TV's united front to tackle "inaccurate claims" from digital

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 17 May 2016

Think TV provides a unified voice for television to fight against “inaccurate claims”, “hyperbole” and “questionable metrics” from rival media channels, media executives tell AdNews.

Seven chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette and MCN chief executive Anthony Fitzgerald suggest a divided TV sector has, at times, struggled to present a clear message through the “noise", which partly refers to claims by new media players such as Facebook and YouTube. Last week a new research body Think TV was formed to unite the industry.

“The facts remain that television as a media is still by far the most effective and powerful way to deliver for a brand and an outcome. But there’s a lot of noise out there, more than there has ever been, and we felt we needed to change the conversation and get the facts out there more often,” Burnette says.

“It’s still a competitive environment and there’s a job to do in Canberra around Free TV and ASTRA will still do what they need to, but from a advertising perspective it was not helpful having different messaging out there. It just confused matters, we all were trying to tell good stories around television but in different ways.”

A major gripe for TV executives is the often spurious comparisons between TV and online video viewing, comparing metrics that don't offer like-for-like.

Fitzgerald says there’s been a “gaping lack of commonsense” in the advertising market for some time about television and the impact broadcast advertising environments can make to advertisers.

“Much of the industry’s conversation about the rise of online video viewing, for example, has been distilled down to a simplistic conclusion that broadcast television viewing and therefore television advertising must be getting eaten alive, a conclusion that is fundamentally wrong,” he says. “One reason for these wayward perceptions is measurement.

“Putting video “views” against TV “viewers” as a valid audience comparison, for example, is absurd. I’ve got no problem with video views being used as a measure of online video consumption (although it’s not the only one) but you simply can not put video views and TV viewers up against each other and make any comparison for media planning or advertising effectiveness.”

The whole concept of Think TV is modelled on the UK's Thinkbox, which has carried out research on how different age groups consume media.

In the millennial category, who are regularly cited as the YouTube generation, the video platform only accounts for 10.3% of all video viewing. Facebook contributes 5.7%, SVOD players like Netflix and DVDs make up 12.4% and broadcast television makes up 57.5%. Of the time millenials spend watching video advertising, broadcast TV accounts for 87.6% while YouTube is 1.4%, which illustrates that YouTube viewers skip many ads on the platform.

“That has enormous implications for advertisers. There’s abundant evidence proving broadcast television environments generate the highest advertising ROI of any media channel for any age group or customer segment,” Fitzgerald adds.

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