Australian broadcasters aren’t threatened by the future of television, they’re driving it

All TV will be watched through an internet connection and all advertising will be traded via programmatic pipes, according to Magnite's head of JAPAC Juliette Stead. Is it bad news for TV? Quite the opposite.

Audiences’ media consumption habits have certainly changed in recent years. Consumers seek greater control and choice, tend to multi-task, and the younger generations in particular, seem to have ‘always on’ mindsets. But we mustn’t then think that media consumption and TV viewing have changed beyond recognition. 

Indeed, the most recent Everybody Gets It report from Deloitte Access Economics argues the industry isn’t sunsetting, but simply shifting over to digital. It found the economic and social strengths of commercial television in Australia continue to be significant, with commercial TV advertising contributing $2.3 billion to GDP in 2019 and $1.6 billion spent on developing Australian content each year.

Let’s look at the reality of TV’s future.

The importance of content

There’s no doubt that digital streaming companies have shaken up the TV landscape and some of the data initially seemed to suggest that their impact would be serious. However, the reality is that the TV industry has embraced the challenge wholeheartedly, with a focus on content.  

Networks have aggressively secured new series, produced original homegrown content, bolstered their digital back catalogues, and boldly debuted hit primetime shows on their digital only channels. They’ve also pushed ahead with live real-time airing of TV shows on digital. This shift towards an increasing proportion of content being delivered by networks via internet connection has in turn paved the way for not just binge watching, but for new viewing behaviours that are fuelling the mass adoption of broadcast video on demand (BVOD).

In fact, since the onset of a COVID-19 lockdown, with more of us rooted at home and in front of our screens, the importance of content has magnified and our connection with TV has grown even deeper as our shift to BVOD continues to increase

Marketers are more in tune with BVOD viewers

Ad expenditure for linear TV may have decreased, but it’s not left the sector. In 2019 BVOD was Australia’s fastest-growing advertising medium, growing nearly 40% to $154.46 million year-over-year according to ThinkTV.

While the shift in spending was perhaps initially driven by brands following the migration of viewers to BVOD, the efficiency and data-driven targeting opportunities afforded by programmatic trading are keeping them there. Traditionally, TV advertisers needed relationships with multiple broadcast partners to conduct many one-to-one transactions to obtain sizable reach. Programmatic buying of BVOD involves less heavy lifting and fewer manual transactions compared to traditional TV buying, without sacrificing quality or scale and yet retaining the important negotiations and relationships between buyer and seller.

Another advantage of programmatic for BVOD are the addressability gains. Brands can now match their first party data sets with those of a publisher allowing them to more effectively target ads to that audience. The advertiser can assess their campaign in real time, stopping delivering ads when they are not relevant to customers because they have already transacted. While this a clear value for marketers, it’s also beneficial for the viewers because they are served more relevant ads. 

BVOD is paving a healthy future for TV advertising

On the topic of viewer experience, ensuring that audiences are willing and, in a perfect world, happy to watch ads in exchange for content is foundational to the future of TV as we know it. BVOD is by definition premium, long-form and brand-safe content and Australian broadcasters have done well to uphold these high standards. By thoroughly understanding that audiences’ time, attention, and data needs to be respected, these broadcasters aim to deliver a quality experience that allows them to build a good relationship with their audience for years to come.

Though some see the transition towards internet-enabled TV as an end of an era, the early adoption of digital streaming by Australian broadcasters has put the country in the lead when it comes to keeping in pace with viewer preferences. When considering the investments on BVOD content, addressable opportunities, and the endless ad creative possibilities of internet-connected TV, all the signs point towards a very bright future for TV and programmatically traded BVOD.

Juliette Stead is the head of JAPAC for Magnite.


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