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Monday, 6 September 2010

IS TV DYING? what digital players can learn and what we need to do about it.

The death of TV is still not happening! This is confirmed once again in a large media consumption study run the media regulatory body in the UK called Ofcom. Although the data is on UK consumers, the study reflects the same learning that other countries are seeing in their markets.

However, I think the study does though clearly highlight some changes and new habits that have a huge implication on how marketers, advertising and people running online and digital campaigns and businesses need to think and act. In order to succeed they are critical.

In the business I am involved in running, it is clear that the traditional focus on high TV activity is no longer working as well. But does it mean that TV is not important? I don’t think it does, since people are watching a lot of it. But there are some very key factors.

Let em outline what I think was significant in the learning, and then the 3 key actions that I think we all need to take and focus on.

The 5 key things that stood out for me:

(1) People are still watching a lot of TV. In the UK it is just below 4 hours a day on average. However, they do not consume and watch it like they used to. Understanding this is fundamental at how one looks at the style and role of TV ads moving forwards.

(2) There is huge multi-tasking taking place, and the younger the consumer the more it happens. In fact younger people consume more hours of media than there are hours available. This is because they multi-task, consuming different things at once, such as watching TV while online or on their smart-phones interacting and engaging.

(3) The growth and use of online catch-up services and PVRs like TIVO in the USA and Sky+ in the Uk, has actually meant that people are watching more TV. This is because they can watch it when it is more convenient for them, and studies found that instead of dropping out of following a show or series if people missed an episode they now watch via PVR or online and keep with the series. In fact, it was found by Sky TV that people with Sky+ are watching more TV and being exposed to more ads. Of course many are watched on “fast forward”.

(4) Online companies are among the biggest advertisers on TV now. This clearly shows the power of large mass media for driving awareness and traffic.

(5) The above factor is likely to be accelerated by the fact that since people are now multi-taking more and likely to have their laptop, smart-phone, iPad and so on with them, if they see something that interests them in an ad they can immediately go to it, research it, sign up for it, buy it, download it right there and then. It means TV can get immediate response. Literally.

So what should we do about it as we think about creating ads for TV, or any media since people will be multi-tasking?

Your ads need to, more than ever:

(1) Get people to LOOK UP. You need to get them to stop multi-tasking and look at you, notice you, watch or listen to you.

(2) Get people to LEAN FORWARD. Get engaged and listen to what you are offering, telling or selling. If watching on fast forward on Sky+ you need them to slow down and watch and lean forward and listen.

(3) Get people TO ACT. Right away and right in the moment. Increasingly, you need to have a “call to action” and get people to respond. They may be connected and you can actually get them to do something. Don’t wait for them to act when they next go to the store, get them to act. This means you need to think through what you want them to do, and ensure you have the offers, the sites or the destinations ready and easy to access.

Exciting times, and exciting new ways to think about the role of TV and mass media. It is not dying, but to work you need to use it in a different way.

What do you think? Got any good examples? Drop me an email at gary@bembridge.co.uk or even better leave a comment on the blog posting and join the debate now.

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