In December, media and marketing executives from around the world gathered at the Future TV Advertising Forum in London – to explore the global media trends shaping the TV and video advertising world.
With the media industry continuing to evolve, and strong headwinds facing the advertising sector – there was plenty to talk about. Here are the top areas of discussion from the event:
2020: the turning point for the streaming wars
The general consensus is that 2020 will be the tipping point for the video streaming wars, off the back of Disney Plus launching late last year. A key takeaway from the conference was that the competition for audiences will not just be focussed on the US, but across many international markets, including Australia. This implies that the big players will continue to invest heavily in succeeding locally.
At a time when many distribution houses are experimenting with new distribution channels, there is a risk of customer fatigue with so many disparate offers in market. The current dominant force, Netflix, has seen growth slow in the US, and the Disney Plus effect is expected to impact its numbers further significantly. Just by Disney’s latest result, this looks clearly to be the case.
One thing that is clear: all eyes will be on Netflix latest subscription numbers in their next release as Disney extend its global rollout.
The growing need for all screen trading
Expect to see the perennial industry problem of all screen trading start to be addressed globally in 2020. There was plenty of talk at the conference around how the industry can build single source of measurement. Advertisers want to be able to evaluate video across all different platforms, but are currently faced with walled gardens of digital and television. While there is no clear answer there was some very interesting discussion, especially around the creation of a European council to agree on some core metrics.
The end goal should be a set of standards that everyone uses to measure video (across both TV and digital), but for me, the biggest hurdle is who should pay for a global omni-screen measurement platform which will take some time to work through.
The return of greater brand investment
One of the most insightful case studies of the forum could foreshadow a shift back towards brand advertising, reversing the recent trend towards direct response campaigns. Marketers from Direct Line, the UK insurance company, shared their experience of revitalising their marketing in 2019. In the past, they had a 90/10 split towards direct and price led campaigns.
This worked five years ago, when they were competing directly against other insurance brands for consumers. But the old model was no longer working, comparison websites and other assets have changed the market and the cheap “cost per” route simply wasn’t building their funnel.
By diving into the data, they found that to grow they needed to bring new customers into the category, and brand was increasingly important. As a result, they shifted towards a 60/40 model supporting more brand advertising, and they are already reporting strong numbers that prove the new approach has been successful. I think many businesses and brands are in a similar position in Australia and in 2020 we’ll see more investment in the brand from many companies as key metrics have dropped over the last few years. It is time to investment to drive business growth and stronger brand differentials.
The rise of sponsored integration on longer-term basis.
Another trend that was front of mind was the evolution of the traditional sponsorship and integration model. This was also linked back to increased investment in brand. There was a lot of talk around the benefits and pitfalls of direct media-to-brand relationships.
Most agreed that advertisers need to do a better job with their brand, and that they need to ask more questions of both agencies and media. Advertisers should be looking to attach their brand more strategically to the right assets, and make decisions based on long-term outcomes, not just on the next 10-12 weeks.
The need to balance long-term thinking in a world increasingly focused on short-term issues is a recurring trend as the pace of disruption accelerates. One thing was central to all conversations at the Future TV Advertising Forum is that business-as-usual is not an option, and that only by thinking and acting differently can the industry continue to deliver for both viewers and advertisers.
Mark Frain is CEO of Foxtel Media.