The clients’ initial cautiousness disappears and TV ad autumn might be strong as indicated by the estimates of TV market development.

According to Nielsen Admosphere’s AdIntel monitoring, the volume of TV advertising got to its high this year in May and increased by nearly a third compared to last May. It was one tenth higher than monitored investments in TV ads in May 2019. In the first months of this year, TV ad investments were affected by TV advertisers’ cautiousness due to the pandemic situation, which was also seen in April. On the other hand, as mentioned above, this May was favourable to investments and could signal increased interest in the coming summer and autumn months.

“The first months of this year were significantly impacted by the pandemic and government measures that complicated sales of products and services of a number of advertisers. As a result, they had to redirect their communication to other goods or offerings, or postpone their investments to a later period after restrictions are relaxed. In spring, we also witnessed more frequent ad hoc campaign purchases than before. The structure of advertisers has also changed in part,“ says Jan Vlček, CEO of TV Nova, describing this year’s development.

In the first half of this year, the largest TV advertisers include retail chains, which have strengthened their positions, and some producers of fast-moving goods. The pandemic has brought a certain change in the structure of advertisers. Investments were increased by advertisers from the e-commerce and financial services sectors and for a number of them, it was their first step into TV.

The highest interest from advertisers is expected in autumn. It has traditionally been the key period for TV advertising and this year, it is likely to attract a portion of investments missed in the spring. “Moreover, a number of new clients appear in the market who have used other media so far that have no longer been sufficient. That is why we expect high levels of sold out inventory in the market, which will drive the advertising costs up,“ estimates Jan Vlček and adds that due to high demand for advertising, price increases can be expected next year. “The clients’ initial cautiousness slowly disappears and we think that with the expected strong autumn, we can also anticipate a year-on-year growth in TV investments,” said Vlček, estimating the overall development this year.

A strong May also raises expectations for summer months of this year. “We can see that an increased interest in TV advertising has been going on in June and we expect that summer will be no less successful. We notice a rather high portion of the TV market being sold out at the moment and we want to be ready to accommodate all market demand that other providers are no longer able to satisfy. For this reason, we have decided to enhance our programme in June and over the summer holidays in order to maximise our ad space and provide clients with exclusive ad breaks,” comments Nova’s head of sales on the forthcoming period. Unusually, Nova has launched a brand-new TV series “Co ste hasiči” and premiere episodes of the Kameňák TV series in summer, seeking to boost its summer programme.

Please note, that the significant year-on-year growth only applied to May. In the period from June to May 2021, the monitored increase in TV advertising is at 6%. In April, the volume was at a standstill (+0,3%), in May up 6%, in February down 7% and in January down 2% year-on-year.

The strongest entities by delivered GRPs for the first five months are Media Club (TV Prima, Óčko, Barrandov Group) with 51% (TG 15-54) followed by Nova Group (41%) and, falling behind, Atmedia (4%) and Česká televize (4%). 



When it comes to ad-supported TV platforms and networks versus ad-free TV services, one study says the decision is still mixed — essentially a hung jury.

More than half (57%) of respondents of a recent poll say they can tolerate “some ads,” with 17% saying they can’t tolerate any advertising. Another 26% say “content matters more than ads.”

This is according to a June 2021 Hub Entertainment Research study of 3,001 U.S. consumers age 14-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week.

The picture is cloudier when considering price: 58% of respondents say they would switch to an ad-supported platform if they could save $4 to $5 a month. The other 42% say that even with a $4 to $5-a-month saving, they rather pay more to avoid advertising.

The research also indicated a mixed result for leading streamer Netflix.

When asked whether Netflix offered a new ad-supported tier with pre-roll ads, 54% of the respondents said they would keep the “ad-free” plan, while 46% said they would switch.

Results were not substantially different when more advertising time was added — with mid-roll messaging to pre-roll ads, 61% said they would keep the ad-free version, while 39% would switch to ad-supported platforms..

Still, Hub says it depends on the service: “What’s clear from these findings is that what matters to consumers is not whether ads are included in the content they watch, but how ads are delivered.”

The study notes while nearly all TV consumers (95%) watch at least one ad-supported source, a majority (79%) also watch at least one ad-free TV source.



