MEDIA PERSPECTIVE: Shops and clients face an uncertain future in TV sector

It’s been three years since I last attended the annual TV conference, so I was curious to see how the event and the debates had developed over the past few years. Held in Lisbon within the grand confines of The Ritz, I eagerly awaited speeches and podium arguments which would shake the TV world.

It’s been three years since I last attended the annual TV

conference, so I was curious to see how the event and the debates had

developed over the past few years. Held in Lisbon within the grand

confines of The Ritz, I eagerly awaited speeches and podium arguments

which would shake the TV world.



I found that the days of heated debate over station average price are

over. TV inflation is still an issue, as John Hardie, the ITV Network’s

marketing director, found to his cost when he was ambushed by Procter &

Gamble and Mars during his closing speech at the conference.



He was told that it is all very well to argue ITV’s record in peaktime

viewing, but what was it doing about its poor daytime performance? The

resentment among FMCG advertisers is something that ITV will not be

allowed to ignore as it benefits from the abundant cashflows of dotcom

and telecoms advertisers.



But what struck me most about this conference was how people are

preoccupied about what the future will hold in terms of the number of

technological developments and their impact on the TV market. That

prevalent term ’fragmentation’ still made a regular appearance when

people discussed how the TV landscape will look, but the buzzword was

’convergence’. With the advent of wireless application protocol

technology, interactive TV services and the explosion of internet use,

media owners and shops are looking at how they can get the attention of

consumers who may be becoming too media savvy for comfort.



While we may struggle to find answers on how we should measure the

future audiences of so many different mediums, the answer to advertising

and media effectiveness which came across in a number of speeches was

stunningly simple - develop brilliant ideas which can carry a brand’s

message across any medium.



That hackneyed term ’content is king’ was much bandied around as

broadcasters and agencies argued that the key to developing meaningful

relationships with consumers was to tie them into compelling content

across the various TV platforms.



One thing that people grumbled about at the conference was the dwindling

presence of clients. I saw about 21 companies represented which, in the

scheme of things, was disappointing. Surely, when everyone is struggling

to address the future of TV, advertisers should be keen to become

involved in the debate.



There was one other thing which niggled me during the conference - the

lack of media agency chiefs. I could count on one hand how many there

were, and this stood in stark contrast to the old days of Monte

Carlo.



This, combined with the poor representation from the client fraternity,

is either a reflection of an industry which is becoming increasingly

time poor as it confronts the new-media age, or the simple fact that

such conferences are seen as pointless.



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