Still feel­ing love for TV as on­line seeks in­spi­ra­tion

Campaign UK - - PROMOTION - GIDEON SPANIER gideon.spanier@hay­mar­ket.com @gideon­spanier

The new, as-yetun­named chief ex­ec­u­tive of ITV can take Love Is­land’s record rat­ings and on­line views as proof that young peo­ple still love telly.

If only ad rev­enues were hold­ing up as well in a post-brexit world – the TV ad mar­ket is fac­ing a de­cline of 5% or more in the UK this year.

Au­tumn is look­ing soft for the sec­ond year in a row with Septem­ber, which was the first bad month after last year’s EU ref­er­en­dum, at risk of an­other sharp drop. But the woes of UK plc shouldn’t dis­tract from the big pic­ture.

Broad­cast TV’S obit­u­ary has been writ­ten many times be­fore and been proven wrong. TV – com­mis­sioned, cu­rated and, yes, reg­u­lated to high stan­dards – is still the prime en­ter­tain­ment medium of our age.

It’s why 21st Cen­tury Fox is buy­ing Sky and why Ap­ple and Face­book want a slice of the TV con­tent mar­ket, even if their method of dis­tri­bu­tion and de­liv­ery is on­line.

Ap­ple’s de­ci­sion last month to re­cruit two of the hottest ex­ec­u­tives in US TV, Jamie Er­licht and Zack Van Am­burg, who used to work for Sony Pic­tures In­ter­na­tional and were be­hind Net­flix’s The Crown, has made every­one in the busi­ness take no­tice.

Talk of TV en­joy­ing a new golden age may be overblown but there has never been a bet­ter time to make high-end drama or to watch it.

But for ad­ver­tis­ers this is a wor­ry­ing time, even though ad­dress­able TV al­lows per­son­al­i­sa­tion. Subscription ser­vices such as Net­flix and Ama­zon are ad­free and that has al­ready prompted some US broad­cast­ers to cut their ad load. What’s fas­ci­nat­ing is imag­in­ing where video – and video ad­ver­tis­ing – goes next in a mo­bile world.

The Youtube brand-safety row has only un­der­scored how a lot of user­gen­er­ated con­tent is worth­less.

Jef­frey Katzen­berg, founder of the Dream­works movie stu­dio, be­lieves the time is ripe to cre­ate a new form fit for mo­bile and is seek­ing in­vestors.

Cinema and tra­di­tional TV aren’t go­ing to die, he says. In­stead, he is push­ing snack­able con­tent with episodes that are seven min­utes long, al­most like a Vic­to­rian novel but with Hol­ly­wood-style bud­gets of up to $200,000 a minute.

Scott Hage­dorn, global chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hearts & Science, ex­presses sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments as an ad man who feels the 30-sec­ond spot doesn’t work in on­line video. “We’re still in a pe­riod of try­ing to force-fit ‘legacy’ TV into mo­bile,” he says, won­der­ing if on­line video might ac­tu­ally drive “neg­a­tive reach” by turn­ing off con­sumers.

So far no-one’s in­vented a medium bet­ter than TV.

“Broad­cast TV is still the prime en­ter­tain­ment medium of our age”

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