Real-time monitoring of TV advertising performance

Charlie Horrell

Visions of the future are most compelling when rooted in the present, when they reflect the concerns of the here and now. That is why I prefer the immediacy of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four to H. G. Wells' more alien War of the Worlds – even if the future hasn't turned out quite how Orwell imagined, and we are actually watching Big Brother more than Big Brother watches us. When it comes to the future of TV advertising I feel the same. So rather than look to a far horizon where convergence is prophesied to have happened, this article will discuss what is possible in TV today, and how it affects broadcasters, advertisers and agencies.

In any discussion of TV advertising and the revenues the industry commands, you have also to consider the internet. From a TV advertising perspective the internet is a double-edged sword. The levels of accountability made possible through the AdWords pay-per-click business model and more traditional display advertising, as employed by Yahoo! for example, have caused significant problems for traditional media. GroupM predicts that UK adspend on the internet (the figures combine search and display advertising) will overtake TV adspend during 2009. Yet at the same time, the internet has set a general – one might argue, irreversible – expectation among consumers that content is free. With the exception of movies, sport and a few specialist genres, these expectations also apply to TV. The recent launch of Qtrax – a legal music-download website funded entirely by advertising – is a good example of how much faith content owners are prepared to place in advertising. The utility of the business model is clear. What is less certain is how TV might deal with the challenges of accountability and efficiency that have driven advertising spend on the internet.