Conventional wisdom says that TV viewers will do anything to avoid ads, but viewer behavior says something different, the Hub reports

BOSTON—While the popularity of ad-free SVOD services like Netflix and Disney Plus has caused worries that marketers will have a harder time reaching consumers, new research from Hub suggests that viewers are relatively tolerant of ads and that their attitudes toward ad-supported services has a lot to do with cost and how the ads are delivered. 

The first wave of Hub’s “TV Advertising: Fact vs. Fiction” study found that consumers view both ad-free and ad-supported content and that it is not an either or choice for them. 

The survey found that nearly all TV consumers (95%) watch from at least one ad-supported source and a large majority (79%) also report that they watch at least one ad-free TV source. 

Nearly one in five consumers (17%) reported that they can’t tolerate them and won’t sign up for a service with ads while another group (26%) says the content is more important than ads. 

But 57% fall between these two statements agreeing with the statement that “I can tolerate a certain number of ads, but if there are too many I’ll go elsewhere.”

Consumers are also more willing to view ads when the cost of the services is added to the mix. 

Given the choice between a lower-cost ad-supported service and a higher-cost ad-free service—assuming the same content—most would be willing to watch ads, with 58% saying they’d prefer an ad-supported service that costs $4-$5 less per month than an ad-free service. About 42% said they would pay more to avoid ads.

Interestingly, the proportion who would choose a less expensive, ad-supported service over an ad-free service actually includes one-third of those who initially said that, on principle, they’d “never consider” a TV service with ads.

“What’s clear from these findings is that what matters to consumers is not whether ads are included in the content they watch, but how ads are delivered,” said Mark Loughney, Hub senior consultant and co-author of the study. “Even consumers who say they’re categorically opposed to ads will use an ad-supported platform if the price and ad delivery are right.”

The data comes from the first wave of Hub’s “TV Advertising: Fact Vs. Fiction” study, conducted among 3,0001 US consumers aged 14-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data were collected in June 2021. 



An increasing share of video on demand and online video and TV blending may be expected as one of the directions of TV broadcasting development.

Payments for TV content viewing will increase in the Czech Republic, and TV and video content will blend at the same time. While TV operators gradually enter the field of video on demand (VOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD), streaming operators seek to offer linear services. This is one of the observations made in the discussion on the future of TV broadcasting held on Wednesday as part of the Contagious Re-starter conference.

Daniel Grunt, Head of Digital of CME and TV Nova, estimates that at present, about half of the Czech population pays for TV (in addition to the licence fees, i.e. payments to operators for TV programme subscription). He expects that in future, majority of population will pay for TV broadcasting and the difference between linear TV and video on demand or timeshift will fade away. “People will watch what they enjoy. The TV and online worlds are approaching each other and their boundaries will merge,” he said, outlining the development.

Covid-19 accelerated the development of paid market by 2-3 years

The Covid-19 pandemic has driven higher interest in video on demand in the Czech market according to the discussion participants. “It started the development of SVOD as people were not used to paying for content. Every month we can see that on Voyo where the number of subscribers has been increasing,” said Grunt, expecting that the share of VOD and SVOD in the Czech market will keep growing. In his opinion, the pandemic has accelerated the paid video content market by 2-3 years. Linear TV will not dampen although we may expect that its share will not be growing. Tomáš Búřil, Sales Director of, under which Televize Seznam operates, notices changes in viewers’ needs. “In the morning, they immediately search for news content, they do not wait till the evening. TV will be more passive, but on the other hand, we no longer make any distinction between TV and the internet in Seznam, it is just one video content,” he described. wants GRP metrics for online video

Merging TV and online video content is reflected in business as well. Operators strive to provide clients with aggregate reach of video content that is equal to GRP. wants to go in this direction, following Media Club and Óčko TV Group. “We are close to the combination of GRPs on TV and on the web; some clients have invested more in online video than in TV,” specified Búřil. He is also convinced that the internet market may be twice as large as the TV market in the Czech Republic (annual turnovers of TV operators of about CZK 9 billion, turnover of of about CZK 5 billion; according to the estimate made by Tomáš Búřil, Seznam’s share in the internet is 30%, Google and Facebook account for 30% each).

CNC prepares a premium product

Juraj Felix, co-CEO of Czech News Center (CNC) and CEO of Mall.TV can also see the trend towards paid content. For CNC, video is one of several channels to address users and create space for advertisers. “CNC has invested much in content creation. In terms of video, the time spent with video is more crucial for us than the number of clicks. We are betting on a smart TV application,” he said. According to him,  CNC is testing how to design a premium product that would contain all media types. “We will have a more clear strategy at the end of the year, it will be cross-media and will contain video,” he added.

