In The Evolution Of TV, Audience Is King

The rhetoric of late between networks and digital upstarts has been almost as provocative as this year’s presidential campaign. At the recent upfronts, all sides argued that their content will reign supreme for advertisers.


In the advertising race, the winners will be those that evolve their thinking toward a new world order that puts audiences — not content — first.

NBCU is a prime example of embracing an ‘audience-first’ mind-set. In the NBCU upfronts, the network put an end to its traditional time-based schedule of programming in favor of aligning around audiences and genres — a direct reflection of digital influence.

It’s a move that shows the importance of putting audiences first and allows the net to think about reaching them more holistically: linear TV, connected TV, digital, mobile.  

Audience First Defined

Audience behaviors are rapidly evolving, the way in which content is discovered and consumed is very different today than it was five years ago. With an “Audience First” approach, the goal is to reach individuals most likely to respond favorably to a brand’s message.



How you reach them becomes a dynamic exercise that can change at any given moment, based upon a multitude of factors.

For example, Gen Xers  have TV habits dependent on how they are connected, what device they are on and where they consume media. For advertisers, reaching these viewers has never been more complicated. It is a far cry from the delivery of an ad into the prime-time block vs. streaming via connected TV at random times.

Successful strategies that incorporate an Audience First approach turn targeting challenges into powerful engagements that build loyalty and sell products. Audience First means discovering, expanding and engaging with a desired audience on their terms.

  • New categories of audience definition. Key demographics, such as age and gender are only the beginning; behavioral and contextual insights - past browsing behavior, interests, device preferences, location, time of day, etc., all dynamically cross tabulated - are equally, if not more, critical.
  • Social and mobile are core elements, not add-ons. No surprise, social and mobile are crucial. But both embrace a wide array of meaning and nuance that marketers must unpack to build successful strategies.
  • The journey is as important as the destination. Understanding how someone navigates to content can be critical to connecting with that consumer.
  • Pay attention to the long game, rather than short KPI-based one-offs. The industry’s fixation on KPIs and standard metrics can distract from the more important goal of building fan-bases, i.e., audiences.
  • Understand the consumer psyche. It’s as important to have motivational insights as it is to identify an audience by demographics. Psychographic insights reveal information on behavioral patterns and habits that aid in influencing the audience.
  • Storytelling is critical. The lines between marketing and content continue to blur, where storytelling is the linchpin that sets apart good vs. great.

The right technology can find whatever audience your brand needs, wherever they are, whenever they are consuming content. Brands’ relationships with their audiences are constantly evolving.

Ad tech companies are at the epicenter of the shift ensuring that individuals discover content they are passionate about wherever they interact with content and marketers establish greater brand resonance for engaged consumers.
1 comment about "In The Evolution Of TV, Audience Is King".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 17, 2016 at 4:03 p.m.

    I doubt that anyone at NBC would have the slightest idea what the author of this article is talking about---even though this TV network has supposedly "embraced" a new kind of "digitally based" thinking in their programming strategy for the 2016-17 primetime season.

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