by Kristie Naha-Biswas
Head of Category Development,
PHD Global Business


2018 is set to be an exciting year for TV fans and a monumental year for the industry. 

Personally it feels like 2018 may be the tipping point for the television industry and advertisers. From the perspective of the TV fan, it has never been better. In many markets, consumers are no longer chained to their satellite TV providers for access to content, with a rising popularity of OTT services. Isn’t there so much fantastic content? Whilst we will sadly not have a new season of Game of Thrones in 2018, many TV fans will have the next season of Westworld, Ozark and new Netflix commission Maniac. On top of that sports fans will have the FIFA World Cup to look forward to. What a great year ahead for TV enthusiasts.

OTT and non-linear viewing will continue to drive changed viewing habits.

Globally, we have seen the number of ‘traditional TV viewers’, those who watch linear scheduled programming continue to decline over the last five years. As the iPhone and popular OTT services turned 10 in 2017, the way we discover, view and engage with our favourite pastime has changed. The launch of Netflix and Amazon video services have been major disruptors to the industry in recent years. The growth of these platforms has been phenomenal with Netflix reaching 66% penetration in the US amongst OTT users. Up until mid-2017, most of this shift in viewing and the decline of linear viewing has been driven by the Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z. We expect this to begin impacting the Baby Boomers in 2018. Whilst their demographic within linear TV audiences has remained stable up until now, as broadcasters continue to expand their on-demand viewing, Smart TV penetration increases and relevant content that interests this group grows, we will see more Baby Boomers begin to turn to alternative platforms for viewing.

The shift of TV to digital delivery platforms means that our favourite medium is increasingly entering the world of digital media. 

Our TV plans will be more holistic AV plans which bring traditional TV and digital video closer together. We will need to consider working with multiple partners and media owners and platforms. Our TV plans may begin to include an addressable element, where we can use data or targeting in a smart way to improve our business results. But overall the collision of these two worlds means that it is still messy to buy non-linear audiences and there is still a conflict from a KPI and measurement approach. In 2018, we will however see the continued progression in the industry to resolve these conflicts. Broadcasters will likely move away from their walled garden approach and join forces to solve conflict on measurement and share platforms for advertising automation. We will see more tech companies take a greater stake as TV evolves into a digital world, whether that is as a platform or as a content owner.

Brands can navigate the evolving landscape by keeping focused on the comms task and adapting appropriately.

Here are four tips to navigating the landscape.

  1. Keep the audience at the forefront of any plans. Navigating the landscape does not have to be too difficult as long as we stay focused on the right platforms to find our audience, then work out which platforms best serve (whether that is linear TV, OTT platforms or Connected TVs), then we can identify the most relevant advertising format to engage that audience in those platforms.
  2. Consider Context. With dwindling audiences in linear TV it will be important to identify programming that can deliver quality engaged audiences. If brands consider how their ads can complement the context of these programmes then this will deliver better results.
  3. Addressable Advertising should be addressing a problem. Using addressable TV solutions will likely come with a cost premium on standard advertising, consider using smart targeting and usage of 3rd party data when it is likely to translate to an increased business result.
  4. Test, pilot and learn. As new platforms, formats and opportunities arise, brands should begin testing in 2018 and gain learnings so they are at the forefront for when these opportunities become scalable.

This article formed part of ‘PHD Perspectives’, click this link to read the full publication