The ever expanding role of television in retail

TV continues to play an integral role in all retailer's advertising strategies, but no longer does the term 'TV advertising' mean simply an advert you watch in between your favourite soap opera while eating dinner on the couch. The number of ways that a simple TV advert can be viewed has been grown as digital platforms have emerged. Tom Cornell, business director at Mindshare UK looks at some of those platforms.

TV is undoubtedly still the key platform for retail advertisers whether that be for short term objectives such as weekend sales or for brand awareness and challenging consumer opinion. There’s still no faster or more efficient way of reaching consumers on a national scale and new technologies have emerged to complement the traditional marketing mix. 4OD initially led the way with the strongest content and innovative formats but ITV and other broadcasters have rapidly progressed in recent years to create a competitive and fast moving VOD market. This can only be good for advertisers as new formats, content and targeting provide a further platform for brands to reach and interact with consumers.

People have essentially always been able to skip adverts by turning over or going to make a cup of tea, but this hasn’t stopped people watching and falling in love with advertising. Within the VOD market we see approx. 85 per cent of pre-roll ads are watched for the full duration, which is impressive considering the second screen and online distractions now faced by viewers. With paid-for-content ITV faces the same challenges and questions as News UK has faced with its paywall. ITV has identified the strength of its online content but whether people are willing to pay remains to be seen. With continued growth through the successes of programming such as Broadchurch and the launch of ITV Player on Sky, paid-for-content certainly won’t replace the existing model but is a small step towards alternative revenue streams for ITV.

My view is that the opportunity for retailers isn’t around interactive TV but in associated TV technologies on the second screen which shorten the purchase journey. Without stating the obvious, we need to remember that viewers are watching TV for the programmes – interactive TV on the main screen interrupts that viewing experience whereas the second screen sits alongside and augments it. Plus mobile and tablets are streets ahead of any interactive TV shopping application in terms of general usability.

Retailers need to see the TV spot as a platform that can take the viewer to the check-out in one or two clicks. To date that journey has largely relied on viewers actively searching , but increasingly advertisers will be able to shorten that journey even further - whether that be through ad tags triggered on a second screen app by the TV ad or audio recognition apps like Shazaam.

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