I really want to say that in 2018, there will be one big thing in AV that will have us dancing in the streets proclaiming (again): "TV is not dead and cinema has come out of the shadows." How can I limit the excitement I have for our media? I mean, in 2017, audiences have been on the edge of their seats as a bastard Snow became a dragon; Channel 4 delivered its second-largest audience with the Great British Bake Off final; and the nation needed an emotional rest after watching the final courtroom scene of Little Boy Blue.
I don’t have the space to name-drop the great gems on TV stations previously renowned for showing only repeats, but they are producing original and fresh content. At the same time, UK cinema has seen hit after hit, from Beauty and the Beast to Dunkirk. Box-office takings are up 20% for the past 12 months (to October 2017), while admissions are predicted to be up almost 3%, with the latest Star Wars instalment and Justice League still to come, as I type. In fact, the top 10 films in the UK in terms of box office this year delivered about 25% of the total cinema admissions. So, after a year like this, how can I settle for just one thing in 2018? I can’t. AV is bigger than that, and, as such, there will be three themes that will make us sit up and take note: collaboration, experience and evolution at scale. So what do I mean by that?
‘Three themes will make us sit up and take note: collaboration, experience and evolution’
Collaboration is needed to level the playing field against digital giants in a uniquely safe environment. Research is showing that TV and cinema complement each other, especially when advertisers are setting KPIs against brand-building metrics. Appreciating the environment where we watch movies, using cinema to drive incremental coverage in collaboration with TV, makes sense. It is also important we collaborate within individual media channels.
Whether it is UK TV broadcasters working better together, helping to strengthen Thinkbox’s voice, or broadcasters in the UK forming alliances with European counterparts with similar content values, TV must work together to combat the global threat from online video-streaming services. TV is the safest place to advertise; the content is world class, the greatest it has ever been, and it has big audiences. Competition is a good thing. It drives us to be better, and with new chiefs at ITV and Channel 4, they will be leading their broadcasters to rise to the challenge, with some interesting decisions along the way.
When this collaboration happens (and publicly at the Big TV Festival in March), advertisers will be excited about TV once again. Whether you are an HFSS, gambling or FMCG brand, you need brand-safety assurances. TV offers that environment, delivering peace of mind and proven ROI to clients.
In the second half of 2018 we will see technological uptake of VR devices, enabling advertisers to engage with audiences in a new and exciting way, whether at home in front of your TV or via 4DX cinema screens.
At MediaCom, we plan all media from the point of view of the consumer experience. It isn’t about media or device, it’s about what the consumer is going to see and how they are going to feel. It will be a great year for the consumer as they experience content with deeper connections, as the tech and production gets bigger and better.
More of us are going to improve the quality of technology we use to view content. The front room is dominated by 40- to 50-inch TVs, with screens getting bigger, and cinema screens being upgraded, as people want the best experience. Then there is 3D’s bigger brother – virtual reality. This will heighten the consumer’s experience, thanks to a rise in improved and affordable tech.
In the second half of 2018 we will see technological uptake of VR devices, enabling advertisers to engage with audiences in a new and exciting way, whether at home in front of your TV or via 4DX cinema screens. The Fifa World Cup seems an obvious place for this to take off and become a real platform to build on. This technology is just another way in which cinema and TV complement each other; two heavyweight media that work so well together, particularly in 2018. That’s exciting, and it doesn’t stop there.
Sky AdSmart launched in 2013 creating a groundbreaking opportunity for advertisers. It sowed the seeds for the evolution of addressable TV at scale in 2018. TVs have become bigger, clearer and smarter, and are in more homes, as tablet penetration in the UK flattened for the first time. In fact, 44% of TV series were viewed digitally. And the devices used to access content services by adults and teens? You’ve guessed it – the TV. That’s as much as 71% when looking at broadcaster players (according to Ofcom); a new opportunity for advertisers.
Addressable TV means we can use the media in a very different way by offering targeting opportunities uniquely through the main screen. We can now combine linear TV (where wastage is still quantifiable to a brand’s success) with addressable online viewing, leading to increased coverage and stronger engagement with audiences in brand safe environments.
So in 2018 let’s celebrate collaboration and enjoy the great content being produced, on the best screen available to us, knowing consumers are engaging with our brands in a nice safe environment, because AV matters.