MediaCom Engage Round Up: The Future of AV

The hot topic at MediaCom Scotland’s most recent Engage event was the future of the AV, with speakers from across the marketplace adding their views on how TV is evolving, who to reach and how to reach them. Here's a round up of the key points from the morning.

First up was self-confessed telly addict Sam Olive from Thinkbox who started off by squashing myths about AV advertising, or any advertising for that matter, being dead. His argument was one that we in TV know to be true – AV viewing is not falling but the way we view content is changing. If we look at time spent watching linear TV vs 10 years ago then of course the figures look negative but add in video on demand in all its forms, and AV viewing is actually on the rise.

Following on from Sam we heard from more TV fans in the form of Rufina Lawani and Lucy Bristowe from Sky. With a lot of talk in the market about BARB’s Project Dovetail and measurable AV campaigns that show incremental reach for VOD, it’s unsurprising that Sky are working on their own solution to this. C-Flight, which is due to launch later this year, will provide unified campaign measurement for the premium video ecosystem across all screens, platforms and markets. Using trusted data sources and independent verification, C-Flight will be a huge step forward in the industry, finally providing a tool that bridges the gap between linear TV and on-demand advertising.

With around 70% of AV viewing now done via a TV set, content providers must recognise this and adapt to ensure that they can provide the best user experience across these devices. YouTube is no different, and their own Tom Sherwood spoke about rolling out their famous Masthead product across TV in response to the popularity of the platform. He also discussed how moving forward, they and TV should be considered hand in hand, as each provides gaps that the other can fill – where TV impacts are declining against some audiences, YouTube performs well, and vice-versa. There was also a nod to the fact that TV and YouTube fulfil the same broad need states (to inform, to educate and to entertain), another reason why they should not be considered in silo.

Megan Carnegie from Canvas 8 was up last offering insights on the new up and coming generation for advertisers to target – Gen Z (meaning that sadly for me and my friends, Millennials are a thing of the past). How can we use AV to speak credibly to an audience who have grown up in a world obsessed with social media, that has faced vast political unrest across the globe and a rapidly growing rate of technological evolution? Gen Z’ers will be a powerful group and we will need to work hard to understand them and connect with them meaningfully. Megan argued that inclusive content and cross-platform media should be the heart of any strategy aiming to make an impact on Gen Z, who see no boundaries between online and offline.

To quote Sky, TV isn’t going anywhere, it’s going everywhere. Great, meaningful content remains at the centre of this but when it comes to the future of advertising across AV, it all boils down to tech and data. Increasing technological capabilities mean that channels that used to be planned in silo must now be considered together as part of an integrated campaign. Better measurement across TV and on-demand will even further encourage planning in this way, giving clear and consistent reporting across multiple channels in one place, which in turn will make it easier to reach audiences such as Gen Z who are looking for a seamless online-offline experience.

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