Contrarian Views Ahead: Social TV and Connected TV Advertising


Corporate/Industry cheerleading. We all do it and it’s usually done for good reason. There is a reverse however, to whatever we cheerlead. My recent articles have all taken some contrarian viewpoints to certain aspects of the emerging TV industry in regards to social TV research, connected TV and social TV advertising, this article is no different. I personally am a staunch proponent of the mass innovation that is currently occurring. That said, incorporating some reverse ideology for the purpose of realism is a balance we must seek to create in the TV industry as it continues to rapidly shift and change. The below are just a few areas that I feel are (with good reason) hyped, but also in need of a second glance to make sure we don’t “over-gung ho”.

Over-Reliance/Emphasis On Digital Data. Datacentrism

This is an alarming trend to me across the interactive ecology. I love data. We all love data. As an industry we should of course love data. Digital device usage in conjunction in with TV via the second screen, or digital interactions via connected TV can allow for robust and novel direct data capture. We can track, measure, and analyze TV and advertising data via behaviors, actions, and social media on both the micro and macro level. Again, Love with a capital L. To a point….

All of those direct data gems we collect and utilize are only a part of the story and we do not want to over-rely, over-predict, or overwhelm ourselves with it. Entertainment media and entertainment based Advertising has also always been about subtle effects on user motivations, actions, and emotions. It’s not just clicks/ interactions/time spent/demographic recognition/action taken….it’s also about the emotional connection we are able to tie to a brand/program in both the short term and the long term.

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This is an “interaction” that is incredibly difficult to measure, yet has always been one of the core strengths of the big screen. While many of our newfound technological advancements can take examples of what has become tried and true from the longstanding digital world, we can’t forget that media and its effects are often not directly trackable/measurable. (I.E. Brand connection/ emotional evocation/ in person word of mouth/ neural connections to brand imagery/ideals..etc…etc..)

This needs to be kept in mind. Whether we are strategizing Ad spends, or programming, marketing ploys or asset development, we need to understand that how we use digital data must be tied in with various exterior historical theory. Quality of thinking will always trump quantity of data.

As of this point there is not an ability to measure just how I internally associate watching Arrested Development with “family time”. There is no way to measure my reminiscence of the Coke Polar bear commercial in regards to how it affected my beverage consumption years later. Relying solely on specific grab-able datasets to then analyze the above areas does little justice.

Issues in Trend Adoption:

We often analyze positive results of anything we are studying about new media with a laissez-faire attitude towards incorporating longer term trend analysis .While there is a benefit towards studying short term patterns and trends, we also need to be able to remove ourselves from such a narrow sighted future gaze. We need to be able to provide more well-rounded predicative analysis towards the dangers of trend-spotting in addition to its benefits. Dangerous trends can work in two ways.

Business to business trends:

These are the trends we often notice when companies jump on specific bandwagons because others are or simply because there is enough of a buzz about them. Adoption for adoptions sake. (Recently discussed by my Colleague Richard Kastelein

Example: X,Y, and Z broadcaster are partnering with “X” 2nd screen app with good results. We should jump on board with this.

Consumer Trends: Consumer trends can be long lived or short lived and have numerous factors that come into play. Is the trend a long term pattern or simple temporary novelty for viewers? Can the trend be attributed to temporary outside influences or internal drives?

Example: 20% of TV watchers are currently taking X” social action while watching X type of programming.

We must be careful while evaluating and acting upon either trend type. The risk of premature development, miscalculated asset mangagement and faulty conclusions can be damaging in the short and long term. We must be seek and strive to understand the logic behind short term trends and incorporate them into the bigger picture, whether it’s B2B trends or consumer trends.

Industry Overpopulation:

As new developments occur across TV and enhanced exposure to the market and buzz continues to proliferate, more organizations will continue to seek to enter the space. This is often a boon for the industry lending itself to new innovation and some fresh blood to shake things up. Many hail the new players entering the market as fantastic for growth.

It also is an area we must be incredibly wary of. While an increase in providers/partners/platforms/vendors/clients has positives, it also leaves us awash in organizations that do not have the experience, expertise, and skillset to properly maintain our initiatives, understand specific nuances and provide managed growth. On a personal level, I can’t think of a day that goes by where we aren’t approached by a new developer stating they design Smart TV Apps, often with incongruent backgrounds or a new 2nd screen App claims that they have the monetization secret sauce in tow. This to me is worrying.

It means we have to be that much more careful, and engage in that much more due diligence when evaluating literally anything that comes our way. It means there is a world of market confusion that must be better navigated and understood as this factor continues to pervade.

Have any contrarian emerging TV views? CTV Advertising and our soon to launch PR/Communications division “Emering Insider Communications” would love to hear about them!

Comments: 1

  • Jason says:

    I am also a staunch proponent of the mass innovation, but I am very disappointed with how the companies involved are approaching it. These is a huge potential for this platform, but I don’t feel that the content is the immediate problem. Content is a problem that is going to fall, it’s just taking some time. But when all that happens, which it is, how are we going to control all that content, when we can’t even control the content we do have? Is Samsung going to come out with its 7th remote controller in less than 3 years? Are we still going to stick with the second screen approach, which I feel is comparable to voice for phones… secondary means of controlling the interface behind touch. There is so much potential for an on-screen interface, yet, we still have a dumb remote control design! I think whoever solves the user interface/controller, will be the one to lead the market. And no, NUIs fail at a very basic level regarding the TV’s lean back experience (like voice for phones, secondary UIs meant to ‘enhance’ the experience, not act as the main UI for TVs).

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