Digital Switchover: One million quiet TVs are about to make a lot of noise
Suddenly the three major commercial broadcasters who dominated the terrestrial TV world face a new wave of competition; now they are just one of the 40 strong crowd of different broadcasters. The impact of this on the marketing industry is profound.
We’ve come a long way from the dark ages when the viewing patterns of the entire UK population (c.60 million) were determined by Broadcast Audience Research Board (BARB) data – which serves the advertising world with an industrial currency of viewing impacts based on a meagre sample of just 5000 set top boxes (STBs).
In contrast, Sky has about a million connected STBs, not to mention Tivo, Virgin Media and the raft of other STBs and IPTV providers transmitting detailed usage data back to the marketing decision makers. The move to Digital and IPTV signifies a significant leap in the amount of data that can now be captured about an end user. With sophisticated IP/cookie tracking methods it may also be possible to link viewing behaviour to social profiles and behaviour.
Today, brands can be built (and destroyed) in a matter of days (or even hours) and having an accurate view of programme viewing habits, advertising viewing and platform drifts as well as being able to analyse advertising revenue, programme costs and programme ROI results has become a must for any company competing in the TV market.
The digital switchover represents a seismic shift in the broadcast landscape. The ability to capture, store, harness and capitalise on all the available data will increasingly become what sets any one party aside from its competitors.
There is a recognition in the broadcasting industry that understanding your customer – who they are, what content they want, and when and how they wish to consume it – is key to survival for anyone trying to carve a niche for themselves in the market. Increasingly, advertisers too are synchronising their efforts across platforms, and targeting advertising based on this STB metadata. Platforms like Sky will eventually send context based advertising to individual viewers – which could potentially mean that every viewer would have a unique advert dished out to them based on contextual information around the current programme, their social profile, recent search history and likes/dislikes etc.
With players such as Google and Apple also entering the space – companies who have built success on their ability to understand their consumers – heritage enough will not be a strong enough card for traditional content providers to play against these market entrants.
Content providers who don’t have the infrastructure in place to harness the imminent influx of information associated with individual viewers risk missing out on a gold-mine of advertising insight. Enhanced content metadata will play an important role in drawing advertisers towards the most relevant content. Usage and social data is getting louder – hopefully advertisers listening.
Suranjan Som is an information management strategist at the Information Management Group.