Outlook - TV in 2024 will be about measurement, fragmentation and streaming

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 15 December 2023

The television landscape in 2024 will feature key themes of measurement, audience fragmentation and an increased focus on streaming.

The advertising market, including metropolitan free-to-air, regional free-to-air, and Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD), excluding SBS, was down 7.9% to $3.6 billion in the year to June, according to numbers released by industry body ThinkTV in August.

VOZ from OzTAM is becoming the total TV currency next year, backed by the national free-to-air networks.

However, some insiders say the industry runs the risk of becoming “a mess” of methodologies with Foxtel going with its own measurement, in partnerships with VideoAmp and Kantar 

Rod Prosser, chief sales officer at Paramount Australia, says a total TV proposition is critical to any broadcaster’s success.

“The future of Total TV, in my view, is a world where you can pull all that together and effectively chase a CPM and/or deliver a broad audience across various platforms,” he says.

The shift to digital has resulted in an increased focus on 9Now, with Michael Stephenson, Nine’s chief sales officer, saying that the way in which Nine is accelerating towards its digital future with the combination of terrestrial TV, live streaming and on demand with 9Now is “really becoming a serious thing”.

“The power of 9Now amongst its traditional competitive set, but also its ability to accelerate into the digital video market, and really change the game for video advertising is progressing really, really well against our plans,” he told AdNews.

Seven is similarly eyeing the performance of its BVOD platform off the back of signing a deal with NBCUniversal earlier this year, according to Brook Hall, Seven’s director of content scheduling, 

“The NBC content is 15% of our VOD minutes on 7plus currently. That's what they've done in a really short time and that proportion keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Kim Portrate

Kim Portrate (pictured right) , CEO of ThinkTV, says maintaining top-of-mind awareness and share of voice has never been more important, given brands are responding to anxious, and more value-conscious consumers.

“Establishing and holding mental availability in the minds of consumers will help businesses ride out this rough economic patch and thrive after it passes,” she says.

“Advertisers choosing how to spend their marketing budgets are naturally also looking to get value out of every dollar. With that in mind, it’s not the time to risk your marketing spend.”

Portrate says experienced marketers know that total TV offers a trusted, brand-safe way to reach new and existing customers in an ecosystem that offers a full-funnel experience. 

“The fact of the matter is total TV reaches more than 20 million Australians every week,” she told AdNews.

“Other platforms may claim to have an audience of the same size but there’s a vast difference between reach and high-velocity reach. TV has a unique ability to reach huge audiences quickly and simultaneously.

“To get the full picture, it’s worth layering in consumer attention with reach. 

“Remember, your audience isn’t going to take in your brand as effectively when it sees a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it six-second pre-roll video. 

“When you’re choosing how to allocate your ad spend, keep in mind that independent research has found TV delivers twice the active attention of YouTube and 15 times the active attention of Facebook.”

Media agencies and adtechs on AI, CTV and what to keep an eye on in 2024

Chris Colter (pictured right), chief strategy and product officer at Initiative, said in a year that featured Barbie, the Women’s World Cup Grand Finals and SXSW Sydney, it felt like the industry shook off hyper-personalisation and got swept up in collective crazes again, and the publishers and advertisers with the foresight to lean into those opportunities reaped real rewards.

Chris Colter

“What’s awesome is this energy is moving forward into 2024,” he said. 

“I haven’t been this excited for a year ahead in a long time. The announcements made across this year’s upfronts weren’t the same cute program tweaks or homogenised data propositions, but proper gamechangers. 

“Seven’s full ownership of AFL and Cricket digital rights, Nine’s total coverage of the Olympics and QMS’ AOC partnership will reshape how advertisers activate around sport. I expect to see more connected brand activation than ever before with both powerhouses announcing some exceptionally interesting tech and fan experience innovations.”

Colter said that the adoption of AI not as a gimmick but a real experience enhancer is also one to watch.

“Whether it’s Seven’s databricks partnership personalising the 7Plus experience, Foxtel’s Hubbl, SBS’ ad-control or even Nine’s wild ad-manager that creates full blown TVCs for clients, I actually think this will create a new step-change in how consumers will experience media and how advertisers will activate,” Colter told AdNews.

