Media buying has traditionally been about blending ingredients together for the perfect marketing mix. But with so many new channels and such fragmented audiences, this age-old recipe is rapidly becoming more difficult to follow. So, what’s to be done?
The age of total video
TV is complicated these days. In just one household, a family could be watching live TV, streaming, watching downloads and checking out highlights online – all at the same time. They might be using a second screen to chat with friends, play games or send emails too. And of course, this might all be happening on different devices, inside the house and on the go.
TV is evolving with the times and people are watching in myriad ways. It’s digital, it’s on every device – and it’s not held back by a schedule. The rise in online and on-demand video has been stratospheric across Europe: a 2019 report from the European Commission shows 4 in 10 have a TV and/or film subscription. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, revenues from Pay TV and paid VOD (video on demand) rose by 14% to around €4bn in 2018. This is forecast to grow another 13% this year to €4.5bn. Meanwhile, 42% of Internet users in France watch online video content every day, with this rising to 53% in Spain.
This is the age of total video.
Young people love ‘TV’
The reality is that TV today is evolving and should be seen as total video. There is very much a blurring of the lines as to what it is today, from traditional linear broadcast TV, live streaming or VoD. It doesn’t matter what you call it, TV can now be any kind of video content.
The European Commission’s report finds that an enormous 86% of Internet users aged 15–24 say they have streamed or downloaded film and TV content in the last year, alongside 72% of those aged 25–39. As these young people grow up, marketers will need to focus on them as they become the key demographic with purchasing power.
In the UK, OTT services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and NOW TV are increasingly popular, with the new Disney+ slated to be available from November 2019, which will only add to the competitiveness (and the revenues) of this marketplace. There is a clear shift from viewing video content on actual TV sets to watching it on multiple platforms and devices.
We consumers live in the golden age of television. But for marketers, it can be overwhelming. An increasingly fragmented video landscape and novel watching behaviours across devices are prompting marketers to endlessly (and exhaustingly) question and re-evaluate their media spend.
Europe leads the way on innovation
The main thing to remember, however, is that it’s a golden age of video for marketers, too.
Of course, with cross-device viewing behaviours, video campaigns must be cross-device too. This requires meticulous planning and a profound understanding of viewing behaviours. But there has never been more insight into viewing patterns which can be used to plan and design campaigns, from the creatives to the messaging. With algorithms to tailor content for consumers, marketers also get a look in at individual preferences and can use this to personalise and deliver the best brand experiences they can.
The market is still adapting to this new total video cross-device reality. Measurement is moving forward in order to cater for all four screens (TV, desktop, smartphone, tablet), but we are still far from having an ideal unified currency to measure all formats.
A simple solution to a multifaceted problem
To solve the headache of cross-device campaigns, marketers should have one unique source to plan, buy and optimise campaigns across all channels, allowing them to deliver what consumers want in a more effective and simple manner. That way, businesses are uniquely positioned to benefit from the era of total video, from new ways of buying and selling video inventory internationally, and from new TV formats which allow them to truly connect with consumers and compete with tech giants. That means less time planning and buying across markets, less spend on creating a different campaign for each market, and therefore more time and money for optimising and tailoring campaigns.
This is what EBX (European Broadcaster Exchange) is doing: address the demand for quality online video campaigns at scale, by providing an automated and data-driven way to plan, buy and sell inventory across Europe. It is the biggest European broadcaster exchange, the result of a joint venture founded by Mediaset (Italy and Spain), ProSiebenSat.1 Media (Germany), TF1 Group (France) and Channel 4 (United Kingdom), which together are working to simplify the world of premium video.
TV is increasingly cross-border, with new ways of watching appearing every day – each of which represents a new way for brands to connect with new customers. But the digitisation and fragmentation of the media landscape doesn’t have to be a headache. Marketers just need a new recipe book to ensure they are getting the most out of the golden age of TV, just like their customers are. The key ingredients are an understanding of the shifts in consumer trends and all-purpose tools to reach target audience segments effectively, no matter when, where or how they are getting their telly.