As viewing fragments between linear TV and digital and among our various screens, where is the viewer’s attention? Moreover, where will advertisers and content providers find the most TV viewer value?
At the Future of TV Advertising Global Conference in London last week, I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion entitled Expanding digital reach: connected TV, BVOD, and OTT. I asked a panel of experts where they see the greatest consumer attention and value. Here’s what they had to say:
Respect the consumer’s screen choice
Malin Hager, Sales Director, TV4 in Sweden, kicked off the discussion saying that people are watching everywhere through different screens. To realize full content value, she says, we must respect the screen through which a consumer is watching:
“50% of digital viewing is on big screens. Of course, you have a different sort of habit when you are sat in front of the big screen with the family than if you are using a mobile. The ad impression must be a bit different; the way we present things must be a bit different.”
In the face of digital fragmentation, broadcast still delivers value
Dave Castell, GM EMEA, Inventory Partnerships, The Trade Desk echoed the point Ms. Hager made that people are watching everywhere. He recognized the value of new media while acknowledging the continuing importance of broadcast:
“If you’re telling my 16-year-old that she’s not getting great content when she’s watching TikTok versus us as a family sitting down and watching <broadcast> together. There’s a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, in thinking that broadcast is dead. It’s definitely not.”
He thinks the challenge – and heightened value – is allowing the advertiser to thread its message across these multiple channels.
Is Netflix losing value as others gain it?
Léon Siotis, President of Europe, SpotX, reprised data presented by Nielsen earlier in the session showing how much of Netflix’s engagement comes from broadcast content. He wondered about the effect of new market entrants like Disney+:
“What’s most interesting here is that the Nielsen presentation earlier with regards to Netflix’s rise and <what happens> now with the increasing fragmentation within the SVOD space. Does that value and attention start to decline as it spreads out across multiple different options?”
Contributing to the fragmentation of viewing time – and the possible decline in value delivered by Netflix – is the rise of ad-supported services like Pluto TV and Xumo.
Seeking the lean-forward audience
While television continues to command a great deal of consumer attention, Dan Matthews, Managing Partner, OMD laid out a case for more value being available from digital:
“If content is on-demand, that means there has been a conscious choice to watch that content. Hopefully, the advertising around it is going to be viewed. One of the challenges for linear TV is that it has always been a sit-back medium. Generally, most audiences for linear TV are less engaged. As advertisers and agencies, we are really interested in that engaged audience. That is the huge potential of on-demand.”
Ms. Hager challenged the idea that linear is lean-back and digital is lean-forward:
“But if I watch linear TV live on my mobile, is that leaning backward? We are stuck in a media option that linear TV should be leaning backward and digital is leaning forward. Digital is just distribution and it includes all media forms.”
Mr. Matthews agreed live and linear on mobile blurs the lines but emphasized that engaged lean-forward audiences delivered more value to advertisers.
Why it matters
It is becoming increasingly difficult for advertisers to track value and attention in today’s fragmented viewing landscape.
While linear TV continues to command attention, TV viewer value is leaking away to digital delivery.