TV industry predictions: 'In 2018, TV will become truly multiplatform'

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 21 December 2017

After a few leaner years of declining revenues, TV's top brass are bullish about 2018. 

The early signs are that there has been a swing back into television as marketers increasingly appreciate the effectiveness of television as an advertising platform.

The bigger picture is that traditional TV broadcasters are repositioning as multimedia companies as the lines between traditional and digital become increasingly blurred and irrelevant.

TV bosses realise they need to carve out a larger share of the digital video pie and offer partners reach across multiple touchpoints in a user journey if they are to remain relevant and thrive in the future. There will also be an greater role for on demand content in line with shifting viewing habits.

Add to this new targetting technology and addressable advertising, the next 12 months promises to be huge for TV.

AdNews asked leaders of the three commercial FTA networks about their top predictions for 2018. 

Hugh Marks, Nine CEO:

Despite an increasingly fragmented media landscape, free to air television will remain the most effective medium for marketers seeking to build their brands and reach mass audiences. In 2018 you will see us and the broader FTA TV industry continue to evolve the nature of the solutions that we bring to advertisers to enhance our ability to deliver effective outcomes for advertisers. 

This includes our growing focus on continuing our transformation into a true platform agnostic business. Ensuring we are able to offer a world class premium video content across all platforms – not just on live and linear television – but also through the various on-demand, digital and social channels open to us.  

Tim Worner, Seven West Media CEO

Video on demand services will continue to grow super strongly fuelled by great new offerings like 7plus. 

More than 50% of adult Australians will become active streamers and we will see on demand records successively broken just like we’ve seen with The Good Doctor. This will help propel the overall market to one its best halves in quite a few years. 

January to June next year, with all those big live sports tentpoles, is starting to feel very solid. There is the sneaky chance the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be become the third biggest broadcast television event since TV ratings began. It has every chance of smashing live streaming records as well.

Anthony Fitzgerald, Multi Channel Network CEO:

We are expecting the first half of 2018 to be one of the stronger ad markets for some time, particularly for multiplatform TV advertising. That’s the early signal we’re getting from the market. Put it down to a better understanding by marketers about the real effectiveness of advertising across different media platforms versus the mostly unchallenged hype of recent years.

All advertising impressions are not created equal, regardless of how we analyse audience trends. We’re also witnessing renewed desire by brand owners to return to brand building versus an almost singular digital obsession with performance and direct marketing tactics. Both are important – the challenge is optimal investment weighting.

Sophisticated mass targeting can aid in expanding a brand’s customer base because it allows brands to be visible and in the purchase consideration set, whether category buyers intend to purchase or not. That's how you drive growth. Given the significant investments underway by the TV sector in data and technology, sophisticated data-led mass-targeting capabilities will lead to better business outcomes in the battlefield medium of multiplatform TV.

Rod Prosser, Network Ten Executive General Manager, Revenue and Client Partnerships:

In 2018, free-to-air television will continue to progress its automation offerings, delivering clients more efficient transactions. In turn, this will see positive revenue growth across both free-to-air’s linear and digital platforms.

Addressable TV will also find its place and will be an important consideration for marketers and their agencies next year. That said, great content underpinned with ideas that are solution-based will remain king and will win the advertising dollar.

The research that ThinkTV has commissioned will continue to have marketers and buyers question the brand safety, viewability and transparency of their digital campaigns, which will create opportunities for the free-to-air networks. 

Michael Stephenson, Nine’s Chief Sales Officer:

2018 is the year of addressability. Media companies that have invested into a data infrastructure and have authenticated signed in users at scale will change the game and will benefit from being able to offer advertisers real addressability and people based marketing.

In 2018, over 60% of all premium video on demand will be delivered via a connected television creating the ultimate television and digital experience for consumers and brands. The winners will be those who have already made a clear investment and who are well developed in building out their databases of millions of signed in users and who able to offer both their own deep and meaningful audience segments but also empower marketers to bring their own data and then leverage their partners data lakes to target an audience at scale.

Kurt Burnette, Seven West Media chief revenue officer:

Coming through 2017 and more recently the 2018 negotiations, it’s clear there is a real and tangible sense of purpose and heightened activity for advertisers returning to branding and marketing fundamentals.

The conversations are about how to use premium content and scale as the powerful marketing weapon that it is. It’s also clear  some of the hyperbole that has swirled around the new areas of communications in recent times is coming back to reality. Marketers are now more aware of the facts and true effectiveness in the marketing mix, importantly as part of long term strategic plans versus just short term outcomes. 

Our data point on this has been what we are seeing with the commitments and strategic discussions with our TV and multi-platform events of tennis, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games to name a few.  Recognised for what they are: massive moments that deliver scale and addressability by bringing people together across screens.  Off the back of all this refocus and activity across the board we predict the TV and long form Video premium market, fuelled by content and Connected TVs, to grow into next year along with other growth mediums to deliver one of the strongest halves of a year we have seen in many years for the Australian ad market.

Mark Frain, MCN Chief Marketing and Sales Officer:

2018 will be the year we see all media companies and agencies partner to create better, results focused work for brands. We’ll achieve this in part by a subtle shift back to main media channels where now more sophisticated mass targeting is possible, through substantial investment in trading automation and data capability.

With the subsequent improvement in trading and system efficiencies, we will have more time to brainstorm strategic solutions and products that not only address market challenges, but go all the way to solving business outcomes. Many of which might not be solved by advertising alone.

Over the years MCN has led the charge from a TV automation perspective, but the multiplatform TV sector is now following suit. I therefore expect different agency groups to begin putting in place strategic and operational bets for the future.

Additionally, more than ever before, we are seeing different agency groups approach this same opportunity in different ways. It will be an exciting journey to see who gets there first, with the right answer.

Michael Healy, Nine’s Director of Television:

In recent years, we have seen the growth of the dating genre across television. I predict 2018 will see it will become an even more crowded category. In our case, we are confident in the proven ability of both Married at First Sight and Love Island to capture the national conversation and resonate with Australians.

The dating genre is one where having the right format to engage audiences is very important and, for marketers and their agencies, I think they will need to look carefully at which formats are the noisiest and which ones are both demographically pure and have a proven ability to deliver for both audiences and advertisers.

Pippa Leary, Nine Commercial Director – Digital Sales:

What excites me the most about the next 12 months is that we are rapidly moving into a world where we will be a able to give marketers precision one-to-one targeting at scale on the biggest screen in the living room their TV set.

2017 was the year where on-demand viewing truly took off across all the commercial television networks and we are now seeing as much as 10% of our audience viewing key programming through broadcast video on-demand  (BVOD) platforms, such as 9Now.

In 2018, the focus of the adtech market will be on capitalising on this shift through true addressable television and delivering a vastly improved experience for both consumer and brand through providing contextually relevant advertising in a brand safe environment. 

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