Could online media's 'annus horriblis' secure TV's future?

The future of television has been rendered uncertain by the pace of technological change and shifting viewing habits – and broadcast institutions, brands, creators and marketers are all doing their best to keep up with the plot.

Ahead of The Drum’s new print issue, four leading industry voices discussed what’s coming up next for the small screen. Responses ranged from predictions that the future of television would depend on the development of new ways of measuring its effectiveness as a marketing platform and new strategies to ensure the format can remain a brand-safe environment, to an emphasis on the creation of new forms of content and innovative platforms to support them.

Lindsey Clay, CEO of Thinkbox, suggested that the future of television lay with the format’s reputation for brand safety. “The future of TV is all about trust,” she said. “If you think about it, 2017 was something of an annus horriblis for parts of online media. TV on the other hand is an incredibly trusted medium and that is getting more and more important for advertisers.”

Similarly, Michelle Cardinal, CEO and co-founder of R2C Group, said that increased sophistication among methods of measuring the impact and efficiency of TV advertising was the most important trend for the future of the format. She said, “to us, the future of television is all about tracking and attribution and building businesses for our clients and driving their sales.”

For others, pursuing success at scale in a fragmented, divided media environment was the biggest priority for the future. James Currell, president of Viacom UK, Northern and Eastern Europe said: “Viacom’s been in the international marketplace now for 30 years, rolling out services across the world, and we’re certainly very optimistic for what the future holds.” Currell identified both traditional sectors of the industry, such as linear TV, and newer areas like brand integration, as important. “In many of the markets which we work in across the world, we see opportunities for growth for traditional pay-TV,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Sef Tuma, Accenture Digital Video’s global managing director, suggested that the future of television depended in turn on the future of video. “Video in itself is now a highly engaging medium which can be done on different types of platforms, in different types of ways, and for different types of content.” He pinpointed the popularity of both short-form content and long-form viewing as areas for growth in television.

The predictions touch on many of the issues covered in The Drum’s latest print edition. From commentary on the future of brand integration, to the technological challenges associated in broadcasting comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and an interview with Dreamworks-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg on his nascent short-form startup WindrCo, The Drum finds out why it’s not time for a commercial break for television just yet.

The Drum's February issue on the Future of TV is out now.

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