The best way to describe why Television is still, and will continue to be, the most powerful media in human history regardless of the plethora of recently developed devices or platforms for TV delivery and consumption is as follows – “TV is not the act of watching something; it is the emotional engagement the audience gets while watching it.” These are the words of Evan Shapiro, and having been inspired by Evan for some time, I’m excited to have Evan deliver the opening keynote at the upcoming Brand Innovators Television Summit. Evan’s overarching thinkng about the ability of Television to transcend fragmentation and technological glee to continue to shape hearts and minds of viewers, and offer advertisers incomparable opportunities for messaging and participation.
The days agenda was structured around four key themes that impact and mold the Television space, punctuated by case studies from marketers and networks and keynotes from thought leaders.
Content – how is the concept of Television content evolving as the model for content production and monetization is molded by consumer tastes, needs, expectations, and behaviors. What does Production mean in the age of digital toolkits, laptops powered to produce state-of-the-art digital motion graphics and special effects, and green-screen. As consumer taste palette becomes desensitized to high-budget production and other-worldly CGI, storytelling takes an even more central role. Tastes are fragmenting too, and the content begins to be laster-targeted to new audience pools with greater precision. At the same time, the role of brands in content creation is increasing, as the lessons learned from both successes and failures in brand integration and branded entertainment are being put to use by the second wave of developers that are doing it better and smarter than ever before.
Technology – the pace of technological innovation is more rapid than ever before, with the innovation arc an a nadir, and the television viewer being the ultimate beneficiary. Yet behind the major headlines, technology is shaping the television business model and forcing the networks to consider how to react without breaking the preciousness of what’s in place – and the moneys advertisers continue to commit en bulk in the upfront and the premiums of scatter. Technology is creating new opportunities for interaction between Television and Viewer, and between viewers themselves, while at the same time, opening new pathways and niches for Brands to stay in-step. The speed is such that intelligence required to keep pace and stay informed to take prudent action is an ever moving target – just when you think you know where arrow of technology is headed, it changes course . Starting with the invention of the TiVo DVR and the deployment of CableCo VOD, both of which helped to super–charge Televisions growth in the last decade (being the major landmark developments since the advent of cable television in the late ’70s and satellite in the ’80s), Technology and Television became inseparable. From television back-end infrastructure, closed broadband networks, and OTT video delivery platforms to mobile TV, social TV, and interactive TV, technology is both shaping and being shaped by the needs of viewers, networks, and brands alike.
Distribution – the children of today will never know that Television was a box, much less that I has to be hung on a wall. To them, Television is in the hand, on the tablet, inside their games, and now even on billboards at the side of the highway. It’s as easy as making everything on TV available on all of these devices at all times, right? No – the viewer expectations and behaviors around each distribution point are different, and in turn the ability of the networks to control the channels and offer advertisers equally compelling opportunities to integrate and participate vary, introducing a matrix of units, prices, and loads that make ones head spin. The ability of the networks to distribute while maintaining control and protecting the copyright of the content producers is hamstrung by both piracy and the brands’ reluctance to invest in “unproven” vehicles (as compared to linear TV with 5 decades of benchmark data). Smart collaboration is required to ensure that networks can continue to monetize content at all distribution points, thus maintaining their ability to fund content that viewers want to watch. It’s a catch-22 to say the least, but the only sure thing to harm all is inaction.
Research – the measurement system du jour for television – the Nielsen ratings – is vastly outdated and increasingly irrelevant to the realities of how television is created, distributed, and consumed. The eponymous entity behind the currency is working on augmenting the currency by reluctantly acknowledging (under immense pressure) the reality of the time-shifted viewing patterns in nearly 50% of US homes, and is currently working on integrated digital video streams of television content into its framework. Yet the motivations of the incumbent are fundamentally centered on capital preservation – understandably so, of course, but at the same time diametrically opposed to evolution. The data from set-top boxes, digital streams, social media conversations, and the networks themselves suggest paints a picture that’s much richer and more interesting. Data integration between television consumption and shopping behaviors allows for an unprecedented level of accountability and addressable technologies powered by this data allow for more precise targeting, inventory management, and an improvement (not to mention the measurement of) the return on investment. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Please join us and our esteemed coterie of speakers, panelists, and presenters for a day of soberingly honest dialogue around the realities of the television industry today and tomorrow. You can register at http://brandinnovatorstelevision.com/registration.