Today (September 16th) marks the 60th anniversary of mainstream television in Australia. And since then, television advertising has been a part of almost the entire population’s daily lives.
At 60 years old, and with the explosion of the internet, mobile, social and native, you might think that the traditional TV advertisement will soon be put out to pasture.
Yet Russel Howcroft, general manager of Network Ten and Chairman of Think TV, speaking to B&T earlier in the year tells us that when he started in advertising in 1987, the average Australian watched three hours of TV a day and here we are in 2016 and the average amount of TV watched by Australians is still three hours.
Most advertisers are finding that there is still no better way of reaching an engaged audience en masse. Plus TV has a few new tricks up its sleeve.
The free-to-air television networks have not been resting on their laurels over the last decade either. In fact, they have been some of the largest investors and innovators in the digital space.
Catch-up TV online, TV-owned news sites and apps all mean that watching telly is no longer simply a matter of plonking yourself on the couch and reaching for the remote – and the opportunities for brands to reach audiences across platforms is huge. According to OZTAM and Nielsen’s Australian Multi-screen report, as of Q1 of this year, Australian homes have an average of 6.4 screens each – up from 6.1 a year ago and 5.4 in Q1 2012.
ZenithOptimedia worldwide chief executive Steve King claimed earlier this year, “television remains by far the most important channel for brand communication, and online video, its digital offshoot, is increasing the audiovisual share of global display advertising”.
Ultimately, marketing is all about brands conveying the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.
Brands (or their agencies) are now excelling at this online. And there is a myriad of digital technology available enabling advertisers to track their customers online and communicate with them in real-time, at the right time with a relevant and personalised message.
The challenge for free-to-air has always been building an accurate picture of the audience and then also targeting them. It’s easier with subscription TV as you have a lot more data on your customers, but unlike the US, in which subscription television has massively segmented the market, 70% of the Australian population watch free-to-air.
TubeMogul Australia and New Zealand MD Sam Smith, speaking to B&T last week claimed that TV advertising in Australia is far more sophisticated than it gets credit for and “is the first market globally to implement a programmatic solution for free-to-air television.”
Programmatic TV is on the cards for all the major networks next year. Channel Seven and SBS (powered by TubeMogul) are already selling inventory access programmatically across TV, digital and mobile.
The TubeMogul MD argues that “everyone wins” in the new technology-driven TV advertising world.
At present, TV-heavy viewers are receiving a higher frequency of ads. As we start to reach an environment where adverts are served across devices, Smith argues that we should “start to see less bombarding of certain individuals with ads and a more even spread and reach. It will be easier for advertisers to find their audience and also provide a better viewing experience for audiences who aren’t being hammered with the same ad.”
When it comes to media agencies, the developments in ad technology are not about helping the planning but the buying.
According to Smith, “Agencies have been yelling and screaming loudly about automation in television for ages. What’s changing is the massive evolution of technology in trafficking.”
It’s even impacting the internal structures of agencies and how they buy media. The TubeMogul MD has seen agencies create more collective teams and merge their digital trading desks and digital buyers as they realise they can do more if they coordinate and combine efforts rather than compete. IPG Mediabrands have already done this with the merging of Cadreon and UM Initiative.
Looking at how creative for TVCs will change in the next five years, again we return to the advertiser’s holy grail of serving the right message at the right time and how this can work on linear TV. It’s widely predicted that we will move towards serving dynamic creative providing audiences with tailored creative messaging based on location, weather, demographics, behaviour or other data points.
Smith adds, “Dynamic creative can help measure how creative and placement are working together. Programmatic disciplines work really well with creative agencies.”
TV has clearly evolved massively in the last 60 years. Innovations in digital and rapid adoption of programmatic technology should mean that consumers have a better viewing experience, media agencies become more efficient and scalable at planning/buying and creative will be smarter than its ever been. TubeMogul predicts that the ultimate winner will be the advertiser. We intend to stay tuned.