Digital TV: What It Means For Advertisers

A lot has changed in the world of television since November 1922 when the BBC produced its first broadcast. The introduction of colour, sound and now streaming has impacted the way that consumers watch TV.

Innovations such as iPlayer and Sky’s record function mean that viewers have moved away from traditional scheduled TV and are instead choosing to watch their favourite programmes digitally. This trend has been driven by the rapid rise in new technology and devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets that allow users to watch their favourite programme whenever, wherever.

This represents a disruptive shift away from traditional viewing, where people watched TV according to fixed broadcast schedules. Viewers can stop, start, rewind and fast-forward their way through their favourite programmes. While this is great news for customers, who get much greater flexibility, it can cause problems for brands that have traditionally used TV advertising as a core marketing channel. With TV increasingly making the transition to digital, viewers are likely to skip the adverts entirely. So how can advertisers communicate brand messages when the TV market is changing at such a rapid, dynamic rate?

The Impact On Advertising

The older generation is a very high-value segment for brands, and for this demographic, traditional TV remains a vital media channel. For brand owners targeting this segment, the shift away from scheduled TV will take the longest.

However, brand owners are now following the audience to social media platforms, mobile devices and other areas of the Internet where interest and discussion is centred – the market is much more splintered than once it was.

Brands are adapting their marketing strategies to ensure they are advertising and engaging with their target audience across myriad platforms. Services like Netflix and StreamTV are pulling millennials away from TV sets and driving them to on-demand digital content instead – and they’re likely to be watching streamed TV, updating Twitter on their smartphone and checking Facebook on their iPad simultaneously.

A Personalised Approach

Brand owners need to consider where the future of TV is going and align their strategies accordingly in order to ensure they are still engaging with their target audience. Personalised, 1:1 commercials are slowly being introduced thanks to digital TV and this new form of customer engagement offers marketers new, exciting opportunities to broaden their outreach.

Marketing and advertising teams need to start considering digital TV as an integral part of their online marketing strategy. Once this happens, brands will be able to take full advantage of rich data insights, implementing predictive marketing, which will allow for programmatic marketing and advertising in real time. For example, if a heatwave is predicted to hit at the beginning of July, a supermarket brand could programme its digital TV advertising campaign to advertise strawberries and cream to tie in with Wimbledon.

New technology is also driving digital. Virtual reality and augmented reality have captured the public’s interest this year. Traditional TV does not have the technology to implement these, however, whereas digital does. This technology is set to become even bigger in 2017, which could lead to the trend for digital TV growing even faster than expected as brands deploy creative campaigns to take advantage of more interactive, immersive experiences.

Branding And Awareness

With digital TV on the rise, the advertising landscape will be dramatically altered. The increase in streaming TV and platforms such as Netflix, that has 86 million paying subscriber worldwide, has lessened the demand for traditional TV advertising significantly, by competing with TV networks for original content, leading to advertising prices dropping accordingly. Sky announced in October 2016 that its advertising fell 3 percent in the three months leading up to September with market analysts predicting that TV advertising is heading for its worst year since the 2008 financial crash.

A good chunk of this advertising spend is now moving to digital instead. Digital TV will overtake traditional broadcasting in the future as an integrated digital marketing and brand awareness platform alongside mobile and outdoor signage. As such, brands will need to make the transition from traditional advertising to digital, which will mean working alongside agencies that were born in the digital era and thus understand how to harness the power of this technology.

Digital disruption has already occurred in a variety of sectors and TV is no exception. When it comes to advertising, traditional TV is on the decline, albeit a slow one. Brands, therefore, need to adapt their marketing strategies accordingly to ensure that they are agile enough to react to further changes and opportunities as they arise.