‘TV will always be here’ but cross-platform measurement remains a challenge

Cannes Lions 2017

It seems that almost every day there is a new statistic supporting declining viewership of TV. In May, The Drum published a scathing article by former journalist and current marcom director and global marketing speaker Samuel Scott, on why these reports are all damn lies and bad media statistics.

What is really going on? The Drum, in association with FreeWheel and the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video Europe, gathered representatives from Sky Media, TFI Publicité, Halfords Media (PokerStars), and Havas to get to the bottom of this and discuss the impact of cross-platform devices on measurement.

Speaking at Cannes Lions, the panellists acknowledged changing consumer habits but disagreed about TV’s diminishing role in consumer’s lives.

Jamie West, deputy managing director at Sky Media said: “The total viewership of TV is not declining, but cross-platform viewing is increasing. We need to get away from this perception that anything we watch on a small screen is not TV.”

Global head of programmatic solutions at Havas, Hossein Houssaini, agreed TV is here to stay but noted the impact of cross-platform devices.

“From a mobile perspective, we still haven’t solved the cross-platform challenge. We do need to think holistically and consider the KPIs as clients have a weird process of setting them. It is no secret that using the current measurements is problematic. We need to find a new way,” he said.

Elise Dupaty, senior manager of marketing services at Halfords Media (Pokerstars), said that while TV is not going anywhere, there are certain issues that need to be addressed in the industry.

“At PokerStars, we have a dedicated TV team and recently realised that we need to follow the consumer. [Clients] put a lot of budget towards digital video but when it comes to measurement, it’s almost impossible to give unique reach – making the [whole process] disjointed,” she explained.

What about millennials?

This discussion then moved on to the role of millennials and the challenge of attribution. Social media platforms like Snapchat are shifting the young generation’s attention from traditional media to mobile.

A further complication is knowing whether an ad has been viewed on TV – as unlike digital advertising, there is no digital signal to tell whether an ad has been viewed or not.

For West, this is not too much of an issue because of Sky Media’s own analytics platform. As he explained: “We need to reflect on the fact that TV has changed more in the last two years than the last 10. We built Sky Analytics which can tell whether a campaign has delivered value. We shouldn’t think of TV as a 1970s relic – we should think about how TV can be used as an alternative to press and radio.”

Houssaini referred to the way millennials consume media content now – sat in front of the TV but with another device too: “Millennials view content in a lot of hours but in shorter chunks of 15 minutes at a time. How do I make sure I reach the right person and attribute it?”

Can TV reposition itself to bring back consumer trust?

The issue of brand safety is on-going in the industry after Google’s ads were found next to inappropriate content. Can TV help rebuild consumer trust?

Advocacy group, The FreeWheel Council for Premium Video has recently expanded into Europe with a release of a paper which provides an overview of premium video and what makes its digital offering different in the industry. One of its key takeaways reveals that in TV-like environments, brand safety is assured as advertisers can be certain they are reaching real humans who are engaged with the content they have chosen to watch.

For Philippe Boscher, marketing and business development at TFI Publicité, it’s all very simple: “Work with media brands you can trust and with third-party measurement. It’s very easy and verify everything. Otherwise you will have 20-30% of media budgets going nowhere.”

“Doing deals with suppliers that are transparent is very important,” added Dupaty. “As a gambling client, when I buy on an open market, I do find the viewability to be low.”

“TV guarantees brand safety and also the fact that the person sitting in front of the TV is actually a human,” West concluded.

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