Think TV on Mat Baxter: Feedback is good but facts are better

By Kim Portrate, CEO of ThinkTV | 11 June 2019
Kim Portrate

Australia’s broadcasters are far from “shortsighted” and missing an opportunity to unite, says ThinkTV’s Kim Portrate. Here she replies to comments about the free-to-air networks last week by Initiative global CEO Mat Baxter

I love it when Aussie talent makes it big overseas and so it was a pleasure to welcome Mat Baxter back to our shores last week. His impassioned call for the TV industry to work together was music to my ears and as much as I love a good tune, it did feel like the song was a little more 2015 than 2019.

Last week, Mat called out Australia’s broadcasters as being “shortsighted” and having missed an opportunity to unite for the good of all players across our industry. While I agree that the industry needs to continually to evolve, and in some areas, there is still much work to be done, the process is actually well under way.

Feedback is a gift, especially when it provides an opportunity to reflect on where you have been, where you are now and most importantly, where you’re headed.

The TV industry is dynamic and no-one has the luxury of resting on their single, or collective, laurels. Recognising this, the broadcasters banded together to launch ThinkTV in 2016 in order to better serve agency and advertising clients and the industry itself. That’s just after Mat headed off to New York and it was the start of three years of pretty significant change in the way Australian broadcasters work together on issues of common interest.

Since then, the industry has worked as a collective to empirically show the power and effectiveness of TV when building brands and businesses. A joint focus on video advertising has shown TV and Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD), both vital parts of the total TV platform, are superior to social video. To reframe Mat’s analogy, TV versus YouTube is a little more David versus Goliath than Titanic and an iceberg.

What’s more, TV – the collective Australian "David" – has worked to ensure our entire industry has free and unlimited access to independent, verified research that demonstrates what it can do. This information has been made available at more than 17 events, in more than 14,000 bespoke publications and across 85 communications programs.

So that’s where we’ve been but it’s probably more interesting to reflect on where we are headed.

We agree with Mat that data is a core component in the competitive arsenal of modern marketers, their agency partners and media owners. It is critical this data is transparently sourced and independently measurable to ensure it’s a reliable tool to use when planning marketing and media investment. This is the reason the TV industry came together in 2017 to develop Virtual Australia, a complete data solution that will deliver reliable, single source, independently measured data that can be used by both advertisers and agencies.

The pending launch of Virtual Australia or VOZ will show the TV Australians are watching irrespective of when, where or on what device, from the TV in the living room to the mobile in their hand. It will report the total, de-duplicated audience for a program making cross-screen reach and frequency a reality – a world first.

VOZ is currently in the final stages of development with thanks to OzTAM and Nielsen so Mat’s point about speed to market being critical is something we completely agree with.

Once launched, VOZ will have the capability to provide target audience marketing at scale. Clients can use this transparent and independently measured data to speak to the same audience across every broadcaster because the data and the audience segments it delivers are developed by all of them for the benefit of advertisers and agencies.

Data, research, events and joint campaigns are the factual evidence that shows how collaborative the Australian broadcasters are but even more than that, the biggest single thing all TV broadcasters agree on is the importance of the viewer.

It’s unanimous. The fact that almost 19 million viewers tune in every week to watch their special show is a song that plays over and over in Australia and it’s a tune that never gets old.

(Kim Portrate is the CEO of ThinkTV

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