Sarah Hassanin

A meeting place for leading digital voices

The king is dead, long live the king.

The popularity of shows such as Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Masterchef (a particular favourite in the Hassanin household) suggests that great TV content continues to drive conversation and attract viewers – even if the audiences on the main box aren’t quite as large as they were a decade or so ago.

Of course, the way we watch this content is evolving. We’re now in a situation where people are watching content across multiple screens. Contrary to popular thought, however, a recent study conducted by BBC World News, the largest global study to date on the consumption of news in the digital age, found that tablet owners watch more TV news, not less. Consumers who watch content on mobile or tablet devices tend to consume more TV than those who don’t. In fact, 43% of tablet users say they consume more TV than they did five years ago, and most say they use tablets alongside TV. Multi-screening is reinforcing behaviour rather than replacing it, encouraging consumers to watch more content.

As a result, multi-screen behaviour is enabling TV advertisers to deliver incremental reach via new channels. Videology’s recent research study into the impact of online video as a facilitator of incremental reach shows that this channel can cost-effectively deliver an extra four points of unduplicated reach for even the heaviest TV campaigns.

Thinkbox’s project ‘Screen Life: the view from the sofa’, also found that multi-screening is making TV advertising even more effective, by enabling people to chat, play, discover and buy things as they watch. It’s just launched a second project looking at the way online video, tablets and smartphones are changing the way content is consumed.<

So, contrary to Eric Schmidt’s recent claim that YouTube has won the battle with TV, internet video, although extremely popular, is unlikely to completely displace traditional viewing any time soon. What’s more likely is that their symbiotic relationship will continue to evolve, producing more options for consumers and more opportunity for advertisers.

The bottom line is this—compelling content attracts viewers, regardless of the device it’s viewed on, and that’s where advertisers want to be. And now, there are more options than ever to reach consumers around compelling TV. This is particularly important as spot rates on traditional linear broadcasting around the major events continue to soar. In some instances, advertising around video on demand, connected TVs and/or mobile video will enable some brands to deliver a more targeted message, with less wastage, for a more cost-effective result.

Far from being on its death bed, the prognosis for the health of TV is that it’s very much still alive and kicking. It’s just that viewer consumption has changed, but in a good way. This presents challenges for advertisers who need to keep wise to the options, but also new opportunities. TV is dead, long live TV.

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