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Think BR: Targeted TV - advertisers' nirvana

People are watching more TV than ever and new technologies are allowing advertisers to target them like never before, writes Hamish Pringle, strategic advisor to 23red.

Hamish Pringle, strategic advisor to 23red

Hamish Pringle, strategic advisor to 23red

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In 2006 the seminal IPA report The Future of Advertising and Agencies was published.

Among several key pointers to the future shape of our industry, there was one key forecast that contradicted what many of the leading pundits of the day were telling anyone who would listen.

At the time headlines announcing the 'end of television' and the 'death of the 30 second TV spot' abounded in both the trade and national media, and many people in agencies and client companies believed them. 

So the Future Foundation/IPA forecast that predicted TV, aka audio-visual screen-based advertising, would gain market share at the expense of other channels, ran contrary to the views of many. 

Sadly the herd-like rush to embrace sexy new media and to reject old media like television cost many clients one of the biggest opportunities to gain market share through increased share of voice. 

During the 2007-2010 recession, TV airtime was trading at 1980s prices but due to its lack of fashionability many clients failed to capitalise on the sensational value on offer.

Wind forward to 2011 and that key IPA forecast is coming true.

According to TV Licensing’s TeleScope Report: "The findings are among many in the report which demonstrate the increasing importance of the nation's love affair with television. 

"TeleScope shows that love is growing and evolving - not just in terms of how much and what we watch, but how, when and where we watch." 

Data from respected sources such as BARB, IPA TouchPoints and Thinkbox confirm that people are watching more TV than ever, and they’re investing their hard-earned cash into being able to watch it when and wherever they wish, and in more style.

TeleScope reports that people now have an average of 2.4 rooms with TVs in them, and by 2020, expect that to rise to three. 

Over 9.5m TV sets were bought across the UK in 2010 - double the number sold in 2002.

The most dramatic sales increase has been of flat screen TVs with screens 40" or bigger, from fewer than 600,000 sales in 2006 to over 2 million in 2010, according to market specialists GfK Retail & Technology. 

Web-enabled and HD sets are also booming - real people certainly don’t think TV is dead!

Meanwhile, through rigorous analyses of the IPA Effectiveness Awards Databank, Les Binet and Peter Field have proven beyond reasonable doubt that TV is the most powerful single medium and is used in nearly all the winning IPA cases, and further, that TV in combination with two or three other paid-for media, is even more effective and that there’s increased benefit when owned and earned media are added to the mix.

We’re also seeing an increase in ‘two-screen’ viewing, with people watching TV with their laptop open and using it to enhance their enjoyment of the programming and to comment on it via social media such as Facebook and Twitter. 

The potential of the cached hard drive in set-top boxes is being unleashed and advertisers can take advantage of addressable TV whereby ever-more precisely targeted communications can be served to customers.

This enables a brand’s TV advertising to be in the media flow both as a broadcast and a narrowcast vehicle for a brand, with a response mechanism too, thus increasing its effectiveness even further - truly an advertiser’s nirvana.

Hamish Pringle, strategic advisor to 23red and author, with Jim Marshall, of Spending Advertising Money in the Digital Age, published by Kogan Page


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