“I also think how publishers are diving into retail media verse treating it as an enemy is very smart. oOH’s launch of RE-OOH is a bloody smart move and whilst I still have no idea what Nine’s RTLX is I’m sure it’ll offer something interesting in this space. I expect to see the audio players follow suit, as an extension of the in-store radio solutions they’re already providing.”

Colter said that the only area where he walks into 2024 with caution is measurement. 

Lucy Formosa-Morgan

“It’s still a mess and we’re just adding more methodologies and theories into the mix - VOZ launched (ish) to muted applause, Foxtel is disrupting this even further, we’re also seeing attention, NEOs, neuroscience and AI analytics being promised as a silver bullet for marketing effectiveness but nothing just yet is unifying them all,” he said.

“Each have their merit, but together it’s just messy and confusing.

“Overall, I go into 2024 not just with optimism but excitement around the new potentials at our fingertips.”

Lucy Formosa Morgan (pictured right), MD of Magna, said a major shift in 2023 has been consumption habits of premium video (including linear). 

“Delays in VOZ has slowed the shift to converged trading for ‘Total TV’ and as a result, TV spend has been impacted with money migrating away to other channels,” she said.

Looking ahead to 2024, Formosa-Morgan said that linear audiences will continue to migrate to CTV with so much choice (BVOD, SVOD, AVOD, FAST, etc.) and this will fragment the Total TV viewing landscape even further.

“In terms of accessing the ‘unreachables’ (audiences hidden behind ad-free paywalls), more opportunities will arise with the likes of Prime Video and Paramount+ launching ad supported tiers,” she said. 

“Going into what will no doubt be a challenging economy, I’d expect consumers to rationalise/switch SVOD services. The opportunity is for BVOD to capitalise; however, the networks need to make their platforms stickier, more attractive (UX) to consumers e.g. reduced ad loads, frequency capping.”

Melanie Hoptman, MD APAC at LiveRamp, agreed that CTV will play a critical role going forward, saying 2023’s meteoric rise in the adoption of CTV will lead to one of 2024’s biggest opportunities: advertisers elevating their TV marketing efforts with data collaboration.

“Amidst audiences and viewing habits becoming more fragmented, as well as advertisers continuing to suffer from the broader trend of signal loss, the ecosystem will continue to move towards identity solutions,” she said. 

“Data collaboration leverages first-party data and enables better advertising outcomes between advertisers and publishers - including in CTV - and for those on the cutting edge, will power better cross-screen measurement, currency, and someday soon, upfront deals.

“As Retail Media Networks also increase in popularity at staggering rates, synergies between the data-rich retailers and data-demanding CTV advertising will emerge, driving further investment in both."

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (pictured right), head of trading at UM Australia, said linear TV spend finally started to mirror audience declines in 2023 as UM and its clients have driven a true Total Screens approach to planning. 

“With market declines, according to SMI for YTD September sitting at -15% YoY, our clients are experiencing similar trends,” he said. 

“For 2024, the outlook remains for high levels of cautiousness for our clients. We aren’t expecting budget cuts as yet, however we have seen a shift, for some clients, to a more short-term budget approval process. 

“In the past where clients would have signed off twelve- or six-month plans, this is more likely to be three-month approvals.” 

Murray said that the key opportunity that exists in 2024 is an evolution in the way UM plans, negotiates, and executes Total TV campaigns on behalf of its clients." 

“During the recent Upfronts season we saw all our major partners talk about the importance of converged audiences; in fact we saw Foxtel announce an entirely new measurement system with Kantar,” he told AdNews.

“It seems that 2024 is slowly developing into the ‘Year of Total Screens Measurement’ and it will be critical for the industry to find a unified solution that encompasses all video partners.”

A foundational change in measurement

Andrew Gilbert, director of platforms at Yahoo AUSEA, said that more change has happened within the TV industry in the last 12 months than the past five years combined. 

“While COVID gave viewers an appetite and opportunity to access premium content through a myriad of different channels including subscription and ad-supported video, it’s left advertisers scrambling to catch up,” he said.

“While this new ecosystem is being branded as Total TV, I would hazard to guess nearly every agency and marketer has a subtly different definition of what Total TV actually is.”

Andrew Gilbert

Gilbert (pictured right) said this means that 2023 has been the year where premium supply, tech and measurement approaches have sprinted to catch up to this acceleration, driven by a notable decline in linear audiences and uptake on digital channels. 

