Here you are, reading the TV Board on MediaPost. So it's probably safe to assume that you, like me, love -- or at least give a hoot about -- television.
Those of us who have created new companies in the space -- TRA, Invidi, Visible World, Simulmedia, Black Arrow, Media Bank, Canoe -- have joined the big players (networks, stations, media agencies, advertisers) in pursuing a big opportunity in TV and TV advertising.
But have you ever asked yourself why? This is a question that the inspirational speaker/advisor Simon Sinek rhetorically asked in a TED talk last year. As Sinek pointed out, most people have no problem explaining "what" they do (broadcast a program, for instance) or "how" they do it (on a branded network addressing a specific niche). However, very few can say "why." For example, as he likes to say, Apple's "why" is that it challenges the status quo and thinks differently about everything it does. This is much more than what other computer companies do -- make consumer electronic devices and computers (the "what") that have unique designs (the "how").
So, again, "why" TV?
It's not the most interactive medium around. It's not the most dynamic medium around. It's not the most innovative or even the most profitable media around (though I might argue that it's getting there).
Nonetheless, as David Goetzl wrote last week in MediaPost's TVBlog, "TV is a triumphant medium." Despite increasing competition for viewers' eyeballs and advertisers' dollars, and despite new-media fear mongers who point to imminent declines in consumer spending, program ratings, and media budgets, the reality is this:
· Most people -- at least most American adults -- still watch more television than any other medium.
· Television ad spending is poised to increase.
· Though online advertising is growing more rapidly, most ad dollars still target TV.
So television continues to be resilient as ever.
Television is a great branding medium. In fact, according to a study by Innerscope Research and Fox Broadcasting, it's the best branding medium -- better than online. The study, which looked at participants' biometric response to advertising, found that "unconscious emotional responses direct attention, enhance learning and memory, and ultimately drive behaviors that our clients [aka advertisers] care about." Combine that with the fact that new data solutions now allow advertisers to track how ads are driving actual sales, it becomes clear that even as online and other platforms continue to join the media mix, television will remain a core branding platform.
Viewers connect with television and its advertising. There's little question that television viewers connect with their favorite programs. But they connect with the advertising, too. Big-screen advertising is mostly branding, while online advertising is generally transactional -- users (not "viewers," note) are asked to click through to see or read or buy something. By contrast, television inhabits a certain sweet spot that may or may not lead to a transactional event. Either way, however, viewers will certainly be entertained and engaged.
Television just keeps getting better. Television may be "old" media, but technology is changing it rapidly and dramatically. When was the last time the TV industry had hundreds of millions of VC dollars flood into the space? Every day, television programming is becoming more interactive, is available on more screens, Web analytic techniques are now available to create more accountability, and addressable advertising on television is just about here. As anyone who was at CES this year knows, more great change is just around the bend.
For all these reasons, and despite myriad challenges, television seems not only to be here to stay, but it's thriving. You see it in the creative renaissance in programming and advertising, and in viewers' response to both. Now it's up to us to make it so -- keep the programming innovative (and mostly ad-supported), the advertising relevant, and the right audiences watching. Why? Because we love television -- and the ads that run on television.