SYDNEY: Rival Australian TV channels have joined forces to create a new research and marketing body that will rebut the "inaccurate claims" and "questionable metrics" of digital media players.

Think TV, announced last week, sees free-to-air and subscription television broadcasters come together to promote television's scale and effectiveness for advertisers across all screens.

Kurt Burnette, chief revenue officer at FTA broadcaster Seven, told Ad News: "There's a lot of noise out there, more than there has ever been, and we felt we needed to change the conversation and get the facts out there more often."

That was a reference to the impression gaining ground that the likes of Facebook and YouTube are on the verge of superseding television as a means of effective broadcast for advertisers.

"The facts remain that television as a media is still by far the most effective and powerful way to deliver for a brand and an outcome," Burnette stated.

He added that the individual businesses making up the new organisation – founding stakeholders include Multi Channel Network / Foxtel, Nine Network, Seven West Media and Network Ten – would continue to compete against each other, "but from an advertising perspective it was not helpful having different messaging out there.

"It just confused matters – we all were trying to tell good stories around television but in different ways."

Anthony Fitzgerald, chief executive of MCN, highlighted a particular area to address as he attacked some of the "simplistic" conclusions that were being reached about the rise of online video.

"One reason for these wayward perceptions is measurement," he said. "You simply cannot put video views and TV viewers up against each other and make any comparison for media planning or advertising effectiveness."

Research from the UK's Thinkbox – the model for Think TV – has shown that Millennials, often referred to as the YouTube generation, actually skip much of the advertising there: of the time this group spends watching video advertising, broadcast TV accounts for 87.6% of the total with YouTube taking a mere 1.4%.

"That has enormous implications for advertisers," said Fitzgerald. "There's abundant evidence proving broadcast television environments generate the highest advertising ROI of any media channel for any age group or customer segment."

Data sourced from Ad News, Think TV; additional content by Warc staff