TV ad sector slow to change

21 February 2012

LONDON: Targeted and interactive television ads are unlikely to make a major impact on the sector in the next few years, a study covering the US and Europe has predicted.

Deloitte, the consultancy, polled 50 executives from agencies, brand owners, broadcasters, distributors and technology companies. Most expected "little change" to influence traditional TV advertising in the coming three-to-five years, it found.

More specifically, 93% of interviewees believed "advanced advertising", like interactive or targeted spots, would not "cannibalise" traditional brand building campaigns.

A further 60% of experts questioned concurred that stronger data on viewers and their habits was a "valuable currency" that could encourage more user-centric advertising, with the proliferation of set-top boxes making this more viable.

Jolyon Barker, global lead for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte, suggested that the comparatively restricted reach of "advanced advertising" also presented a sizeable obstacle.

"There is, for example, a desire amongst cable and satellite operators in the US to use subscriber data to improve the effectiveness of TV advertising campaigns and to be able to analyse their return on investment," he said.

"This is however constrained by the limited proportion of the TV advertising inventory that is available for cable and satellite operators to sell to advertisers. This barrier is more apparent in Europe where advertising inventory is fully controlled by broadcasters."

Looking at the US, Deloitte placed the value of the advanced advertising market at the "sub-$200m" level on an annual basis.

Given that the American television advertising sector was worth approximately $60m last year, this could almost be described as a "rounding error", according to the company

The broader "over-the-top" category - standard TV and video ads viewed over connected television sets, the internet and mobile - takes roughly 3% of revenues. However, Deloitte argued nearly all of this total could be attributed to online video.

Figures from comScore suggested that 182m US consumers watched online video in December 2011, equating to an average of 23.2 hours per person.

"There may, in fact, be greater opportunity in the short term in improving advertising around online video than in 'advanced advertising' and connected TV," it added.

Recent research from Forrester and the ANA found that 72% of US brand owners thought set-top boxes could enhance the quality of information and 47% agreed unique viewer or visitor numbers would ultimately become the measurement standard.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff