Can digital marketers save television advertising?

By Chris Lee

The publication of Ofcom‘s International Communications Market Report in December 2012 showed that UK consumers are the most likely in the world to access TV content over the Internet. So could the dominant, brand engagement mechanism of the 30-second television advertising spot soon lose its crown? With Ofcom reporting that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Internet users access TV online every week, Milya Timergaleyeva, Vice President of Market Strategy for open video software platform provider Oregan Networks, believes is that digital marketers need to take the lead in making a fight back to defend the position of the large-screen TV experience.

Cross-platform campaigns vital

Timergaleyeva believes the “new orthodoxy” is for marketers to adopt new cross-platform campaigns that ultimately will create greater brand loyalty and enhanced sales for advertisers.

“What’s more likely are variations of what we see on the Web but which take account of TV’s inherently ‘lean-back’ and shared experience,” she said. “It is digital marketers who should be taking the lead. It is their requirements that should be driving content creators, platform owners and technologists to create new engagement models for TV.”

The future of TV advertising

Timergaleyeva told NMK that for the last few years there has been a “seismic shift” in the consumption of video content. Led by younger demographic groups adopting personal viewing platforms like smartphones, PCs and tablets, the threat to traditional broadcast TV has been well publicised. In response, she believes, the industry has been working hard to create the core technological elements to enhance TV with the best that the Web has to offer.

“To date digital marketers have had few opportunities to exploit the potential of the new world of ‘smart TV’. We have to assume then, that in the world of connected, on-demand, app-enabled TV, the 30-second slot won’t have the same dominance,” Timergaleyeva said.

Who should take the lead?

According to Timergaleyeva, it is up to the TV manufacturers and broadcasters to ensure the conditions are right for the consumers in order to protect their market share.

“The focus must be on getting the user interface right – if the TV industry learns one thing from the handset and tablet makers, it’s that good user interface design isn’t simply about attractive icons,” she said.

Timergaleyeva also believes that the TV industry must also ensure assets are protected, for both the content owner and end-user. But simply scaling up existing applications and services for the big screen won’t work, she says. Providers will need to take account of TV’s unique position within the home.

“By bringing content together, the TV viewing experience can be totally unified, with social applications overlaid on, integrated with and accessible during broadcast content,” she concluded. “None of us knows exactly what smart TV will look like it two years’ time but we have now all solved all the difficult technological challenges. It is now down to entrepreneurs and innovators to layer the solutions on top of that technology to create compelling new viewer experiences.”

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