Magazine article Marketing

50 Years of Fame: The Shape of TV in 2020

Magazine article Marketing

50 Years of Fame: The Shape of TV in 2020

Article excerpt

The changing nature of how consumers watch TV has implications for advertisers.

It's 5.25pm, 15 August 2020. Before leaving work you check your email and open a message, brought to you in association with a beer brand, reminding you that a new comedy series starts tonight on ITV7. Clicking the link, you forward the details to your Personal Video Recorder (PVR), so you won't miss it despite being out for drinks with friends.

On the way to the pub your handheld bleeps to let you know it is receiving live images of the latest eviction from the I'm a Non-Entity camp. You save the images to show your mates later, then catch up on the highlights of last weekend's music festival.

Considering the limited media palette we took for granted 15 years ago, this vision of multi-platform TV, available on the move and on demand, does not seem far-fetched. Looking ahead, it is difficult to predict what TV will mean in 15 years' time, but the idea that it will remain a standalone, pre-programmed service seems unlikely. TV programmes will have continued to spread from the small screen to the internet, mobile phones and other handheld devices. People will be able to choose when and where they want to experience something traditionally known as a TV programme.

This vision for 2020 poses major questions for TV advertisers. How will their needs continue to be met when consumers rather than broadcasters can dictate what they watch?

'As an advertiser we would demand assurances that viewers will stick with the programming,' says Toyota commercial director of Paul Philpott.

'By that time there are unlikely to be conventional ad breaks. It will be more about integrating an advertising message within programming and advertiser-funded programming.'

Like many others, Philpott believes PVRs will undermine the effectiveness of the traditional ad break: 'I am a relatively light viewer but, with the exception of live sport, everything I watch is on Sky Plus with the ad breaks zapped through. In that scenario you need to ask how you take your brand to market.'

In such a scenario, product placement takes on a new importance. When Paula Radcliffe won the marathon at the 2005 World Championships she had 'Toyota' emblazoned on her chest, while coverage of this summer's Ashes series between England and Australia showed Toyota Avensis hoardings around the cricket ground. 'Both were far more powerful than anything you could have achieved with a 30-second TV ad,' says Philpott.

Simon Thompson, marketing director at rival Honda, warns: 'If you do not have a reputation for interesting, entertaining content you may as well pack up and go home.'

One thing that is unlikely to change is the appetite for content, whether information or entertainment. As ITV's biggest programme maker, Granada chief executive Simon Shaps reckons the programming mix will remain largely unchanged by 2020. 'Rumours of the death of a genre are grossly exaggerated,' he says. 'I remember people saying in the early 90s that ITV will have to fundamentally change and it won't be able to continue as a multi-genre channel, but, broadly speaking, it still is one.'

Shaps thinks mixed-schedule channels will remain part of the TV landscape. …

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