Ahead of The Drum’s Predictions Festival early next year, we catch up with Kristian Claxton, managing partner at Finecast, to find out about the current state of play across the addressable TV landscape and get a sneak peek of his top predictions that should be on marketers’ radars for 2022.
The word ‘television’ means many things to different people. The delivery mechanics, viewing habits and business models have evolved far beyond what started out as a box in the living room. From advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) to subscription video on demand (SVOD) to transactional video on demand (TVOD) and the proliferation and adoption of over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms, the very idea of what TV even is has been stretched. The UK broadcasters have been at the forefront of this industry wide transformation and are well positioned to compete in a content, tech and data driven future.
The TV universe in the UK is now extending beyond the biggest broadcasters to include a host of traditional video players, like Peacock and Discovery+, and the online platforms making a splash into the video space, like Amazon’s Twitch and IMDb.
When you think inside the box, there’s no one single view or definition of TV anymore – it’s all defined through the lens of the user. And when you start to understand, categorize and define the way younger demographics in particular are consuming new video entertainment such as esports and gaming, it begs the question: does their version of TV satisfy the same needs as what was traditionally defined as TV?
With new supply and data opportunities, measurement capabilities and creative solutions, the TV universe will only continue to expand. 2021 marked a shift in the mindset of brands that have realized a total TV approach is no longer a nice to have but a must have. And if they want to be successful in the future, they must adopt new approaches and ways of doing things.
“What we’ve seen more this year is the adoption of a test-and-learn, agile mindset from clients,” says Finecast’s Kristian Claxton. “There’s an understanding that marketers must step outside their comfort zone and test these new opportunities in order to understand how they can grow their businesses through addressable TV, custom audiences and new ways of measuring effectiveness.”
He adds: “The train has left the station; we’re never going back to a linear TV only world. As we move into 2022, we’re only going to see more proliferation of platforms, devices similar to what we’ve seen in the digital world. Technology will be crucial to managing fragmentation and data will allow for optimization at an unfathomable scale. Now is the time to find a partner than can help you navigate the road ahead.”
Digital TV transformation for multi-nationals
With the infrastructure of many large multinationals – especially those that have been heavily steeped in the offline world – now at a scalable point, Claxton’s first prediction is that we will start to see a lot of them lean more into the digital transformation of TV initiatives.
“Connecting TV with digital commerce marks a step change in relevance and means more data-driven targeting, greater utilization of dynamic creative and more real-time measurement of television. The reason for that is the infrastructures are now at a scalable point where they can actually start to explore these things. That, coupled with the scale of addressable inventory and improved understanding, means that so too is the mindset of advertisers. In 2022, we can expect to see them adopt more of a test-and-learn, agile mindset as they continue to look for new pockets of growth.”
At the same time, as more self-service and e-commerce capabilities become available, this will drive adoption among the small and medium sized business community and those who are new to TV.
A total TV approach
Claxton’s second prediction is that we’ll see “the continued adoption of total TV approaches to planning, buying and measurement of TV viewing”. He suggests that the introduction of total TV ad campaign measurement tool CFlight in the UK and things like the ISBA’s Project Origin will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, while others play catch up.
“There’s a variety of cross platform measurements coming into the ecosystem and more clients will adopt total TV approaches because, now more than ever, clients need to understand how to make better informed investment decisions across the ever-expanding universe. What we’ll start to find is that each brand will have a unique planning philosophy in terms of how to best reach highly valued audiences across this fragmented TV marketplace.”
Dynamic, enhanced creative
For the last decade, agencies and stakeholders across the TV and video industry have really focused on using technology and data to optimize media placements. But that has often come at the expense of creativity, which has been overlooked, says Claxton, despite many studies citing the impact and effectiveness that creative can contribute to sales over media.
“As a result, I feel we’ve left a lot of performance on the table but there’s more and more creative solutions that will help address the blind spot that’s developed over the last decade.”
Commerce on every screen
The last 24 months saw many brands and businesses transform towards a digital economy, catalyzed by the Covid-19 global pandemic. TV is also going through this digital transformation and, as more and more businesses start to set objectives around how much of their sales are driven online versus offline, TV has an opportunity to participate. Building on some of the broadcasters’ use of shoppable ads, Claxton predicts we will continue to see more investment, deployment and testing of creative tactics such as QR codes.
“The ability to integrate QR codes into TV creatives will effectively bridge the gap between TV viewing and e-commerce with real-time data and attribution. And the feedback, in terms of data that could be able to use for targeting and optimization, will be super interesting for the industry as a whole.”
The vertical integration of ecosystems
With Amazon’s Prime Video and IMDb acting as the gateway to bring customers into the Amazon ecosystem and Sky Glass ushering Sky’s own ecosystem play, we can expect to see more vertical integration from big players to bring people in and upsell through things like t-commerce (trading through TV). Claxton predicts that we’ll see more integration of voice and e-commerce to make it easier for viewers to consume and buy.
Looking even further into the future, Claxton predicts that the subscriber growth of SVOD platforms will eventually start to plateau in more mature markets, and that they will look for new ways to grow their business by opening their platforms up to ad-funded models for a reduced subscriber fee, making their content accessible to more of the UK population. In turn, that would provide a unique and ultra-premium advertising opportunity that’s fully addressable, which would work for all, providing clients with a novel premium opportunity to reach new audiences. It might not happen in 2022, but certainly in the next five years.
“It’s an exciting time for TV and addressability but brands have got to lean into it, be brave, test, challenge and develop their own planning USP, including the of use audience data, to define what works and what doesn’t work for their brand. We’re moving into a world of heightened individualism where blanket messaging no longer works for a multitude of brands. In the age of personalization and the digitalization of TV, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to develop their unique understanding of what works to help inform future investment decisions.”
Join The Drum and Finecast at our Predictions Festival on January 26-27, 2022 where we will bring the future into focus and explore what’s in store for addressable.