30 performing cohort happen to represent ~$1B of total ad spend in Australia (CY2019 according to – Nielson AdEx). Not insignificant!

However, when we compare these advertisers with the commercial TV networks vying for precious ad dollars, it seems they’re behind the 8-Ball.

Collectively, Australian commercial TV networks score an average of 45/100 – below the database average and well below the advertiser average. However, it’s worth pointing out this cohort still outperform Netflix.

The number one subscription-based, video on demand provider score just 14/100.

Why does this matter?

It’s no surprise Australian consumers today are more “woke” than ever when it comes to building a sustainable future for themselves and future generations. We know marketers are paid to understand consumer mindsets better than anyone.

They are constantly striving to ensure the brands they represent stay relevant to the consumer on all levels, including proving their corporate responsibility to our planet.

So, if sustainability is important to consumers, it’s equally as important for brand marketers to embrace this sentiment.

If media companies want to continue the fight for a meaningful share of ad dollars from marketers in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market, then it makes sense that the media companies should demonstrate that their sustainability credentials stand up well in order to remain a key media partner of choice.

At Elevate Super, we are interested in asking questions around how industries see sustainability as part of their strategy and brand narrative. We are keen to uncover what the media industry can focus on for next decade to help future proof themselves for success.

There is no definitive right or wrong answer to this. But by engaging only with media partners who positively contribute to SDGs, marketers can have faith that they are reinforcing their own sustainable impact and positioning the brands they represent to be synonymous with positive societal change.

So with our findings in mind, should TV networks recognise their current SDG scores and make an effort to elevate their sustainability game? And if they do, will they generate more ad revenue while driving positive social impact?

We will revisit this research quarterly and review the shifts in sustainability across the media industry using the UN SDGs as a benchmark for success – highlighting the specific brands and companies which stand out from the rest.

* All SDG Scores provided by Sustainable Platform as at 20 August 2020. Sustainable Platform database is made up of 17,000 listed companies from around the world.

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