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Digital tipped to kill off TV advertising

09/02/2015

TV advertising could become a thing of the past, according to one marketer.

The rise of digital marketing in recent years has led to a considerable shift in marketing spend and attitudes.

Where once marketing was all about publishing and broadcasting a message and hoping consumers would respond, now the digital realm has created new angles, from interactive methods that involve potential customers in conveying and spreading a message to the use of ever more sophisticated data to target the most promising potential customers.

As ever, there will always be those with their crystal balls trying to predict the future and some of the ideas may sound rather radical - not least a prediction in Marketing Magazine that we are heading for a world without TV advertising.

Joint chief strategy officer of AMV BBDO Craig Mawdsley said the "first blast" of the digital era saw marketers develop a range of new skills, develop strategies and try out many new things - many of which turned out to be errors. However, he added, this simply proved to be a learning and adaptation experience in which the ultimate result was that professionals went back to writing scripts for TV ads.

However, anyone looking to develop a marketing professional career will not be able to operate in this way for much longer, if Mr Mawdsley's views are correct. For he continued to state that: "One day, we’re going to get blindsided by technology.

"Anyone worth targeting will buy into ad avoidance services and Apple TV or Chromecast or Netflix or something we haven’t heard of yet will destroy our ability to reach mass audiences through TV, and we will go the way of the record labels."

Such a dire warning may sound alarmist, not to mention contrary to recent trends. After all, even a brief overview of television in the UK will show that there is more advertising through this medium being beamed into British homes than ever.

In the 1980s it was a big event for a fourth terrestrial channel to start broadcasting; now, with five terrestrial channels and more satellite and cable offerings than can be easily counted, there are more televised conduits to reach British viewers than ever. Many involve captive audiences, such as those viewing sporting fixtures. And advertising can be tailored accordingly, as anyone recalling the myriad of football-themed adverts screened during last year's World Cup will recall.

In addition, there remain some advocates of making the BBC use advertising, as an alternative means of raising revenue to the licence fee.

Much will depend on the way consumers seek to access media, and there may indeed be some channels that seek to make an absence of advertising a virtue, even if that has always been available through standard BBC services anyway.

However, for commercial TV advertising is so key to raising income that retaining the capacity to reach mass audiences will determine their survival. Advertisers won't pay well for marketing that reaches few people. The corollary of Mr Mawdsley's prediction would be that commercial TV would either no longer be commercially viable or programmes would be crammed with product placements.

As neither of those outcomes are desirable to the consumer, it may be that even if digital marketing can kill off the TV advertising industry, it would be wise not to.

Tags: Digital