IPG: Mobile Key To Agency Growth


New research from Ernst & Young indicates that 88% of TV viewers say they multitask with a computer while watching TV. And nearly half of viewers say they are on their mobile phone while watching TV.

In a panel discussion in New York Tuesday put on by Ernst & Young to discuss its research, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth mused: “Our lives are blurring from a device standpoint.”

For clients, that’s both a blessing and a curse, he said, noting that commercials “give you a break” from watching content, and that allows viewers to check emails or go online to view content that may or may not be related to the TV programming.

The challenge for advertisers and agencies, he added, is to make commercials that engage viewers so they don’t completely disengage with the TV set.

Mobile technology, said Roth, is key to the company’s future growth -- given that in many markets, mobile has bypassed other technologies to become the primary communications means for consumers. “We’re getting double-digit growth in emerging markets” like China and Brazil, said Roth, adding that those growth rates will continue.

Smartphones will be the core device that integrates other forms of communications, he said, adding that consumers are using smartphones more frequently to access the Internet than computers.

But there’s a “disconnect,” said Roth, between the amount of mobile usage -- which is soaring -- and ad spending in the space, which is lagging. He likened it to the same gap that occurred when Internet usage first took off a decade ago. It took a while for advertisers to shift significant amounts of money from traditional media, which was being used less, to digital. Just as that gap has narrowed, so will the gap that now exists on the mobile front between consumer usage and ad spending.

The Ernst research also found that the average home in the U.S. now has four devices connected to the Internet, an average that will likely climb half again in just two to three years.

Michael Fries, president and CEO of cable company Liberty Global, responded that the more devices households have connected to the Internet the better -- at least for his business. "I want 10 devices in the home because [consumers will] need a bigger pipe," to connect to the Web. He predicted that in three years' time, providing subscribers with Internet connections will constitute 40% of Liberty's revenues.

4 comments about "IPG: Mobile Key To Agency Growth".
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  1. Paul Benjou from The Center for Media Management Strategies, March 21, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.

    Michael Roth hit the nail on the head when he suggests that keeping the consumer focused on TV while multi-tasking with other devices is the challenge.
    Paul Benjou

  2. David Burdon from Simply Clicks, March 21, 2012 at 12:45 p.m.

    I have a retail client that's just gone through the 25% share for sales via mobile devices. 90% of the revenue is from iPads and bulk of the revenue from organic rather than paid search. Maybe iPad users are sufficiently savvy to have a preference for organic search?

  3. Steven Arsenault from OneBigBroadcast.com, March 21, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.

    When my wife and I are watching a new TV show or commercial of interest I look over and see her clicking away on her iPhone4 or iPad for details she is telling me as I am watching the show. She'll even go into the message boards and tell me what people are saying about how the new show 'Alcatraz' is tanking because viewers are complaining about how the writers aren't incorporating the past more. Fast forward the next week the studios must be reading the message boards because they have adopted the will of the masses. Same thing with The River. Its on the block to be cancelled because no one can connect with the characters and the story line seems the same according to the boards. The latest episode may well pull it out of the long list of cancelled shows. Lately my wife has taken to start using my Samsung Note because of its larger screen and improved features. Certainly there is a lot of device activity during TV viewing at our home and no doubt as the studies show all across the nation. As a developer of integrated marketing platforms I wonder what the future will bring as folks start using their devices to speak about brands - or as companies use platforms like ours to create mobile campaigns on the fly with social broadcasting and monitoring to react as the TV show is being aired.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, March 21, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

    A couple of issues here. First, we need to know the question asked around 'multi-tasking'. If it is the classic "Have you ever used a computer, tablet or smartphone while watching TV..." or the "Do you use a computer, tablet or smartphone while watching TV..." then of course you will get these high figures. The key questions are (i) how fequently and (ii) for how long do these people multi-task. I know I 'multi-task' when watching TV - the odd check for emails on the Blackberry, or with the laptop on my lap to clear some emails that had backed up and clearly weren't that important.

    Steven, while I am happy for you and your wife that you believe that your online posts regarding Alcatraz et. al. are being read and actioned, the truth is that you simply can't re-write, re-shoot, re-edit and deliver a one-hour drama within a week. At least the majority of the series (if not all of it) would be signed, sealed and delivered before the first episode has been broadcast. What this does say though is that if the viewing populus is posting things that appear to have been magically acted upon, then the producers of the show have a pretty good feel (call it prescience) of what the viewing public wants and likes, have identified that certain episodes didn't nail it, and have rectified it - long before any public comment was made.

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