The Martini Shot: TV is still king in the ad jungle
by Bobby Amm. Production companies are routinely told that a commercial should cost less to produce and should have lower production values because it’s being made for the internet whereas, in reality, the cost of producing quality content doesn’t decline simply because it’s broadcast on a different medium.
The rise of the internet has led to big changes in adland and, rumor has it, will inevitably lead to the death of television advertising as we know it. These days, agencies talk a lot about the pros and cons of digital vs content marketing strategies and how the internet offers unrivalled marketing opportunities to clients.
The nascent discipline of internet video advertising has also started to influence how advertising content is made. Current consensus says that ads made for the internet should be produced quickly and inexpensively; that all commercials have the potential to “go viral” (only a very small number actually do); and that teens and millennials are driving the future of advertising by recording and editing advertising content on their smart phones.
All of this has had a knock-on effect for production companies. which are losing out because more and more budget is being allocated to internet advertising and inexpensive content which is often produced in house by agencies.
Despite all the hype, recent international research shows that TV advertising is most definitely still king. A recent report published by UK-based Think Box (the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms) reveals some interesting information about the efficacy of TV advertising when compared to the internet, most notably that there’s really no comparison at all between them when it comes to efficiency and value for money in advertising.
The Think Box study, A Year in TV 2017–2018, concludes that:
TV ADVERTISING DELIVERS LIKE NOTHING ELSE: ‘Profit Ability: The Business case for Advertising’ by Equity and Gain Theory found that TV outperforms all other media investments. They found that TV delivers 71% of total profit generated by advertising, at the greatest efficiency, and for the least risk.
TV ACCOUNTS FOR 95% OF VIDEO ADVERTISING SEEN: That’s in full, with the sound (most likely) turned on and with unbeatable effectiveness for 16 to 34-year-olds, TV advertising accounts for 90%. In 2017, YouTube activity accounted for 0.9% of video advertising time for all individuals and 2.9% for 16–34s. Netflix and Amazon accounted for none.
TV ACCOUNTS FOR 71% OF ALL VIDEO VIEWING: In total, the average person in the UK watched 4 hours, 39 minutes a day of video in 2017 and TV accounted for almost three quarters of it, with viewers offered an unparalleled variety and quality of shows and advertisers offered a premium advertising environment.
THE PENDULUM IS SWINGING BACK TO TV: Although total TV advertising investment in 2017 was down in the UK due to the ongoing economic and political uncertainty, Q4 2017’s performance is significant. It was the first year-on-year quarterly comparison since the impact of the Brexit referendum and it shows the shoots of regrowth, with TV spend up year-on-year by approximately 2%.
THERE WERE 785 NEW OR RETURNING ADVERTISERS ON UK TV IN 2017: This figure represents the number of brands who advertised on TV for the first time or returned to TV after a gap of at least five years and includes new to TV advertisers who used Sky AdSmart. Notable new or returning brands included Uber, Opodo and Sixt.
WE’RE IN THE AGE OF TELEVISION: We really are. We have more great TV than you can shake a stick at — and we include the likes of Netflix and Amazon here, which couldn’t be more TV if they tried.
The same applies here
While there doesn’t seem to be any similar research in South Africa, it’s arguably fair to conclude the same applies here, given that we generally follow international trends and that the majority of the population is less inclined or doesn’t have adequate resources to access the internet.
This make a compelling case for television advertising and only time will tell if South Africa’s love affair with internet marketing will last. There is no doubt that internet advertising has its place but, all things considered, it would be madness to write off TV!
Bobby Amm is chief executive of the Commercial Producers Association of South Africa (CPA), the trade association of production companies that produce television, cinema and internet commercials for the local and international market. After a brief stint in journalism, she began her career in the industry at the Consultative Committee for the Entertainment Industry in the early 1990s. She first joined the CPA in 1997 but left three years later to join a production company. After finding that she missed the big-picture perspective of the CPA and the interesting issues which continuously perplex the production industry, Bobby returned to the CPA in 2003. She contributes “The Martini Shot” column monthly, covering developments, trends and insights into the commercial production and film services industries in South Africa, to MarkLives.
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