“A good example is the FIFA Women's World Cup which showed that, when executed well, there is still a huge appetite for mass-participation viewing moments with the Matildas, with people opting to watch across linear and digital channels with Seven and Optus,” he told AdNews.

“This trend has been reflected in the recent TV Upfronts where each network demonstrated either a focus on scaling sporting rights across linear and digital channels, or doing the same with already scaled brand platforms like Masterchef,

Gilbert said that measurement has been the foundational change with tech and networks, creating either holistic or individual approaches to Total TV such as Samba TV and Adgile Media. 

He said that news of Foxtel’s VideoAmp based measurement solution coming to market in the 2nd half of 2024 should be of little surprise for those grappling with the complexities and gaps in data in TV measurement. 

“Some of these approaches aim to answer for part of or the full pie (VOZ Streaming or ACR data), some of them look to work within their own owned and operated realm (Seven’s Phoenix as an example),” he said.

“By the end of 2024, Australia’s TV measurement landscape will have foundationally changed to a multi-currency market like that of our US friends which will require nuance and careful understanding to navigate effectively.”

Gilbert said that as TV partners have upped their game in offering multiple levels of consumption opportunities for consumers - through methods such as Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) channels, Ad Supported Video on Demand (AVOD) subscriptions, as well as SVOD providers creating their own ad tiers - brands and agencies, while accepting the currency standard that is OzTam and VOZ, need more detail so will continue to create bespoke multi-measurement approaches that answer for their needs. 

“The good news here is that there is a great opportunity to go beyond panels and understand what the majority of consumers are really watching at any moment, and which ads are being served,” he said.

“Total subscription level TV sits at around the 20M+ consumer mark right now in Australia. Removing duplication, the Australian market will have a significant new area for brand advertising in ad supported areas, which needs measurement to prove reach and effectiveness. 

“Our current standards do not provide this.”

Streaming TV to take centre stage

Yael Milbank, MD ANZ at Magnite, said one of the most significant trends in the industry for 2023 has been the transition from linear TV to streaming TV. 

Changing consumer preferences around content consumption are predominantly driving this transition, with 65% of Australian consumers choosing to watch ad-supported streaming TV in exchange for more access to premium content.

Media owners have taken note of this trend and in response, have introduced more ad-supported tiers -  among them, Foxtel Media’s Binge Basic offering. 

“This provides advertisers the unique opportunity to reach highly engaged viewers watching their favourite shows and sports with the added benefits that digitally delivered streaming provides, such as real-time data and better addressability,” he said.

“Live sports has also continued to be a key driver for streaming thanks to its unmatched ability to engage viewers. Nine Now’s coverage of the Cricket World Cup and Seven’s coverage of the Matildas are a true testament of the power of live sports streaming content. 

“For example, the Matildas’ Women’s World Cup clash with England was the most-watched television program ever in Australia, reaching 11.5 million Australian viewers, with an average audience of 7.13 million according to OztAM - the biggest audience recorded since its audience measurement system started in 2001.”

Yael MilbankMilbank (pictured right) said that in 2024, streaming TV will take center stage, as due to no longer relegated to an afterthought in media buying, all streaming TV will be planned and integrated in conjunction with linear TV and become a pivotal component of impactful ad campaigns.

“With the proliferation of FAST channels, new OEM entrants and increased accessibility to premium supply coming next year, advertisers can now easily tap into streaming TV supply to precisely reach their audiences across a wide range of content and viewership,” he told AdNews.

“To help efficiently buy across all of these inventory sources, advertisers and agencies will work closely with tech partners who can help them navigate this complex landscape.”

Milbank said that ad spend optimisation is emerging as a crucial imperative, as every ad dollar is scrutinised and must demonstrate maximum impact, with the increased pressure to deliver effective results, buyers will need to be more strategic about their media spend and focus on making it work smarter. 

“Leveraging the power of programmatic can help bring more efficiency and accountability into media investments,” he said. 

“Its ease of use, agility and data-driven capabilities give brands the ability to be flexible with their spend and adjust their strategies quickly and efficiently to ensure they are investing their ad dollars in quality inventory.

