Remember five years ago when TV was moribund. Why would an advertiser risk the waste?
Yes, TV brought a large audience, but one encompassing so many different tastes and profiles that the costs didn’t sync with the benefits.
Gauging performance? That was largely limited to shaky Nielsen numbers.
Yet, some thought these issues were moot anyway. The DVR was supposed to be the ultimate TV eviscerator.
So, the Internet was primed to drive the advertising economy. There was its superior ability to target audiences and offer sturdy performance metrics. (Even if display ads were just avoidable wallpaper.)
Fast forward: the DVR is still a threat to marketers, but cord-cutting and Netflix subscriptions seem to have eclipsed it. Yet, even with the boom in social media, TV is apparently roaring, at least according to one analyst’s report Tuesday forecasting a healthy upfront market.
One reason: a certain synergy has developed, where TV brand-building is driving Internet deep-diving. The dynamic has an element of direct response to it, with advertisers eager to drive people to the Web to make a purchase, get more information about a product, watch an added video, or become a Facebook friend and, if exceedingly lucky, become a brand evangelist.
Chris Geraci, a managing director at OMD, noted Wednesday how the link is propelling TV spending -- which was hard to forecast during the second Bush administration.
“I don think back then any of us really envisioned this reciprocal relationship that’s going on right now, where television is actually better because of the Internet," he said. "Not just online viewing -- that ability to get more information and get more involved in what you’re seeing.”
Appearing at MediaPost’s annual Outfront event, Geraci wasn’t the only one to tout what NBCUniversal cable sales chief Dave Cassaro termed a virtuous circle.
In the direct-response vein, he said the online side of the TV-Web connection can “really provide more granular data, return-on-investment-type metrics.”
Along with the economic recovery, Initiative’s Kris Magel said the use of TV as a digital driver is prompting clients to up TV spending.
“You’ve got this giant megaphone that is television that drives all this awareness, all this curiosity,” he said. “And you’ve got digital that’s now really developed into something amazing, sitting there like a giant catcher’s mitt pulling people in.”
MTV Networks has made strides in using its brands as social-media conversation starters. It wants to turn that banter into more fruitful advertising opportunities -- for example, a chance to attach advertising to the flurry of online conversation that takes place during an event such as the “Video Music Awards.”
Synched with TV spots, that can be “a very powerful package,” said Jeff Lucas, who heads sales for networks such as MTV and Comedy Central.
So has the Internet saved TV?