BROADCASTERS UNITED TO DEFEND THE POWER OF TV – by Claire Mathieson, Comms Planning Account Manager

In 2017 the latest IPA Touchpoints release showed us that adults are spending almost 10% less time with commercial TV and that this increases to a staggering 47% reduction for 18-24 year olds. However, for that same audience time spent with social networks is up 114%.

That’s why two weeks ago, I attended the Big TV Festival in Blackwood Forest. The festival was funded by Sky, ITV and Channel 4 alongside Thinkbox in a show of comradery aimed at millennials in advertising, promoting the power of TV.

Unsurprisingly, the publishers all made an impassioned defence of TV. They said behaviour was shifting, not diminishing and that the quality of broadcaster content would strengthen their position over online platforms. However, with rumours of potential bids from Amazon, Netflix and Twitter for the final premier league games – how long can the broadcasters dominate? 

In the afternoon Ros King (Director of Marketing Innovation and Communications, Lloyds Bank) and Abi Pearl (Head of Advertising, Giffgaff) formed a panel who were posed with questions surrounding their brand experiences and success stories through two very different lenses. While Lloyds Bank have always championed the use and effectiveness of TV, it was a very different story from Giffgaff. They were once a brand who said they would be a different network provider for the people and that would include ‘no big TV campaigns’ – something they reneged on after being unable to grow brand awareness online. But from both, the conclusion was the same:  the use of TV in conjunction with online platforms are essential to brand health.

Rory Sutherland had a different take on the relationship between the two media, saying ‘The Rise of Digital Has Converted Me To TV’. Amongst many things, Rory encouraged us to ‘stop making sense’ – as human behaviour itself does not make sense. The human brain is not entirely logical, and therefore digital metrics are working best for CEO’s while the magic of TV is being forgotten. Though digital has its place, we might be optimising to the wrong metrics and asking the wrong questions. We need to use a different perspective.

The festival was rounded up by ITV’s Kelly Williams, Sky’s John Litster and Channel 4’s Jonathan Allan. The broadcasters acknowledged change and that a third of audio-visual advertising in the UK would addressable by 2022. However, with tighter regulation surrounding broadcast media than that of its online rivals – will it really happen in time?

The future of broadcast is an uncertain and an exciting one. However, it was a pleasure to see rivalries set aside for the common good of the TV industry. The Big TV Festival was a truly positive environment that engaged everyone that attended and should be seen as a lesson for the entire media industry.