The proliferation of digital has led to shrinking budgets in the traditional space such as TV. According to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, traditional TV ad revenues to shrink annually from 2019 to 2021, falling from US$184 billion to US$180 billion in 2021. Interestingly however, while everyone is turning towards digital, four companies – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – also known as FANG on Wall Street, increased their spending by 70% to US$1.6 billion last year in the US.

Astro’s CEO Henry Tan said during the Malaysian Media Awards and Conference organised by the Media Specialists Association titled “Game Changers”, that the issue of the shift in budgets does not lie with TV itself but the way the medium is being measured. According to Tan, “old, archaic methods” are still being used to measure TV. On the other hand, digital allows companies to obtain live data, enabling them to know who exactly is being engaged. He explained:

“Digital advertising has far more information, is far more fact-based and sounds more intelligent and accountable. Therefore, it is thought of as being more effective.”

However, according to him, every piece of research including the FANGs’ behaviour, says that TV is still the most persuasive medium of all ad behaviours.

Despite the rise of digital, the popularity of TV has not declined. Instead, Tan said digital “has accelerated and promoted TV’s popularity”. What has changed, however, is that consumers no longer watch TV in a linear manner but instead, are watching it online or on the go on their mobile phones and tablets, for example.

“Again, the measurement tools available in our industry today do not account for all of that. While the progress of technology has offered consumers the flexibility of watching TV when and where they want, the measurement has not caught up,” Tan said. He added that when companies try to please consumers and offer them more flexibility, they end up being “penalised by the research”.

For example, if a consumer watches TV on demand on their mobile phones instead of linear TV, such behaviour is not included in industry research. This is the same case for radio, with consumers listening to radio on the go not being tracked in research studies, Tan explained.

As such, he urged companies to analyse what exactly they are buying into – whether it is effectiveness or measurement of TV. He added that if the measurement is flawed, industry players should collaborate to change it as a whole as there is no need to change the medium if it is effective and persuasive.

Tan also pointed out the issue of media research being siloed into TV, radio and digital, using different measurements and currency. “This is absolutely ridiculous. It’s the same consumer but research is done in silos. It’s as if the people listening to radio are different from the ones watching TV. If they are the same consumer base, why is the research carried out differently?” Tan said.

Besides siloed media research, another piece of information that is absent in today’s industry is the cross media consumption pattern, Tan said. He explained that companies are unable to find out the behaviour of consumers across the different types of media they consume.

To be true game changers, Tan said the industry needs to work together collectively and come up with a standard measurement for all mediums. According to him, such a move would be “revolutionary” because everyone is talking about it but nobody is moving this agenda forward. Tan added that a standard measurement will also offer clarity and transparency. He also explained that “not everything new is good and not everything old is bad”. Tan added:

“Be smart. Get the best of both worlds, don’t follow blindly but instead think about things. The most important thing is that the industry must work together to change the game.”

Are Malaysian brands ready for addressable TV?

Addressable TV is one area that allows brands to deliver targeted advertising on TVs based on the household content consumption. It has the ability to show targeted ads to different households and reach more specific audiences with better creative flexibility.

While it be an interesting way of offering personalised advertisements to consumers, Tan said addressable advertising matters to certain brands not all. He explained that for companies selling basic common denominators such as shampoo, for example, addressable TV would not make sense since they are trying to reach the masses. On the other hand, addressable advertising would make sense for companies in the luxury sectors. He added:

“This is what I mean about being smart. Addressable TV is great but if you are a brand that’s supposed to be marketing to the masses, why bother subcategorising?”

“There is a rule in place for different solutions. You cannot take one solution and apply it across the board, that would be wrong. So companies have to think about what is relevant to their brands and services,” Tan explained.

Separately, the local entertainment scene has come a long way, he added. Tan recounted the time when Malaysian movies in particular were “struggling” to maintain box office sales. According to him, it used to be big news when a movie amassed RM4 million in box office. Also, in 2017, local movies only contributed 5% of the total box office nationwide, Tan said.

However, things changed in 2018 when three to four Malaysian movies crossed the RM30 million box office mark, which is “something we have never seen before in history”, Tan said. He added that the contribution of local movies to nationwide box office increased to 15% within a year. “This tells you that there is an interest in local entertainment. That’s really exciting to me because all of us are working hard together to champion and promote Malaysian content,” he added.



Just in case we needed more evidence of the central role that advanced TV is already beginning to play in the media ecosystem, this week’s announcement of the re-merger of CBS and Viacom underscored it, big-time.

In years past, the news would have been totally dominated by the traditional measures of power: ViacomCBS is now #1 in TV audience, with a 22% share of total prime-time viewers, and boasts a combined $8 billion in national TV ad revenue.

Not exactly footnotes, to say the least.

