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When It Comes To TV, Bigger Is Better

July 17th, 2018   ||    by Alan Wolk

One of the advantages television has over other media is its reach. No other medium allows you to get your show or your advertising message in front of millions of people, all at the same time.

But more than that, television feels “big.” TV shows feel like major events, like theater. There’s a gravitas to them that is unattainable online, with either short form video content or with text-based websites. 

That gravitas is what gives TV advertising its value, as advertisers are coming around to the notion that context matters.

That was one of the takeaways from the TV of Tomorrow panel called “Is Bigger Always Better? A Discussion about TV, Data and Social Networks.”

While consumers may be using social media and digital media and while their use of that media may impact their TV consumption, it’s not replacing television. Social media and digital media are additive, they’re something people watch or visit in addition to watching TV. They feel smaller and more personal, and that can be very useful for certain types of advertisers, but for advertisers looking for impact, there’s still nothing like TV.

Local broadcast TV feels big too, noted Videa’s President, Shereta Williams. There are many websites covering local news and affairs, but the local TV news feels bigger and more important. That’s partly due to production value, partly due to the fact that the anchors are local celebrities, and partly due to the fact that the lead-in to the news is almost always a well-known, well-produced network TV series, frequently starring actors who count as international celebrities. So, the whole package just feels bigger and more important, which allows the advertising to feel bigger and more important.

Can Big Also Be Automated?

Marketers have gotten used to automated ad buying on digital and are looking at when it is going to come to television. They want to be able to rely on the convenience and certainty that comes with automated buying. But because of TV’s status as a premier medium, some ad sales teams are hesitant. They’re afraid that they’ll have to give up the one-to-one relationships they have with advertisers and they’re afraid that automation will create a scenario where ad prices are devalued.

Fortunately, as the panelists noted, both these fears are unfounded. Videa’s Williams spoke about how automation actually frees up ad sales teams to devote more time to existing and new clients by reducing the amount of paperwork they need to handle and then monitor. Everything is done automatically and can be tracked online.

In terms of value, there was general agreement that the “bigness” of TV made it unique and that advertisers would always pay a premium for that quality. In local broadcasting that uniqueness is even more concentrated, as advertisers only have a handful of local broadcast stations to choose from. Compare that to online, where the number of websites focused on local news and events can number in the hundreds, if not thousands.

TV’s unique place in the media universe makes it well suited to automation because there’s very little difference in quality from station to station. A viewer may prefer one news broadcast over another, but they’re both high quality programs that are unduplicated elsewhere in the media ecosystem.

Which is why when it comes to advertising, context still matters.

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