Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The New Model for TV Advertising

I’ve been saying for a while that we need a new model for advertising TV programmes, and that in today’s massively competitive TV marketplace the old ‘stick a load of posters up and they will come’ model simply no longer works.

Because we’re asking too much of the viewer.
In the old days a simple ‘oh its on ITV’ reaction was all that was needed and a potential viewer would find there way to the one in three (later four, then loads of...) channels that they needed to get to.

Today viewers need to know when it's on, what channel it's on, what platform it can be found on, which number within that platform it's on… and then, if they can remember all of that stuff (and aren't halfway down the road), they merely have to get past their EPG (not to mention their spouse) without getting distracted, in order to get where they want to be. There's just too much for them to do.

Once more digital has made life more complicated, and ordinary people are still trying to work out how to navigate their way to the same kind of thing they always wanted.

A new model is needed.
And its not that complex.

Consumers need to be warmed to a new concept before ATL communications kick in.
This can be achieved through PR, online, experiential, promotions... whatever really (and is close to the film model). The crucial thing is that by the time your ATL communications kick in, the viewer needs to want to remember the info you’re giving him.

This sounds obvious, but it entails a shift in the way TV companies produce and supply content to thier marketing departments.

Channel Four have been very good at this with Skins, but others are also employing similar tactics… ITV2 did a neat job with the secret diary of a call girl.

This morning I stumbled across a blog talking about a survey by Yahoo/Deep focus (based on American viewers) which seems to put a little science behind these fairly obvious points of view. hopefully confirming some of what I’ve been banging on about.

Given Yahoo's involvement a lot of the results point to the effectiveness of online in supporting TV shows, but there are also one or two other interesting points being made:

  • You need to get consumers interested earlier (phew!).

  • If you engage consumers online with returning series, you are much more likely to get them to convert to viewing (which we all kind of knew)

  • and... if you convince a consumer to engage prior to launch, they are likely to persuade 5.1 friends to watch it too.

Why do I mention all this?

Because it’s an American survey and may well be overlooked in the UK and so my fellow TV planning chums can access it quickly and easily through this link.

But primaily I'm interested in the way businesses need to change processes in order to capitalise on the digital shift that's happened over the last few years.

The implication for broadcasters are mnumerous, the most important being:

Embrace the web – in all its expressions.
Use your own space but learn to exist in others – particularly if you’re making your own content.
Plan early - Build these considerations into your commissioning, filming and planning process to ensure you get the assets you need to engage consumers in the new digital world we find ourselves in.

There you go. Not rocket science, but worth a scan if you're in the market.

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