Undeniably, the world of linear television is facing challenges. Streaming services, broadcasters’ media centres, and video platforms are looming large. Yet, more than 100 years ago, Riepl’s law was set forth. It states that new, further developed types of media never wholly replace the existing modes. Rather, convergence and transformation take place: TV is not eradicated by new forms of video entertainment and usage but changed. By the same token, large television broadcasters will prevail, although the face of video entertainment has evolved heavily within the past 15 years.
One of the greatest advantages of the Internet is its ability to adequately address individual users’ needs through personalised content, videos and online communities. Based on viewers’ interests and behaviour they receive targeted messages – which also appeals to the advertising industry.
This in turn impacts users’ motivation to consult other types of media. Recently, a core takeaway by renowned industry experts at one of the leading media events in Europe, Medientage München, was that these changing habits are no longer limited to the younger generation – they have rapidly taken hold of the entire population. Many consumers prefer to seek out entertainment by surfing the web, or by turning towards media centres or other streaming services.
Despite this battle for viewers’ attention, there is still potential to tap into and the television industry has not quietly surrendered to the new consumption behaviour. Instead, it has increasingly sharpened its focus on the diversification of the devices in their different usage situations.
How can television broadcasters compete with the tech giants?
Broadcasters are fully aware that the times really-are-a-changin’ in their industry and they have started to meet the considerable challenges that transforming viewer demands present.They increasingly focus on their role as publishers and on reforming their value proposition to offer more wholesome monetisation. This approach builds on the unprecedented bundle of content and data – with this unique blend, broadcasters are in a strong position to co-exist alongside the GAFA.
After an initial global move towards market consolidation in the media and tech universe, we are now seeing a greater willingness to invest in content than ever before. At the same time, broadcasters realise their position as content and data owners is an important asset. Against the backdrop of the rapidly growing platform economy, ad tech vendors are the foundation that facilitates unified data for broadcasters.
Technology is an integral element of success for broadcasters – it represents the crucial bridge between digital video advertising and advertising in traditional linear TV channels. By constantly walking the line between standardisation and innovation, ad tech experts allow broadcasters to combine the worlds of digital and broadcast, thereby creating a clear USP that differentiates them from digital competitors and enables more targeted revenue models.
A topic that is receiving a great deal of attention by European broadcasters is Addressable TV (ATV), which marries the best of digital with the best of TV. Advertisers can employ the same degree of data-driven tactics used across Internet platforms to their TV strategies, aided in Europe by the widespread adoption of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) standard. By tapping into TV data made available through this technology, smartclip analyses and segments target audiences based on viewing behaviour and delivers targeted TV ads on a one-to-one device basis. These capabilities not only make ATV the most viable countermeasure against tech giants, but it is a method where everybody wins – broadcasters, advertisers, and consumers alike.
Progress lies in the ability to keep up with industry developments
Fundamental market changes do not happen overnight. For decision makers, identifying developments early on and interpreting them correctly is crucial – then, the necessary adjustments within a company can be planned accordingly. However, this requires reading signs correctly and taking them seriously, as well as an absolute willingness to evolve.
For a company to keep up with the times and gear itself to the ballooning demands of broadcaster digitalisation, it further takes a team of specialists that is able to adapt to the rapidly evolving market conditions.
The maxim, therefore, is transformation rather than eradication; Wolfgang Riepl’s theory still holds true today.
Managed by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, smartclip is an open ad tech platform designed specifically for European broadcasters and streaming services.