Giant Woolly Mammoth and the Ant: Is web killing TV?

The current perception is that TV advertising is not working, it has stopped being effective and that brands need to move to the digital platform and dump expensive TV adverts for the cheaper, efficacious and more efficacious Digital advertising. The feeling currently being generated is that TV advertising is like the Giant Woolly Mammoth; digital advertising is the Ant that will bring the Mammoth down.  We in advertising do believe in making black and white choices despite working in a space where every answer is right and clear-cut choices don’t exist. This does beg the question is TV advertising going to go extinct? Is it time to dump TV completely?

Let me take you back in time before we start to debate this question. In 1979, just when MTV had started to become popular, Buggles wrote the song Video killed the radio star. He went on to say ‘pictures came and broke your heart, we can’t rewind we’ve gone too far’. The song almost sounded like the death knell for the radio, for playback

Today if we look back Radio actually has come too far, not gone too far. Radio has reinvented itself, has established its place in the consumer mindset, and despite lacking in pictures, it hasn’t broken the heart. Just because the consumer has a new choice does not mean that the old choice is irrelevant or the old choice won’t stand up to the new

Now let us come back to current times where technology is rapidly transforming the entire marketing landscape. Advertising is getting more and more addressable, more and more conversational and more and more performance driven. On all these counts it seems to be losing to digital advertising.

So is TV advertising not working? The best way to answer that is to look at some numbers. I have looked at some numbers from US, as the penetration of digital devices seems to be highest there, and may hold some pointers towards the impending future.

The TV penetration in US has not dipped and has stayed at near 100%. In-fact the TV ownership has risen across the globe in almost every country. The TV market is growing; the Smart TV market is growing faster. Which means consumers are buying newer and better TVs.

The TV viewership trends across a long period of time seems to be stable, in US for instance the cable penetration has not fallen, and has stayed at around 50% consistently. What it means is that people are watching TV.

Again global data indicates that spends on advertising on TV is growing. In US at about 5% and in Europe at a slightly higher figure

Digital advertising though is catching up, and catching up at a real fast clip. Though significantly smaller than TV advertising currently it’s growing at a much faster clip, and will catch up with TV advertising levels in next 5-6 years in US. The operative word is catch up, and not decimate.

What has really happened is that number of screens that the audience interacts with has grown significantly. Some studies indicate that almost 50% people are on their tablets or phones while they watch TV. This is a new trend where the consumers are creating content, checking out promotions and even shopping as they watch Television.

This is what really is happening. Technology is rapidly transforming the way consumers connect with brands. The earlier linear connection with brands is actually history, and to that extent the earlier media engagement model too is history. The media engagement model then relied too heavily on TV, which made TV the lead medium to create consumer engagement. In the new dispensation, TV advertising still delivers hugely on reach and generation of awareness, digital works to create a one on one dialogue with a far sharper targeting ability.

The feeling that the TV advertising is like the Giant Woolly Mammoth that is about to go extinct is really not true. There is a role for TV advertising in the future landscape of consumer engagement, though that role will change from what it is today.

Digital advertising is not the ant that will bring the Mammoth down to its knees. Digital advertising in most cases will along side the traditional old media choices to create greater binding between the brand and its constituency.

The future definitely would not be like what it is today, nor will it be like the way its being predicted. I do not see the repeat of the Buggles song of radio killed the video star. While it sounds contrary to popular belief, the future rarely listens to popular belief.


Original article published here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s