Television entertains us, informs us, inspires us and accompanies us everywhere we go. It is a fundamental part of almost everyone’s lives in one way or another, and is so woven into the fabric of our lives that it is often taken for granted, says Deborah Usher.
Much like electricity, if it wasn’t there, we would soon know about it. The landscape is changing, with digital screens and internet connected TV, the future of TV is set to drive further change for consumers, content providers and advertisers alike.
For consumers this is great news. DStv has and will continue to up their game as new behaviour emerges and FTA operators invest in bigger and better local and international content – after all it is great content that the consumer wants. TV operators in South Africa are recognising the needs of the consumer and once internet connected TV takes off here, the landscape will never be the same. As seen internationally, the biggest hurdle consumers will face will be navigating the myriad of choice available, but once they can line up a full season of Mad Men or search all films by their favourite actor, they will never go back.
For content providers (TV networks). As new behaviours emerge, it is expected that consumption of linear programming as it exists today will erode, albeit slowly. DStv’s growth has come from their compact offering but the SABC channels deliver the highest viewership on this platform. This again points to the importance of content. South Africa is unique, we have many languages and cultures and we’ve seen huge success in local content such as Generations, 7 De Laan and the like. So programmes will be viewed no matter the device. Social media has had a huge impact in terms of how we define television, giving content providers real time feedback and driving discovery. I think that social networking can be defined as how you connect with others and social TV is how you connect with a screen, whatever that screen may be.
The obvious opportunity for advertisers will be targeting, based on user information or behaviour. This level of targeting is already in practice around the world, i.e. dog food brands being able to purely target the TVs in dog owner’s homes. International research also tells us that most consumers are receptive to targeted advertising on the basis of increased relevance and embedded trust in what they see on TV. Beyond targeting, the ability to drive an instant response from a TV ad to webpage all on one screen has great scope to drive higher returns and accountability from TV advertising.
Looking at the next 10 years, the majority of the above will be an emerging trend from a very low base but it will be a lucrative market. The bigger opportunity right now is the other connected devices in the home (laptop, tablet and mobile) as these are used alongside TV more than anything else so considering how efforts on these devices are leveraging activities on TV campaigns is the bigger opportunity right now.
We are all working in an industry that is gearing up to a future reliant on consumer behaviour, but what happens when they too reach saturation point? We will need to understand more about the consumer roles and experiences during their connected and disconnected time and where our brands will fit amongst it all.
Does this not point to data being a critical area of investment?
Deborah Usher is media director at The MediaShop Durban