“Never has a single channel had so much potential to disrupt the advertising industry”

James Bayes, VP ANZ at The Trade Desk, said lockdowns supported broadcast audiences during the pandemic years, but in 2023 an unexpected shift occurred where audiences fragmented more rapidly than anyone anticipated. 

“Meanwhile, broadcasters invested heavily in streaming services, securing new content deals, expanding streaming rights, and introducing numerous FAST channels that fuelled the surge in live streaming via BVOD,” he said.

“Furthermore, their investments in measurement solutions like VOZ Streaming and Foxtel's venture into alternative identity currencies are enabling the transition towards a streaming-centric future, which is approaching sooner than many realise.”

BVOD is now deeply rooted in the viewing habits of millions of Australians, with approximately 2.5 million viewers choosing it over linear TV, engaging with 26 million hours of BVOD content on a weekly basis. 

James Bayes, ANZ Vice President, The Trade DeskAs such, Bayes (pictured right) said that marketers are increasingly adopting BVOD for its data-driven advantages and incremental reach, while capitalising on the trust and audience receptiveness associated with traditional linear TV.

‘Despite the economic headwinds, BVOD revenues maintained their rapid ascension, highlighting its crucial role in any video strategy,” he said.

Bayes said that the proliferation of ad-funded tiers within premium streaming services will accelerate audience fragmentation, leading to further disruption in the TV industry. 

“Ad-supported streaming platforms will emerge as strong contenders competing with traditional broadcasters for both audience attention and ad revenue,” he told AdNews.

“Even though these new entrants present promising opportunities for brands, the access of ads on streaming platforms being restricted to certain media-buying platforms will pose challenges for marketers who are looking to execute and measure campaigns consistently across multiple platforms. 

“Nevertheless, in the long term, marketers will appreciate the assurance of knowing where their ads are placed.”

Bayes said that its also worth noting that SVOD services historically attracted hard-to-reach younger and affluent audiences, making them enticing for brands. 

“Yet, the recent introduction of ads across these services offers marketers the opportunity to redirect their investments into premium, safer, and higher-performing environments, compared to user-generated platforms like YouTube,” he said.

He said that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics revolutionised how Australians consumed sports on TV, and  he foresees the 2024 Paris Olympics boosting BVOD further with a combination of live, on-demand, and short-form content. 

“The Games will be another monumental moment in streaming, attracting substantial new audiences to 9Now with the potential of converting casual and older TV viewers into regular streaming natives,” Bayes said. 

“Likewise, we’ve seen major content agreements in the sports domain. Next year marks the first time that Channel Seven holds the streaming rights for both the AFL and Cricket Big Bash League (albeit only from Grand Final Day in the case of the AFL). 

“The availability of the country's two major sporting events on a free-to-air, ad-supported streaming platform is set to bring about a significant behavior change. I predict that these two deals alone will substantially boost the total BVOD market by 15%.”

Bayes said that the challenge of TV measurement remains unresolved with the industry hindered by fragmented measurement practices, and marketers need to push for more transparent and effective solutions. 

“In discussions with major brand advertisers partnering with The Trade Desk, a prevailing aspiration is for BVOD to emerge as a scaled alternative to user-generated content platforms like YouTube,” Bayes told AdNews.

“It’s worth highlighting that the recent introduction of ads by streaming giants has added another layer of complexity to TV measurement. The 'walled garden' nature of these platforms restricts marketers' ability to objectively measure omnichannel campaigns.

“Similarly, Google's termination of agreements with independent measurement firms such as Comscore and Kantar signifies a deeper plunge into the vortex of black boxes. Their transition to an internal survey-based methodology, notably in vital aspects like co-viewing, further underscores YouTube's lack of independent and impartial measurement, a quality increasingly sought after by today's marketers.”

Bayes said that The Trade Desk believes everything in digital advertising so far has been a dress rehearsal for what’s to come with premium ad-funded video. 

“Never has a single channel had so much potential to disrupt the advertising industry,” he said. 

“According to our latest The Trade Desk Future of TV Report, Australians are significantly more inclined (3.8x) to trust ads they see on Total TV (combining linear TV and BVOD) compared to those seen on social media. 

“Initially regarded as an extension of linear TV, BVOD is now rapidly emerging as the primary video distribution channel for numerous brands. I'm thrilled about the potential growth of BVOD advertising, considering the projected 34% surge in BVOD viewership by 2026.”

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