Scale Ability: How TV Drives Business Growth
Last week Robin Dorman, our Head of TV, and I ventured into the concrete depths of C4’s Headquarters on Horseferry Road. It soon became clear that this event, run by Thinkbox, was rather oversubscribed. The estimated 70 attendees had swelled to 100+, which made getting the first shot of morning coffee quite the challenge. Putting aside the race for refreshments, it was good to see so much interest and some familiar faces lending their weight to the proceedings.
The event was designed to pique the interest of companies considering TV for the first time, and to reassure existing advertisers that it’s still very much alive and kicking. The room was filled with expectant media buyers and clients, and with talks from ‘the power of TV to grow businesses’ to ‘how to track TV’ it ticked a lot of boxes.
We saw that standard TV viewing is resilient, despite a decade of technological disruption. Our daily intake remains considerable, and the majority of TV is still watched live (even among 16-24 year olds). No other medium, in terms of sheer reach, can deliver the same scale that TV does. But viewing habits are changing with second screening and the proliferation of VOD platforms. How long will the attraction to ‘Love Island’ last for pulling in the 16-24’s?
The main threat to live viewing is manifesting itself in the form of SVOD (e.g. Netflix & Amazon). Subscriptions to these services have risen from nowhere in 2016, to 40% of us having these OTT services in 2017. It’s not surprising then that the quality of content produced for linear TV has reached new heights – with top directors, actors and Hollywood-style budgets competing for viewers.
It was also interesting, and a bit sad, to see that both young and old are still addicted to their TV sets. This was illustrated by ‘The Great British Switch off’, filmed research which followed six families going cold turkey for two weeks. Arguments and tetchiness ensued as life without their TV sets, for most, was unbearable! Not quite Lord of the Flies, but what other medium’s absence would drive people to act in that way?
Last year saw a healthy intake of new TV advertisers (785). Pinterest was one – interesting that a successful social media channel chose a ‘traditional’ medium to broaden reach and awareness. Uber, Thornton’s and SIXT also ventured into TV, but most of the new advertisers were challenger brands. This resonated with us – these types of businesses are central to our agency’s proposition. We very much agree with the sentiment that you don’t have to spend huge amounts to have an effective presence on TV.
This pipeline of new advertisers is unlikely to stop, as once you’re on (and you get it right) you can reap the business growth rewards. Kevin Byrne (Checkatrade) and Tom Rainsford (Giffgaff) showed that their entrepreneurial spirit and use of TV, in particular sponsorship, drove business growth in multiple forms. So much so that Kevin sold Checkatrade last November for an undisclosed eight figures!
A point that’s often overlooked is that TV is very trackable. In particular, when eulogising at online’s prowess in this field. Adalyser, demonstrated by David Cloudsdale with a refreshingly straightforward, jargon-free approach, is a system which measures TV’s effects on website traffic. The data gleaned is crucial for TV analysis. It allows you to refine and optimise ongoing airtime to enhance ROI. It’s a system we use and are committed to here at TCS, so it was no great surprise to see it on display in this environment.
As with airtime, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on TV production and creative. We work with agencies in this field who produce great work at great prices.
In the aim to stand out and be more engaging with target consumers, both production and creative have evolved. We’ve seen the advent of formats which take full advantage of new technologies (without breaking the bank).
Examples of these include:
– ‘live’ TV ads, brought to prominence by Ronseal’s “The Fence”. Also a great example of ‘slow TV’
– ‘contextual’ ads: check out Pinterest’s first ever TV campaign, which aimed to plug into a programme’s brand equity by airing first in commercial break
– ‘direct data insertion’: a technique which has been around for a while now and personified by the latest live odds delivered by Ray Winstone in the Bet365 ads
So, it was a worthwhile morning spent in the caverns of C4.
TV is in great shape:
• it delivers high volumes of people in a primarily quality, ‘brand safe’ environment
• you can monitor the results and it has a proven track record of delivering growth like no other media
• innovation is pushing the boundaries of TV, not only with production, but also how we buy TV – a trend which we expect to accelerate in the immediate future