Fans and advertisers were left ‘mugged off’ this week as ITV ‘pied’ Love Island for 2020 but telly audiences are booming right now – so how can TV advertising emerge stronger from this crisis? 

Add into the mix the cancellation of this summer’s major sporting events, tumbling advertising prices and an impending ad recession, and you could be forgiven for thinking the picture for TV advertising doesn’t look too sharp right now. 

But there are positives. TV audiences and ecommerce advertising are surging.

Adtech is bringing precision, targeting and measurement to TV. Lower prices are making TV accessible to start-ups looking to benefit from TV’s scale, creating a new client base for broadcasters.

TV still retains its crown for delivering ads that are native to the viewing experience.

So how can TV advertising emerge stronger from this crisis? 

What game changing tech is out there that will transform the appeal and fortunes of the sector?

How can the whole ecosystem make TV advertising more effective?

Or are rock bottom ad prices and shrinking budgets the new normal?

Here’s what Adland had to say:

Martin O’Boyle, Managing Director, Partnerships PMX, Publicis Media:

“This crisis has shown us that whilst TV is held in the greatest of esteem by consumers with viewing figures rocketing, there are still some opportunities for TV come back stronger, when things move into our new normal.

“For starters we should all utilise better data to plan our TV campaigns – 5,200 homes was fine 20 years ago but is simply not sufficient to deliver true data driven advertising. Utilising more robust data sets will allow advertisers to target the right consumer at the right time and maximise effectiveness of TV. This can and should be applied across both linear TV and video advertising.  

We need to make the best data available for our clients alongside the best tech to manage it, which will allow TV to compete with the digital giants when it comes to better use of data. This is an opportunity to change the industry and make TV more effective for advertisers, we will fail if we don’t take it. 

Alex Debenham-Burton, VP, Head of Reservation Media, Essence:

“As the world is confined to their homes, both linear and catch up TV viewing has boomed. It remains to be seen whether TV will hold on to the spike in younger viewers when people begin to ease into some of their old routines, but we expect that the lockdown will accelerate uptake of VOD among older audiences, which is where the revenue growth opportunities exist for broadcasters.

“We’ve already seen broadcasters invest in the technology (ITV’s imminent launch of Planet V and C4’s enhanced first-party data matching products are examples), making broadcast TV content more accessible for advertisers as a result. 

“With BARB’s latest iteration of BVOD measurement soon to be released, we may well see an increase in advertisers of all sizes who target niche and older audiences with an increased blend of BVOD vs linear as a lasting effect of the pandemic.”

Martyn Bentley, Commercial Director, AudienceProject:

“The crisis has turned the audience and industry (linear and digital) norms on their heads. Previously reliable (buy and sell-side) planning models based on pre-COVID behaviours and prices will not deliver the optimised value for advertisers and broadcasters that is required now.

“As an audience research company, we hope that this new horizon will accelerate the establishment of better cross-channel measurement consensus and practices. An improved view of where specific audiences are and how they are behaving will benefit all participants in the ecosystem.

“The technology and data exist now – the consensus doesn’t…yet. In the times of taking action for mutual benefit, perhaps we will see change.”

Patrick O’Reilly, Head of Broadcast, Goodstuff:

“My confidence in TV advertising has never been higher, not because of the increased audiences  but because of the remarkable adaptability, creativity & flexibility from our broadcasters. Whether that’s flexible trading, removal of AB deadlines making TV more nimble & accessible or tapping into the mood of the nation with #ClapForCarers or Get Britain Talking.

“Co-Vid19 has accelerated the growth in VoD viewing, our ability to report combined linear/vod viewing will be key to TV’s future. Sky’s CFlight that will capture all live, time-shifted and on-demand viewing in one place, is eagerly awaited by TV Buyers everywhere.

“Efficiency and risk-aversion will be the order of the day for many brands looking to weather the storm, TV’s ability to drive ROI, it’s lower cost entry point plus the incredible leaps in Addressable TV and targeting capabilities will make it a natural home for many brands.

“CTV & SVOD are also seeing growth that could threaten the traditional broadcasters, not only stealing audience but stealing advertising revenue and changing the ecosystem in the long-term. Short-term however buyers beware, CTV has a fraudulent ad problem, albeit a much smaller one than display.

Mihir Haria-Shah  Head of Broadcast: Total Media:

“It’s been well document over the past few years of TV’s struggle to keep the attention of young audiences. Changing habitual behaviour isn’t easy but whether it has been for escapism or an information source, young audiences have come back to TV over the past few weeks.

“Post-pandemic we could see this behaviour change stick with younger audiences seeing linear TV as a key component of their content consumption, again.”

Will Meredith, Media Director, Golley Slater:

“Coronavirus has hit TV advertising hard. With ITV and C4 both reporting significant reductions in ad-revenue and programming budgets.  TV advertising had already been impacted by the proliferation of digital channels and subscription services such as Netflix becoming main-stream – binge watching Tiger King has become synonymous with the lockdown. Disney Plus has emerged with 50million plus global subscribers.

“TV advertising needs to become more agile as it emerges from the initial impact of coronavirus and may well accelerate the programmatic buying of the media, reduced client budgets will inevitably demand improvements in audience targeting and ROI.”

TV has shown its strengths over the last few months being a trusted source of information but also a mass influencer of behaviour change.TV will edge back to where we were, revenue will start to rise again and impacts, as people’s daily routines normalise, will fall back in line, or will they?

Frank Lyons, Director, AMS Media:

“For TV to emerge stronger it has to adapt and open up opportunities around the edges.

“TV consumption over the last few weeks has changed not just in terms of volume, but also the types of content and  when we watch it. Understanding and catering for a whole different demand cycle where more people are at home throughout the day or actively looking for new interests could open up new revenue streams.

“TV can still be the trusted immediate cover builder its famed for but it can now show it’s power to the smaller client budgets through targeted relevant content, where brands are truly entwined in the fabric of programming or through the advancement of addressable TV. Both these options create more interactive, community-based content for brands to align with.”

John Regan, Founder, Mymyne:

“There’s been a widely reported surge in streaming TV during the pandemic and the accepted wisdom is this is here to stay. This is fantastic for TV advertising because, with connected TV, the amount of data on ‘who’s viewing what’ is considerably higher.

“In this context, there’s a lot to be learned from Netflix. A significant portion of Netflix’s growth is attributed to how Netflix’s apply Machine Learning to their user data to deliver content based on previous views and similar users.

“The game changer comes when TV advertising adapts this adtech to tailor advertising content to individual users. Then ITV hub and the like will become much more than an afterthought.”

‘Emerge Stronger’ is the theme of this year’s MAD//Fest London (11-12 Nov, Old Truman Brewery). Click here for more details.