The future of television is both daunting and exciting. We’re truly seeing an industry in flux. There is a lot of talk of what this means for the future. Whether it’s been TV on-the-go, connected TV, second screen integration, linear versus non-linear consumption, it seems never-ending. Our focus has been coming up with some cool stuff in the area of connected TV marketing as I’ve mentioned in some previous articles. It’s where we see the most potential. We also love all of these extracurricular areas of focus as the marketing potential seems quite limitless in a lot of ways.
That said there are a lot of questions out there as to how things will change and due to this a lot of rumor, speculation, over-hype and fallacy. This creates an issue for marketers, for in order to market and advertise appropriately, one must have an idea of what to expect and what trends could be misconstrued. This is a longer article than normal, but it’s topics could span a book, so we’re still keeping it as short and sweet as possible.
TV On The Go:
Fallacy: TV on the go via connected devices means less TV interaction in the living room.
One comment we have been receiving and seeing a LOT of is that television is going to change from a living room affair to being “on the go” with less living room, “big screen“ interaction and focus. For this we discussed with a colleague who happens to be an Ivy League Psych Professor with a focus in new media consumption. His view mirrored those of others we queried in his and related fields. Secondary screens and the idea of TV “everywhere” will not take away time from the living room. TV viewership on secondary screens will simply add to TV watching time. It will be utilized to add new locations to the TV viewing experience and add layers of interactivity and consumption to current watching behavior. Connected devices will allow for TV time on the go , but they will not replace any amount of time spent around the living room. In other words TV watching will not be fragmented into smaller sections of at home usage, but will add to TV watching time in general.
TV watching will always have a place after work, when people are in their homes and no longer willing to be out and about and on the go. They will still utilize living rooms for that lazy day Sunday programming and all those reasons to engage in at-home watching. So while people may increase TV watching in other novel areas such as trains, buses and traveling, they will still watch nearly the same amount they always have from the comfort of their living room/bedroom. They will also always prefer to watch their television from a larger screen than the smaller screen of a mobile device or tablet while they are in fact at home. There will also always be an inherent need to gather around the TV as a family or with friends as a socialization method. This is less possible with smaller connected and personal devices. While social TV apps will certainly grow exponentially, the most engaging social form of TV will still remain to be family watching, getting friends together for games and events. UK based Thinkbox has already found that TV viewing has increased in to a record high in 2011.
Fallacy: With new platforms and methods available for easy distribution, new content will take viewers away from the space of traditional broadcasters and programming. Mindshare will be more fragmented between all of the new offerings that become available to watchers.
We reverted to the views of several sociologists and media studies professionals for this area. The bottom line was this. There will be a lot of other programming that comes to market as it has been. It has become cheap and easy to create, distribute and provide content in the area. But for viewers these factors do not compare to those already established. Big broadcasters will always have the advantage of production experience, relationships, large budgets and the most exceptional talent. This is also compounded by the psychological need for familiarity. While new programming for non-traditional may grow and expand, it will often actually cause viewers to go back to the programming they know and love. This is based on numerous psychological findings that when presented with an overwhelming array of variety, people will actually revert back to the content that they are most familiar with. Traditional programming, when it comes to television at least. New programming and interactive elements that compliment and enrich traditional programming will however, receive widespread adoption.
Non-Linear Ad Placement time issues:
Fallacy: Time shifting and non-linear viewing will totally change the nature of watching television and make .30 second Ad spots that are time-critical and seasonal/holiday oriented less relevant.
There is no doubt that the Ad market for television will go through a major shift. If anything this shift will create a more robust and multi-leveled marketplace. The change will not be rapid in many senses due to ingrained current models especially in regards to the .30 sec spot, but new methods and a new media mix will rapidly find a home. New Ad formats like in-App advertising, branded placements with hotspotting, advanced sponsorships, .30 second placements with rfi capability, .30 sec spots that can lead to content rich portals, couponing, tcommerce and advanced tracking may be added, but these are simply additions to create a more robust ecosystem. It is a move to a more immersed and interactive Ad rich environment.
So can time shifting and non-linear influence Ad campaign timing? Yes and no.
For this we relied on some research from Intel and again, more sociologists and media consumption experts. From the research of the Intel user experience group “Intel research findings show that other social patterns, such as water-cooler discussions with co-workers, will tend to impose limits on time-shifting. The more time sensitive the content, the more likely it is that people will view their dvr recordings close to the air date of the program.” This is also true of linear consumption of live events, political events, sporting events, news, and programming that creates a need to follow it as it occurs.
Non-linear viewing will compliment these programming offerings by allowing additional content, flexibility in viewing time, but still with an emphasis of viewing in similar time frames. If anything seasonal/holiday spots will not need to be changed, but can be optimized with interactive strategies.
In regards to other shifts of the .30 sec spot, an eventual (albeit slow) move to a digital video ad placement strategy will need to occur to broaden the ability of Advertisers to gain the maximum reach possible. It increases the need for a more digital oriented strategy when it comes to television media planning and buying.
We’ll stop here for now, but with one final statement. The above is why we are so focused on Connected TV advertising. It allows for a hybrid of viewing potential of linear and non-linear programming, with the idea being that Connected TV sets can allow viewers to focus on mainstream programming while still allowing adding additional benefits, extended VOD and content to viewers. We can still have our TV programs we have grown to love and follow as well as live viewing, but it also can be augmented by non-linear consumption, content rich Apps, companion apps and integrative material. It can be enhanced by interactive TV formats and engaging Ad spots, but it can be viewed from the living room, which no matter the increased usage of new television viewing methods, will still be the most viable form to reach the breadth of consumers.