More and more, the question arises: Going forward, who owns the “TV” experience? Is it the network who creates the show, the MSO that provides the access (both via cable/satellite and through delayed viewing), the set-top-box manufacturer who owns the hardware and the operating system, or the digital platform that extends the program into the digital eco-system, through streaming and other methods? I think the answer is “all of the above.”
On numerous occasions, I’ve made the case for programmatic and/or private exchanges being implemented against TV inventory, but I would couple that prediction with the rise in truly immersive experiences that many cable operators already offer, which will continue to be augmented with digital media.
I’ve seen some very interesting offers coming from the likes of AT&T U-Verse, among others, that package together online display, local commercial inventory, customized in-guide content and infomercials that reside on stand-alone channels within the on-screen guide. If you take these experiences and continue to add in social and mobile, you create truly cross-platform, immersive experiences that marketers can use to engage their audiences in a much deeper fashion. This drives customers conversions at higher double-digit rates vs. the poor conversion rates for standard digital display. Consumers are self-selecting, with only the most interested starting the process, but that’s OK if the ROI is strong enough.
Digital media enables customization, and these kinds of immersive experiences, when combined with addressable media vehicles, can drive efficiency for marketers. TV is still the Holy Grail, and money is still being poured into the channel. A recent study from LUMA Partners calls out the dramatic differences between digital media and TV media spend, with about 100 companies responsible for $150 billion in TV spend, while the digital media space has around 400 companies generating about $6 billion in spend. You do the math – if a marketer leaves the train station with $100 million to spend and is traveling 100 mph north, towards which media channel will they arrive fastest? I know – that makes no sense, but the answer is TV!
TV is important, and it’s going to become more important as it maintains its position as the lynchpin of marketing and advertising for years to come. Marketers will approach the major players in TV and look for standard commercial inventory, augmented, immersive experiences, programmatic add-ons and digital extensions wherever they can get them. On the digital side of the business, more companies will be expanding into video and creating collaborations with the traditional media world while still taking advantage of audience-based marketing tools and technology. These one-stop opportunities will be the core of a great brand strategy, offset with the rest of the ecosystem via technology and data-driven audience buying.
Consolidation will happen, but not at the rate you might think, because traditional companies may not dive so deeply into digital that they need to acquire all of these companies. The tech platforms are where the acquisitions will happen, enabling traditional media channels to continue their focus on content and distribution of that content.
Of course, I could be wrong. I just don’t think that I am.
What do you think?