Why the Evolution of TV is Good for Advertisers

Once upon a time, television was a series of predetermined broadcasts that was the only viable option to catch news, sports, and the latest sitcom. It was also sprinkled with all sorts of advertisements that viewers had to watch in order to catch the 9th inning, final news story, or dramatic soap opera ending.

TV was static, predictable, scheduled, and confined to one stationary set.

Consumers were limited by the flexibility of their schedule as well as the TV networks’ ever-changing roster of programs. But now, people don’t have a TV just like people don’t have a “smartphone”. We simply have screens that give us a variety of entertainment options. While some content continues to be pursued from the dying cable networks, more and more content is begin streamed from subscription models like Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube.

Source: NYT

The implications for advertisers are exciting.

Advertisers forgo a lot of control, data, and targeting when pushing a product or service on a traditional TV program. They don’t know who is watching, where they live, or what they like to do after work.

Inevitably, advertisers end up trying to sell Viagra to a 9 year old girl or pitching grass fertilizer to a Manhattan man in a 900 sq. foot apartment. It’s a waste of ad dollars and a waste of time—not to mention annoying to the consumer.

However, when these programs are viewed on a connected device, there is opportunity for these expensive media buys to actually impact their target market. For example, someone with an interest in gardening may see a Scotts ad in the middle of their House Hunters binge or a partner at Chicago law firm may be served the latest Audi model with leasing options.

This is all good news for the advertising community as more and more consumers are frustrated by ads across all platforms. Some of this annoyance can’t be avoided when you interrupt someone’s entertainment. But some of it can be. Advertising—when done with knowledge, tact, and relevance—can be useful. Without knowledge, relevance is impossible to obtain. And perhaps this, above all else, is contributing to the continued drop in traditional TV advertising.

Source: NYT

For as the late Howard Gossage famously said, “People don’t read ads. They read what interests them and sometimes that’s an ad.” This is the power of shifting entertainment away from the static and towards the targeted.

This is the power of connected advertising.