With the 2015 upfront market in full swing, we find ourselves at a watershed moment as the medium we’ve always known as conventional television converges with the rest of the emerging digital media landscape.
What’s interesting about this collision of tectonic media plates is not that the linear Grande Dames of TV are joining the digital party, but just as the NewFronts just one-upped the Upfronts, digital media and business culture are bringing traditional TV to a voluntary heel and changing it for the better.
From producers to packagers to marketers and the collective brands they represent, we’re all witnessing the last desperate gasps of aristocratic video delivery and instead embracing the dawn of democratization of content and its consumption.
And not at all unlike those outraged peasants who stormed the Bastille, consumers of this video content have the former nobility fast on the run and the smartest are already adopting the look and activities of these newly enabled digital masses.
In today’s emerging television world, a demo is now a demo, regardless of the network where it chooses to invest itself, at what specific time of day or, indeed, by which platform or platforms it decides to engage whatever fleeting video whim.
Like a stone or iron statue, our linear channel hierarchies of the past are toppled onto their side, pulled down by the ropes of empowered consumers and leaving a grand clutter of egalitarian content and exponential audience fragmentation.
Wading through that sort of profound rubble can’t help but produce anxiety, and sometimes it’s better to steel one’s self with silicon CPU chip devoid of any romance or nostalgia over deciding when, where or how to cut bait on past relations or strike out in uneasy new advertising directions.
Some of today’s very best marketers, led by brand-savvy groups like Kraft Foods, are working to reduce the anxieties and complexities of this new media landscape. They’re assessing media planning and purchasing in the sometimes cold, harsh light of simple data, relying on the numbers to ensure a secure place at the table.
For many, programmatic selection is as efficient and inevitable in television as it’s already become online, rendering the opaqueness of multiple insertions and arbitrage as attractive as an abacus.
As these conventional TV walls tumble down, how might the television medium become even better for the people who wish to both reap and sow maximum value from converging media avails? Stop to consider some of the emerging efficiencies:
• “Bundles” of most every kind are withering as consumers disaggregate the content they want most, stripping schedules, day parts, networks and entire platforms of artificial premiums, inefficiencies and – in some cases – abuses.
• Networks that used to ride herd on marketers interested in obtaining placements in only a few premium programs can no longer bolster their weakest performers with high pricing but must instead offer more comprehensive flights with access to all the top shows in order to remain competitive.
• “One hit wonder” networks with one or two key original shows stand a better chance of exposing buyers to significant untapped value that exists within second or third-tier programs they might have previously never considered.
• Newer, smaller, more nimble and independent networks have a much better opportunity to distinguish themselves and unlock incredibly viable incremental values to all of these more conventional tune-in options.
The inherent value of programmatic is that it culls through this myriad of different options without the flesh-and-blood biases that close the velvet rope to the exact same demo who might spend his weekend in blue jeans but his work week in an Armani suit. It discovers and groups that indiscriminate user data together, delivering highly efficient counsel and value to the television buying process while ensuring video storytelling remains the most vibrant means to convey marketer’s brand attributes.
Digital pricing models (CPMs vs. CPP or CPS) yields a cornucopia of transparent cross-platform metrics, offering TV an important opportunity to flex the medium’s muscles and show its true strength vs. online or social media. With their long-form spots of 15 seconds, 30 seconds and a minute, marketers can continue to tell a compelling tale, but should do it to far more select audiences.
Every revolution is typically more an evolution and it’s more than high time for all media outlets to embrace this brave new world.
Consumers no longer discriminate between individual time slots or networks or even major mediums, instead mixing and matching to fit their demands at any given place or time. It’s an incredibly liberating proposition that promise to take television – the “new” television – into places it’s never broached before.
And everyone stands to benefit. So ask yourself: Are you willing to evolve? Or would you instead seek to prolong a marketplace grown far too complacent with false exclusivities and discrimination that can’t help but alienate these newly empowered consumers as they’re ascending your businesses’ ramparts?
Liberty. Equality. Fraternity. The digital revolution of television is upon us and the going is great.
Condon is CEO of privately-held automated TV buying platform AdMore, which reaches more than 110 million households across 200 DMAs. The company optimizes TV campaigns to help marketers more effectively target audiences at scale. Prior to joining AdMore, Condon was an executive with Time Warner. He has more than 25 years of global media experience spanning several Time Warner divisions — in media monetization working in digital at AOL, in national print with Time Inc., and cross-platform media for Time Warner Cable.