But the companies took great pains to put the combined entity’s reach and clout into the context of the advanced TV opportunities that the merger will enable. Why? Because that’s where they see the most significant growth paths for the future.

“The first part of our strategy is accelerating growth of our D2C offering… subscription and ad-supported offerings” — meaning CBS All Access, Showtime, Pluto TV, Nickelodeon’s Noggin and the forthcoming BET+ — stressed Viacom’s Bob Bakish, who will be president and CEO of ViacomCBS.

Bakish said the new company’s strategic focus will be on advanced advertising, along with content production. “We will be the first stop for advertisers and their agencies in the U.S. because of the audience we deliver… including addressable, branded content, influencer marketing and experiential,” he elaborated.

Viacom now projects that 20% of its domestic advertising revenue will come from advanced advertising, hitting nearly $700 million in revenue this year — and this advertising’s growth will be enhanced by the combined entity’s massive TV audience, said CBS President/acting CEO Joe Ianniello, who will serve as chairman and CEO of CBS in the combined company.

Both executives emphasized opportunities in leveraging synergies between the two companies’ premium content, including between subscription-driven and advertising-driven platforms.

“There is nothing at all preventing us from moving forward in terms of beginning to unlock that opportunity in the very near future,” Bakish declared in the call with analysts. “Obviously, it’s something that we will build on over time, but there’s some low-hanging fruit there we will seek to pick quite soon.”

One example: CBS announced just last week that CBS All Access is adding kids’ programming, and bringing Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. content into the mix is a natural for driving subscriber volume and revenue.

At the same time, predictions of the early demise of cable and broadcast TV are clearly premature, even just plain off the mark.

CBS and Viacom certainly aren’t downplaying the opportunities in traditional revenue streams. With larger viewership share, the combined company should be able to up its current 11% share of retransmission and affiliate revenues, Ianniello said.

Indeed, CBS reported last week that combined affiliate and subscription revenue rose 13% in its fiscal Q2, driven by CBS All Access and the Showtime OTT streaming services.

While total U.S. pay TV subscribers have dropped from 101 million to 87 million over the past six years, upfront revenues for broadcast and cable networks have risen 4.6% to 5.9% each year for the past five, according to Media Dynamics stats cited by MediaPost’s Wayne Friedman.

Nor was the ViacomCBS news the only development this week speaking to the melding of traditional and advanced TV.

Amid the public rancor and blackouts occurring as content producers push into D2C distribution and MVPDs seek to protect their interests, Charter Communications and The Walt Disney Company managed to hammer out a multiyear carriage renewal agreement.

Not only will Charter’s TV residential broadband services continue to provide customers with access to more than 20 Disney channels; the deal “contemplates” Charter’s future distribution of Disney’s streaming services, including Hulu, ESPN+ and the soon-to-come Disney+.

They even agreed to cooperate to crack down on password sharing and unauthorized access — common consumer activities that must certainly be putting a dent in potential new subscriber growth.

Could this be a sign that industry players are learning that give and take and productive synergies are not only possible, but a heck of a lot better in the long term for both sides, as well as consumers?



The UK addressable TV market is growing, with 40% of homes now addressable, and a new report from Sky AdSmart claims this channel delivers higher engagement and clear business results for advertisers.

A white paper, AdSmart: Five Years and Forward, pulls together insights collated from five years of learnings into the UK addressable TV market through Sky’s AdSmart technology, with findings based on more than 130 campaign effectiveness projects, in which 300,000 Sky subscribers were interviewed.

The use of facial recognition analysis revealed that when addressable ads are on TV, viewers are on average 21% more engaged but attentiveness to the screen can be as much as a third higher (35%).

At the same time, channel switching halved (reducing by 48%) when addressable ads were in the first three positions of a break, compared to standard linear TV ads.

The report further found that viewers of addressable TV ads were 10% more likely to spontaneously recall an ad compared to linear TV advertising. And when linear and addressable TV are combined ad awareness increased by a quarter (22%) and ad recall by half (49%).

Crucially, the higher engagement and relevance lead to clear business results: the report notes purchase intent increased by 7% overall – and by as much as 20% for new-to-TV advertisers who benefit more from the exposure and credibility TV delivers.

More than 1,000 businesses have used TV for the first time via AdSmart, and Sky reports a 70% advertiser return rate. Tapi Carpets, for example, generated more than 7,000 orders, netting £3.4m in revenue, which were directly attributable to its AdSmart campaign.

The recent expansion of AdSmart into Virgin Media homes (from July 1) means that 40% homes will be addressable, giving brands the ability to reach 30 million individuals with relevant messaging – which will likely give added impetus to a shift away from non-addressable linear TV.  

“It makes perfect sense,” said Jamie West, Director of Strategy & Capability Planning at Sky Media. “If an ad is more relevant to you, then you are more likely to remember it and that translates in greater impact.”

