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Future TV London 2017

David Phillips Jan 17, 2018 12:00:00 AM

I had the pleasure of attending the Future TV conference in London last Autumn.  Below is a quick summary of what I took away from the conference.

The conversation around TV is different

The arguments on TV's effectiveness that still sometimes occurs in Canada seemed to be in the rearview mirror.

Brands in particular were noticeably bullish about TV as an effective and proven driver of brands and sales activity, to the point where it was almost as if the argument had already been settled.  "Of course TV works" was a constant refrain.


The better the measurement of outcomes, the better TV does

The advertisers who had the most actual data on what worked were the most enthusiastic about TV.  This seems more than a little significant!

James Boyer, Marketing Director Groupe Renault UK & Ireland said "it's about bottom-line profitability for me.  We have a large, ongoing econometric model that shows that TV works really well, which means it will be the hardest thing to take off the plan".

Andrew Challis from Ebiquity shared results from a 'study of studies', based on thousands of real-life econometric studies that demonstrated how TV drove the most profit in both the short and the long-term.  In the short term, TV represented 54% share of spend and 62% share of profit.  In the long term, TV is even more effective, generating 71% share of profit.

In other words, the brands who were most invested in accountability invested most in TV.


The assessment of media performance needs to improve

Echoing a point we've been making recently, Tim Hussain, Head of Digital at Ebiquity pointed out that "measurement is fabulous, unless you're busy measuring what's easy to measure as opposed to what's important.  Because digital is easy to measure so it gets put into models and analyzed whether or not it should be".

Some have turned to attribution modelling in order to seek or prove effectiveness.  The limitations and risks with this approach were made clear by Simon Thomas, Global Director Audiences Research at GroupM.  Their research revealed that attribution modelling only revealed 18% of total profit.  In other words, attribution models only tell a very small and therefore possibly misleading part of the story.


Marketers need to be more balanced, less short-term

Marketers are refocusing on the balance between short term and long term.  As Liz Duff, Head of Broadcast at media agency Total Media, noted: "we've seen some clients – particularly those chasing young viewers - who are now shifting back to TV because their brand metrics were suffering".

More succinct still was Richard Brooke, Global Media Operations Director at Unilever: "it's all about selling stuff.  If people aren't aware of the product, then they're not going to be purchasing the product".


Digital is overpriced; TV is underpriced

Sam Gaunt, Head of Media at the massive European supermarket chain Lidl, was blunt in his assessment: "the importance of digital channels has been overestimated.  Digital video has been overpriced.  Arguably, linear TV is underpriced, with the rate driven down by auditors".

In a separate session, Tim Hussain, Head of Digital at Ebiquity (ironically one of the auditors mentioned above), noted that "investment in TV is under where it should be.  Based on our data, advertisers should be increasing their TV budget and taking it from other places".


TV companies should work at making the medium easier to buy

An area for TV to focus on is making the medium easier to actually buy.  Sam Taylor, Head of Commercial Marketing at the insurance company Direct Line Group, had one main ask of TV companies: "How do we make buying TV easy?  How can we buy it quickly and easily like we can with digital?".

Jamie West, Deputy Managing Director Sky UK said, "we need to make it simple and easy to transact across our platforms".


My take

For buy-side companies: if you care where the money is spent, invest in the right measurement.

For TV companies: make it easier for the strength of TV to be realized.


After the conference, NLogic had the pleasure of hosting an exclusive dinner with several industry leaders from Rogers, Bell Media, Corus Entertainment, Numeris, Videology, Channel 4, Thinkbox and Sky to share our perspectives on the future of TV.  Here's what we had to say.