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Will commercial TV broadcasters be able to ride the wave of the perfect storm?

Steven Scaffardi
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At the end of Wolfgang Petersen’s biographical disaster drama, The Perfect Storm, George Clooney stares out at the 100-foot wave about to devour him and his crew into the darkness of the ocean and utters the harrowing line “She’s not going to let us out.”

It’s a pretty apt line to sum up how many of us might be feeling during this time of social distancing as we adjust to this life of lockdown, especially if like me you have two small people at home who insist on crashing video conference calls with clients with their demands of toilet breaks.

Still, despite a three-week extension to the lockdown, we know we’ll eventually be let back out, but what the world might look like (not to mention the impact to the media landscape) when we get there is definitely one for debate.

We’ll be seeking the answers and expert opinion to questions like that during The Future of TV Advertising UK two-week digital experience, but the reason I started this post with a reference to the George Clooney movie follows the comments from one of media’s most powerful global leaders on Friday.

Speaking to The Guardian, Mediacom’s Global Chairman and CEO, Stephen Allan said “What broadcast media are facing is a perfect storm,” in reference to the fact that whilst TV viewing had increased as we’re all stuck at home, the fact that advertisers have pulled back on spend coupled with the obvious inability for broadcasters to create new shows during lockdown, has undoubtably created a glitch in the supply and demand TV matrix.

Thinkbox reported on their site on April 7 that TV viewing was up by 32% year-on-year, but as part of the page they created in response to the questions they were getting asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TV, they naturally had a more stoic reaction to the question as to whether brands should continue to advertise; advising natural caution but at the same time warning against simply grinding to a halt and pointing to the belief that those brands who do continue to advertise will emerge stronger on the other side.

It is a key topic that will form the opening gambit on April 30 at our Future of TV Advertising UK streamed event when we explore ‘Advertising during a crisis’ as the first of four sessions at our newly formed digital conference.

Two weeks ago, Enders Analysis released a report warning of a “bleak future” for the UK’s commercial TV sector unless the government intervened, going on to say that TV companies are expected to face their biggest ever year-on-year decline in ad revenue by as much as 40% by the end of Q2.

CEO and Founder of Enders Analysis, Claire Enders, will open the event up and discuss the mid and longer-term implications for different stakeholders in the television and advertising value chain, including the new opportunities and the possible winners and losers.

From that point and for the next eight hours, you will hear from expert speakers from ITV, Channel 4, Sky Media, OMD, Publicis Media, Vevo, Samsung Ads, Finecast, Viacom, Direct Line and many more industry leaders who will offer their opinion on how the TV market can navigate their way through this storm and instead of George Clooney’s line of dialogue being the last word on the matter, we’ll instead be left with his co-star Mark Wahlberg’s more positive outlook of “Skip, we’re gonna make it.”

The Future of TV Advertising UK is a two-week content experience running from April 20 – May 1 powered by Videonet and Mediatel News. Make sure you sign up for the bulletins for the daily updates and sign-up for the free streamed event that will take place on April 30 by registering here.

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