We love TV

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TV is undergoing fascinating change and in change comes opportunity says MediaCom’s Mariam Chahin

Media agencies are brilliant places to be right now (we would say that, wouldn’t we?!) We all know the clichés: pace of change, speed of opportunity…but if I was giving my 24–year–old self career advice right now, it might just surprise you because the best place to be is in TV. Not at a client, nor in a start–up missing a vowel.

TV went out of fashion a few years ago. Well, it lost its voice really, overtaken by newer, shinier frenemies. The very frenemies who are currently some of the fastest–growing TV spenders on the planet. However, here at MediaCom, we’ve never stopped loving TV (cue REO Speedwagon). I mean, for a start, it works. In fact, it is often the glue that binds together brilliant communications systems as demonstrated through the work of our UK office along with Thinkbox and Gain Theory shows.

But – yes, there’s always a but – TV might now be hitting its tipping point as many have recently pointed out (from Ebqiuity to Mark Ritson and even ourselves). This only serves to reinforce the advice to my 24-year-old self – go into TV. Why? Because it is undergoing fascinating change and with change comes opportunity (as both Google and Facebook have shown us over the last decade).

We don’t need to go into the detail of the changes here – suffice to say reach delivery is changing shape and attention is also changing shape with it. This creates a new game:

How do you create advantage and drive effectiveness?

You do three things based on that most imperfect of data points: people’s behaviour:

1. You understand what new platforms are adding, how people are using them and take control of how you use them

Not all impacts, impressions or ad inventory is created equal. Not all platforms add reach. When we introduce the concept of viewable and effective reach this becomes even truer. The question of the balance of budget allocation across platforms will be a critical component of the game for the coming years, which is why we built MScreen to deal with this a few years ago.

2. You recognise new behaviours and act on them

Remember the Watercooler Moment? In 2018, 89 of the top 100 programmes in the US were live sport. TV is fragmenting into Event, Binge, Transient and Trash. One of the fascinating questions of the next few years will be how to balance these typologies for the most effective reach and the most effective impact. Go beyond the excel file, think receptivity, think context, think of what drives chatter.

3. You innovate around the ad break because this is where the real white space will be

A recent episode of Life in Pieces on Amazon Prime (final season, penultimate episode) sees the family book a holiday on Hotels.com (full disclosure, a client, but no, we didn’t do this deal). Both the app and the Hotels.com loyalty programme are stars of that show! Alternatively, you innovate in the ad break as we have done with Coke – running a campaign to order samples through Alexa at Christmas. The point is, TV is more than the ad and can bring lots of creativity.

So younger selves. Go and take the road less travelled by. Get a job in TV. It’s the future.

For more information on MScreen or any of the other innovations listed in this article, please contact [email protected].

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