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Put Away the Crystal Ball: 2018 Local TV Predictions Are in

April 18th, 2018   ||    by John R. Osborn   ||    No Comments

Every year, we see a flurry of “crystal ball” forecasts of coming changes in the television ecosystem, including local TV predictions. Some can even be a bit satirical—with an underbelly of real—as Wired showed us.

Since anyone with true fortune-telling skills would likely focus all their time on Wall Street or horse racing, we know the practice is far from perfect. But this year, the vast range of predictions was both impressive and surprising. Here’s a list of the biggest takeaways so far.

Fresh Takes

Broadcasting & Cable interviewed a set of rising leaders, asking for their impressions on the “next wave” of TV. According to Domenic DiMeglio, senior vice president at CBS Digital Media, the next wave will be “the convergence of television and streaming in the eyes of the consumer. It’s all TV, loaded with a ton of compelling content, and people will continue to become more and more agnostic to how they are getting television content delivered to them. As an industry, we’ll continue to be tasked with…consistently improving the UI/UX to deliver the best possible viewing experience no matter the platform.”

David Levy, executive vice president at Fox Networks Group and cofounder of TrueX, said he believes the next wave will be “currency and unified metrics.” His proudest accomplishment of the previous year? “Reducing commercial interruptions on Fox Full Episode Player (FEP) by 24 percent while improving monetization.”

According to Digiday, the role of the agency will be changing. Agency transparency issues led by the ANA raise concerns about supply-chain costs and participants, advertiser overdependency on agencies as fast-changing tech disrupts traditional TV, and marketplace intelligence now driven by data targeting and feedback rather than buying clout.

There will be a move not just toward new technologies, but also toward creating what a Multichannel News article called “agile business models” around technology. What works today will quickly change, so organizational pivoting skills will be key.

Realities

According to Ad Age, TV ad revenues will likely continue to face tough competition with digital, as viewing behaviors shift and local video options like mobile and digital place-based OOH video grow.

Reaches

The ad-tech duopoly of Facebook and Google—and the oligopoly of those two plus Amazon, Netflix, and perhaps Apple—will necessitate working with frenemies and co-opetition in 2018. It’s too early to make any hard-and-fast predictions here, however, as ongoing and new M&A consolidations are still playing out.

New Since January

With Russian election tampering and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal landing in the lap of Facebook after most of the 2018 predictions were made, expect the commitment to brand safety to expand to brand data integrity for publishers, tech platforms, and advertisers alike.

In response, the focus on consumer data privacy will likely expand beyond the upcoming European Union GDPR legislation to the decision desks of marketers, industry standards groups, and even legislators. As Digiday pointed out, “Establishing a data strategy that acquires and processes personal data the right way just shot to the top of marketers’ to-do lists.”

Omissions

We hoped to have seen more about the impact of ATSC 3.0, particularly in local TV predictions for 2018. Growth and uptake of the new standards may be slow, but strategic planning and investment should not be.

Little need be lost amid these shifting sands, however, as there are plenty of ideas out there for local TV buyers and sellers who want to stay proactive—and adapt successfully to a rapidly changing industry landscape.

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