Reaching The Elusive 'TVideo' Viewer

The challenges of reaching target audiences amid the fragmented linear television landscape are being magnified as growing numbers of consumers not only view across devices, but cease exhibiting traditional behavioral distinctions between consuming TV and video.

While content delivery and ad insertion technologies for TV and video will eventually merge via a digital, Net-based infrastructure, that’s still years away.  

How are media buy- and sell-side strategies, and interaction among the players, evolving in the meantime?

Evolving Attitudes, Understanding, Organizations
The challenges begin on the organizational level, with the need to address some resistance within marketers, agencies and inventory providers to the very concept that TV and video viewers are becoming one and the same, noted Tim Hanlon, founder and CEO of The Vertere Group, in moderating a recent MediaPost TV Insider Summit panel.

“That’s tough,” said Nicole Tramontano, senior research director for Turner. “Everyone thinks that children and young viewers are all moving to the new platforms, but the data show that’s not the case. Viewers are consuming much more content, and they’re consuming it everywhere. So we try to show the agencies and clients that it’s not about moving all to one platform; it’s about being everywhere the viewers are — and they are everywhere.”



Because programming originated for TV accounts for much of Turner’s content on video platforms, Turner is using learning from traditional TV viewing to determine how to program on other platforms and what audiences will be consuming the content on those platforms, she said.

“You can reach a lot of people in a lot a different places,” she added, but the quality and effectiveness of reach “comes down to what people are doing while they’re watching TV — are they multitasking? — and also the quality of the content. A lot of advertisers continue to want to be near high-quality content and we stress the high engagement value of our content.”

Noting the significant average time per day spent viewing YouTube alone, Kevin Hung, SVP, strategy and innovations director at Havas Media, said that media agencies should ensure that clients understand the growing importance of having a presence across major video and digital platforms in addition to television, and also the need to factor in the varying attributes of various device users.

At this point, “there are clients who still love and rely [mostly] on traditional TV,” he said. “And there are others who understand that there’s now an unlimited amount of inventory sitting out there, and have [invested their] entire digital budgets in programmatic video investment strategies, so that they can get as micro-targeted as possible.”

The good news, he added, is that mobile ad spending recently surpassed desktop, and digital spending is on par with television, indicating that “people are starting to respond to where audiences and eyeballs are moving.”

The panelists agreed that while operational and attitudinal siloes remain, there’s been real progress toward surmounting these.

Tramontano noted that Turner itself has integrated its television and digital groups, and tends to approach new platforms or technology by forming groups to become experts in those areas, then merging them when the time is right. This enables consolidating the coordination of messaging to consumers, and approaches to the advertising community, among a few people.

She also observed that similar integration at a growing number of agencies is reducing the number of buy-side executives with whom Turner needs to interface for a given advertiser.

Havas has integrated TV and digital media in a single investment group, and is definitely seeing more sellers coming in with integrated brand strategies, said Hung. “I’m now often having conversations with one set of people, combined in a way that they think makes sense for solutions for specific brands we represent,” he said.

Karen Ramspacher, SVP, consumer insights and trends, GfK, observed that the creation of Assembly seems to be one indicator of progress. “Bringing different agencies from different disciplines together could be a harbinger of a more nimble ability to coalesce different approaches for television and video,” including branding and direct response, she said. 

Creative and Consumer Experience Issues
Speaking to reaching viewers who now have options that include ad-free premium streaming services, Hanlon said that he believes that such services will ultimately begin incorporating at least a limited amount of advertising.

From a broader view, he said that at present, issues such as viewers being over-exposed to the same ad indicate that “the consumer experience is not fully figured out yet. … It feels to me like an incongruous TV/digital buying proposition that’s not fully harmonized yet. It seems like TV people are trying to achieve similar GRP reach in a medium that’s not really ready for that.”

“A lot of the challenge lies in clients having limited nonworking dollars to invest in crafting different creative experiences,” summed up Hung, adding: “Getting the same ad on OTT and a mobile device is a terrible experience, and I never approve of that.”

Havas is “focusing more and more” on the challenges and opportunities in creative, given channel and device fragmentation, he said. “How do we make the creativity piece better when we know that there are so many touchpoints along the way?”

For instance, he said, given that research shows that mental acuity suffers when people multitask — as in simultaneous TV viewing and phone use — “maybe we need to use that insight in developing creative. Maybe we need to make it that much more ‘absorbable.’” 

1 comment about "Reaching The Elusive 'TVideo' Viewer ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 2, 2016 at 2:42 p.m.

    Regarding "multitasking" studies have shown that it is quite small at any given moment while a person is watching TV/video content. It increases, of course, when that content is accessed digitally but is still not the worrysome issue that some think it is. If the content is engaging, people will watch it; if not they will leave the room for a number of minutes, multitask, or simply stop paying attention. Also, digital video needs a lot more worthwhile and engaging content than it offers currently to attain the kinds of volumetric consumption scale that most branding advertisers require. When this is attained and people in large numbers start watching said content, as well as the ads, the ad dollars will come---but not before.

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