Think about this: Every spring, thousands of TV buyers and advertisers travel to Manhattan to queue up for seats in event spaces all over the city, to be pitched shows that may or may not be available for them to buy into, for many, many, many millions of dollars.
Why do they do that? Because TV advertising works. Everybody with scaled, mass-appeal products wants it — and there are only so many spots to go around.
However, the explosion of choices on TV, the resulting audience fragmentation, ratings declines, ad-free streaming services, digital ad competition and profit pressure from Wall Street is making the world of TV network advertising much more complicated these days.
TV networks are being pressured to deliver much more for advertisers, even if they have to do it with less: more value-add, more integrations, more digital sizzle, more snappy insights.
I don’t disagree that some of these tactics can produce returns, but I think TV networks’ best opportunity to drive more value and growth from their advertising is actually to do less, not more.
This is the time for TV media owners to trust in TV. Transparency, automation and more advertiser control will help today’s advertisers better exploit the power of TV, will drive more demand, and will reduce costs. It will be a win-win for advertisers and networks alike.
Deliver transparency. The more TV networks do to proactively report on what they are selling and delivering, with deep transparency into granular audience composition, reach by spot and network, de-averaged frequency, impression level conversion and sales attribution, the more their clients will value the product.
Automate. The more advertisers and agencies can put “hands on keyboards” and transact without voluminous numbers of calls, meetings and faxes, the easier TV networks will be to work with, the more new and different advertisers that will try TV (many digital-first brands will only transact through dashboards), and the less costly it will be to service accounts.
Cede control. The more information advertisers have, and the more automation there is, the more they will want to control how each and every TV ad spot is allocated to them.
This is a good thing for TV companies. The more control buyers have, the more value they will drive, the more responsibility they will take, the more value they will pay, the less costly it will be to service them. That is all good for TV networks.
What do you think? Will TV networks get more by doing less?