Some say traditional media is dying, yet according to Ad Dynamix, ad spend has increased across all traditional channels with the exception of magazines (2012 versus 2011). In fact, television spend has increased by 10% and both radio and out of home (OOH) media by 16%. We know that pushing consumers to engage with brands on new digital platforms is often dependent on how you use traditional channels to drive them there. It remains clear that traditional and new channels are still very much in their honeymoon phase and need each other.
So, we have identified some key trends that have helped revitalise traditional media’s role.
1. Always on television: People will be searching for stuff on their television as more televisions become internet-enabled. Not only will they have internet connectivity, but they will have the same sort of operating systems as mobiles or tablets, which means that they can also run apps. We are already seeing examples of TV-specific apps, like Twitter for TV. However, connected TV may be far more appropriate for apps that need a big screen and can show experiential information to groups, such as cars, travel and property. As an example, the Rightmove app lets families explore houses on the big screen, together.
2. Mobile advertising and content: As more people gain access to smartphones, brands will start to shift advertising and content to mobile. It is becoming possible to perform functions with phones such as ‘tapping in’, as in a door entry system, thanks to near field communication chips. This will allow people to make and receive payments through mobile phones, but also to find more information or enable downloads.
3. Social media interaction: Brands are continuing to interact with fans through social media in new ways, improving engagement and loyalty. The user governs this space. It is a place where they can, and do, switch off and avoid engagements with brands that don’t offer any value. As an example, Citroën let Facebook fans in the United Kingdom design parts of a new car – they chose the colour, styling and extras of the C1 Connexion special edition.
4. Retail innovation: Brands are changing the shopping experience to accommodate the new shopper. Audi UK created a special showroom with no cars, where visitors could find out about the cars through big digital screens. There were huge screens on the walls and touch sensitive screens on the tables. British supermarket Tesco opened a fashion store that offered no clothing to purchase on the premises. However shoppers could try things on – the store had one of everything – and then order online within the store for delivery the following day at their local Tesco store. Shoppers could also take pictures wearing the clothes and share them on Facebook and Twitter. Tesco is also experimenting with retail at a British airport, where you order groceries at their QR code stores en-route to your holiday or before your business trip, to be delivered to your house the day you return.
5. Sponsorship: Brands are teaming up with other brands to leverage their audiences and technologies. Lexus recently launched a partnership with Hoyts La Premiere cinema chain in Australia to create some luxury cinema experiences. The deal involves sponsoring luxury cinema screening rooms (extra wide seats and other extras), and on-screen logos, to emphasise the luxury associated with Lexus. Volkswagen Beetle partnered with Discovery Channel to make some truly engaging and integrated content for Shark Week on TV. VW made a shark cage in the shape of a Beetle and drove it on the sea bed. The content was also shown on TV as part of the sponsorship.
Fast forward to 2015 and the implications that technology will have on television are significant, where innovation will re-energise television’s place in the home. The effect on the consumer will result in more shared viewing, live viewing will dominate and there will be a broader spectrum of engagement with television.
OOH media will be equally enhanced where it will integrate with mobile devices and digital. Implications will be broader exposure and deeper consumer engagement for OOH. Messaging will have the ability to be personalised and experiential.
What does this mean for print? Could technology take its place? Tablet technology will continue to improve the digital reading experience and will lead to new commercial models that will include paid-for-distribution to mobile devices and Freemium offers, tiered access to content paywalls and free offerings. Only the strong will survive, so the trend of fewer titles will continue, while online formats will continue to grow.
So let us not give up on the role that traditional channels play in the South African market, as they are here to stay.