Last month Sky Media launched Sky Analytics, a one-stop portal to plan, report, evaluate and optimise cross-platform Sky Media campaigns, starting with AdSmart and On Demand.



When it comes to online video offerings Czech Internet population prefers to watch films and TV shows. Trends in video content consumption, however, vary by age group. “The Internet Video 2019” study conducted by Nielsen Admosphere offers a detailed view of TV through the eyes of the often ignored group of respondents aged 37–51. TV viewers of this age category rarely watch TV shows in a foreign language and prefer comedies.

“The Online Video 2019” included 1,308 participants from a population of active Internet users, aged 15+.

In general, currently the most frequently watched types of Internet video content are films, TV shows and music videos. The specific ranking, however, differs for various socio-demographic groups. For example, men prefer to watch films (at least several times per week), then comedic videos, followed by music and news. Women prefer by far TV shows, then films and, finally, music videos. The 37+ group particularly loves to watch films; younger viewers watch mostly music videos and TV shows.

The most watched types of online video content

At least several times per week

Base: Those, who watch online video, N=1277

Films, TV shows, Music clips, News, Funny videos

An independent piece of the “The Online Video 2019” study is a survey of the relation between TV shows and respondents aged 37–51, the so-called Husak’s children. Eighty-nine percent of such respondents, who watch video content of all types on the Internet at least sometimes, indicated that they watch TV shows when doing so.

But TV show viewers of this age category don’t have a particular way of watching content. “A little bit against the expectation, a relatively frequent way of watching TV shows with the so-called Husak’s children is binge-watching. This is preferred by 47% of them,” according to Lucie Vlčková, Senior Research Manager, of Nielsen Admosphere. The remaining 53% prefer to watch individual episodes – thus (among other things) in a way television broadcasting offers it.

The so-called Husak’s children prefer the genre of comedy TV shows (according to 72% of viewers), then crime TV shows (61%) and then adventure (47%).

The most popular are TV shows in the Czech or Slovak language – either Czech or Czech/Slovak dubbing production (90%). Only 6% prefer to watch TV shows with Czech subtitles, 2% with English subtitles, and 2% in English without subtitles.

What is your preferred way of watching TV shows?

Base: Respondents ages 37-51 who watch TV shows, N=459.

In Czech, Slovak (even dubbed)

With Czech subtitles

With English subtitles

In English with subtitles




The emergence of digital-first, direct-to-consumer brands as a significant, growing pool of new TV advertisers was a big theme this past spring during the upfront. I believe that D2C brands will become such an important part of the TV ad industry over the next few years that they will end up reshaping in their own image much of how TV advertising operates.

Why do I believe this? One, because television generally, and TV advertising specifically, are in critical phases of transformation. Two, because digital technology and approaches are transforming every part of the industry. Three, because generational change in key leadership roles on both the buy and sell side are accelerating that change. Four, because TV companies themselves are all transforming to become direct to consumer.

And five, most importantly, because nothing reduces resistance to change like money. D2C brands represent not only a significant pool of new ad dollars for television — but these brands and ecommerce are quite likely to represent the dominant spend on TV within five years.

What might the D2C-reshaped world of TV advertising look like? Here are some of my thoughts:

More focus on audience. Most D2C brands launched in a digital ad world that focused on audiences first and content second. While they certainly also value the importance of context and positioning, it is critical for them to find their audiences wherever and whenever they are on TV. 

As former P&G executive and fellow columnist Ted McConnell famously says, ”brands don’t have remnant customers — so why should they view any audiences at any time as ‘remnant?’”

More focus on automation. D2C brands are expert in customer analytics, and they want to leverage data from their analytic systems across all of their media buys. That means buying units and time more precisely. That means buying across many properties. That means making and changing buys at the last moment. Faxes, phone calls and handshakes won’t be enough for them. Real automation in the TV ad “demand fulfillment” will become table stakes for TV companies.

More focus on scatter. D2C companies operate much more dynamically than legacy brands with their long, slow supply chains and complicated networks of distributors and retailers. D2C companies need more nimbleness, and most will be happy to embrace the flexibility of scatter over discounts in the upfront.

Less pomp and more performance. Folks who allocate D2C advertising budgets are under much more scrutiny for ROI on a daily basis than most of their legacy brand counterparts, so I suspect that we’re going to see less focus on the “pomp” that the TV industry showers on legacy marketers and media folks, and more focus on performance. In other words, there will be less focus on hosting celebrations of splendor honoring TV ad buyers on a weekly basis and more focus on discussing and improving the CAC (customer acquisition cost) of TV ad campaign spots relative to search, social and cost-per-click ads.

What do you think? Will D2C brands reshape the TV ad world in their own image?