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Is TV Advertising Dead
Someone asked me if I thought TV Advertising is dying or dead.
The other week a client of mine asked me what I thought about TV advertising and if it is a dying medium. The thing is that TV is one of the remaining traditional channels that isn't being effected as much as many of the other channels like Radio or Newspapers and print. Although you do have many things influencing how tv ads are being delivered and how they can be intercepted like with Tivo and fast forwarding, TV still remains strong and can reach targeted demographics and audiences.
TV in the earliest days would run expensive ads on a few broadcasting channels. There wasn't much room for targeting a demographic, it was about running when there was time and having an announcer talk about your products. Eventually broadcasting channels started to get more advanced and we began to see commercials popping up in between and during shows. Then a newer thing came about which was not broadcasting tv or free channels but cable TV.
With cable tv came specialized shows and more targeted syndication by geographic area. When they learned how to better monitor the demographics of whose watching it and by mapping it out by who is watching against what zip code and median income from the Census Bureau, advertisers were then able to market by demographics like age, household members, kids, income, city, state, etc... Things were on an uphill climb until TIVO and digital recording came to life.
All of the sudden people could skip the advertisements and fast forward through commercials they didn't want to see. TV stations flipped out because their money comes from the ad buys and if people aren't seeing them and shopping, then advertisers will pull their money. Luckily Marketers got smart and not only worked with the actual TV shows like on Glee where they constantly talk about MySpace and even ran an audition by submitting videos through MySpace but they also got better at grabbing an audiences attention with better music and catchier slogans geared specifically to that target demographic. The fear of people fast forwarding through commercials and skipping ads altogether ended up not having a huge impact so TV stations were safe, until the Internet came in and pulled the eye balls to the video sites.
Once again companies had to get smart. Their audiences began watching shows for free online on different video channels. They downloaded free shows, left comments and gave feedback in real time and even started to send out links. This was cause for a serious fear in TV advertisers but instead of getting scared, some got smart.
Not only did some TV advertisers and Stations start to upload the videos to their websites for viewing, but they also allow their fans to comment on their sites building content and getting feedback on how the audience reacts to their shows. Other stations like Bravo gave their cast members blogs so that they can interact with their fans better and really start to leverage the web. It also opened up retail opportunities to further monetize their product lines and shows.
You can not only buy media time and slots online, but you can also find out who your shopper is by using analytics packages and producers can actually start to see who actually watches their show and what ages their audiences actually are. Some also not only embraced the web, but they also leveraged it and brought their TV online and offline. The Glee MySpace example is a good one but if you also watch, some shows have live twitter streams across them letting fans comment in real time so that they go back to their TVs and get to participate in their shows. That is a brilliant way to get eye balls not only on your websites, but also back on TV so you have advertisers across the board happy and fans who are paying even more attention because you have further engaged them by allowing them to interact with cast members and even comment in real time about the shows.
When someone asked me if I thought TV was dead or a Dying Medium for advertising, I said no. It is just progressing and finding new ways to make video and tv shows work for them. People will always want to see shows live and if they haven't aired on TV, they cannot be leaked onto the web as easily. The web actually gave TV a new life and helped to redefine it. You can have commercials play and not let people move to the next part of the show until they have watched them and you can even make clickable links inside the commercials so that people can shop while they are watching their programs. This could be huge, especially for As Seen On TV products like Fuzzoodles or Fushigi Ball.
If you could get the person to click the link and be able to keep them on the show by using a banner to let them shop on the site or open up a small side window, you could see how well your commercials do online and be able to really find out what is working and what isn't then also apply that to your traditional TV media and see how it works or if there is a connection.
TV is not a dead medium. Marketers are just finding new ways to work with it and Stations are finding that they can also make more money by incorporating their shows into their sites and Advertisers are loving that they now have more options. TV may have taken a couple of small hits but the thing that remains is people love TV and still continue to watch it.