What can the merging of TV and online bring?

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 17 May 2012 08:00AM

As the boundaries blur between TV and online, brands need to embrace this development. But they must add to the consumer experience, not disrupt it, two experts suggest.

Simon Daglish: group commercial director, ITV

Simon Daglish: group commercial director, ITV

DOMINIC ALLON - director of agency sales, Google UK

- To what extent are viewers combining TV and online consumption?

The internet is fundamental to the future of television for one simple reason: it's what people want. The one-to-many broadcast model is being enhanced by the power of the broadband one-to-one model. This manifests itself in the twin-screening phenomenon, allowing online to close the feedback loop. While linear TV still accounts for the majority of TV viewing, time-shifted on-demand consumption, currently approaching 10 per cent of total viewing, will be increasingly important.

- How are consumer expectations changing as these worlds collide?

The internet offers greater control for consumers who are embracing its flexibility and developing new viewing patterns that suit them. If you look back at the first ads for TV sets with remote controls, you can see that promise of control over content and advertising is not new. The internet has empowered consumers further still and reset expectations. In a world where consumers have more options and control on what they see, it may be that the only date in the schedule that matters is the release date. After release, demand will surface across all devices - and media owners that serve this demand will thrive.

- What are the opportunities for brands as TV and online come together?

As ever, smart advertisers will keep customers at the heart of their strategy. The best marketing communications will keep up with today's reality and get the best out of both TV and online. For example, we're seeing that YouTube is increasingly sitting on the TV plan. Advertisers and agencies see that YouTube builds on the success of TV campaigns, typically offering cost-effective incremental reach of 4 per cent. This is how advertisers can realise the promise of integrated TV and online today.

- How does the agency role evolve in this new world?

Creative and media agencies will continue to play a unique, irreplaceable role in the advertising ecosystem. Progressive media agencies are integrating their broadcast-buying heritage with the auction-buying model that prevails online. Where volume and relationships meet technology and automation, successful agencies will stay agile, evolving quickly to keep up with the connected consumer to ensure their clients continue to win.

- What's the most exciting thing about combining the power of TV and online?

I believe the next ten years will be more exciting than anything we've seen to date in the ad industry. Technology will recast all elements of the media value chain: devices, distribution, content, software and, of course, advertising. The internet will continue to grow at an alarming rate. The cloud will set content free. Over time, a unified platform serving customised content and advertising, across any device, at any time, will become a reality. We're heading to a world of divergent services and convergent devices.

- Are there any limitations that this new partnership currently has and why?

The industry needs to embrace the dynamism and development we'll see over the mid and long term, while grappling with the challenges of new media and business models today. The reality of fusing offline and online advertising and media is challenging, but a shared passion for powerful advertising will ensure that agencies, advertisers and media owners are all moving forward together.

SIMON DAGLISH - group commercial director, ITV

- To what extent are viewers combining TV and online consumption?

TV can now be accessed on every platform, but the experience goes well beyond just "catch-up" or video on demand. We've seen a massive uptake in second-screen interaction via mobiles and tablets, especially when experiences are built around existing TV brands. On The X Factor app last year, we saw around 200 million interactions across the series. This volume of interactions is incredibly difficult to build from scratch in a generic product.

- How are consumer expectations changing as these worlds collide?

Today's viewers expect one thing above all else - convenience. They want to have what they want, when they want it, on the platform that suits them. However, access and increased choice can also be bewildering and may become a barrier rather than an asset. A recent survey looking into consumer reaction to new internet and TV technologies highlighted this quote from a respondent: "I quite like the idea of being able to make up my schedule ... if I could be arsed to." I love that. It would be a mistake to assume that, just because technology is moving on, the consumer is travelling at the same pace.

- What are the opportunities for brands as TV and online come together?

Interaction and engagement. TV has traditionally been seen as a passive experience. But, with connected devices, that is starting to change as interaction with the programme or the ad can happen in real time through second-screen experiences such as Shazam and Ipowow!. With this increased engagement comes the opportunity for brands to become part of this experience. Beware, though: interruption will not be tolerated by the consumer - brands have to add to the experience, not disrupt it.

- How does the agency role evolve in this new world?

With the continued explosion of media opportunities showing no signs of slowing down, the media world will become increasingly complex. This will lead naturally to commoditisation such as what we are seeing in the online display world. The smarter agencies will seek to have fewer partners that they can truly work with on creating effectiveness as well as efficiency.

- What's the most exciting thing about combining the power of TV and online?

The opportunity for real-time interaction between viewers and your show or your brand. For advertisers, you can get an immediate response to your campaign and, for viewers, an instant reward for engaging. I also think we're getting closer and closer to big shows that are specifically developed around the new technologies and are totally driven by interaction and second screen. Once that happens, and if it is successful, it could change the face of light entertainment in the UK.

- Are there any limitations that this new partnership currently has and why?

The only limitations will come from people assuming that, just because you can do something in this new connected world,you should. Tighter targeting is not the panacea many believe. If used without insight, it can destroy a brand's relationship with the individual. In a recent consumer session at ITV, it became clear that the consumer "disliked" ads that weren't relevant and found ads that followed you around the internet "spooky". With targeted advertising, we have to develop the illusion of serendipity, rather than the impression of a stalker - and that takes clever planning and buying.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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