Voyo will not go against Netflix

With the expected increase in the number of VOD users, segmentation of audiences for various video services should be taken into consideration. For example, Voyo on which Nova’s digital strategy is based targets viewers between 25 and 50 years searching for the Czech original (TV series) programmes. “We are fishing in waters of Czech TV series. SVOD is not for young people, it is no longer true. We will educate older people. It will require more work but the potential is greater because the number of these people is higher,“ he outlined Nova’s plans. According to him, Voyo will not want to compete directly with Netflix whose estimated primary target group is up to 29 years.



Monitoring for this May reports an almost one-third year-on-year growth in investments in media ad space.

The volume of gross monitored investments directed at media ad space purchases in May shows a significant year-on-year growth. On average, it exceeds 30% in the monitored ATL offline media. In gross figures, it is two billion Czech crowns more than last May. This is the outcome of AdIntel monitoring by Nielsen Admosphere.

A two-digit growth was reported by all monitored media with the highest values being achieved in print, OOH advertising and TV. Last May suffered from lower investments due to the first wave of the pandemic; compared to that period, this May shows that advertisers’ interest has recovered.

For the period of the first five month of this year (January to May), the monitored volume of ad investments is five percent higher than in the same period last year. Print and TV ads show the most favourable development while OOH advertising has lagged behind the last year’s volume.

Source: ATO-Nielsen Admosphere

The summary does not include investments in internet advertising as the monitoring only covers display advertising.

Please note that the volumes monitored do not express real volumes invested in media advertising, they rather show development trends.



Óčko and Hybrid convert video advertising delivered on the HbbTV platform into the GRP equivalent.

The TV group Óčko and the tech company Hybrid use data from the official audience measurement of the non-linear digital video content (PEM-D) to calculate advertising GRPs. They measure the delivery of non-linear video ads using the HbbTV platform (the red button). It is a solution connecting linear and non-linear video advertising that is assessed in the online equivalent of the GRP TV currency.

“This innovation is another step leading to the symbiosis of the ‘classic’ linear TV and non-linear TV services that will be even more effective and efficient for advertisers,” said Štěpán Wolde, CEO of Óčko.

“In the development, we fully respected the standards of official TV audience measurement using the PEM-D method. We modify the resulting data by coefficients of our station’s official viewer rating and report campaign results to clients through GRP analogy,” said Hana Dolečková, Head of Data & Research of Óčko.

“We are at the beginning of the digital revolution of the TV market, fighting with global streaming platforms when broadcasters are transformed into data-driven companies. And that is just the beginning of the journey. Another fundamental shift will occur after the launch of Afterspot, our technology and data service, which will deliver video ads to viewers who have not seen linear spots or have seen them with low frequency. This will result in an additional incremental reach of campaign with the help of video advertising, which is an equivalent of the incremental GRP. For now, we call is simply SuperGRP,” outlined Lukáš Hnilička, CEO of Hybrid.

The Óčko TV group sells its advertising space also as part of a package of stations represented by Media Club, which is also seeking to report delivered video ads to clients in a manner equal to the TV ad GRP. This means that eGRP is part of Media Club’s business policy. The company expects that the space for creating TV GRPs will decline in future. “We can hardly expect that viewers’ behaviour will go back two years before the pandemic and people will start cancelling their subscriptions to Netflix or HBO. It is an outlook with which we have to work – that is why we seek to create an adequate space for online advertising communication, working with GRPs in digital as well,” explained Petr Hatlapatka, Head of Online Sales of Media Club, in a recent interview.



The volume of TV ads expressed as the number of delivered advertising GRPs on Czech TV screens increased in May this year.

The volume of TV ads expressed as the number of delivered advertising GRPs on Czech TV screens increased this May. Compared to last May, it has grown by a quarter in aggregate year-on-year (+25%). The figure relates to the volume of GRPs delivered through TV spots and sponsoring. Although last May was affected by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the comparison of this April and May shows that there is a growth in demand for TV space.

The highest increase in GRP as of this May is seen in the stations of Česká televize, which may only sell standard ad spots on ČT2 and ČT sport. Sports events, specifically the Ice Hockey World Championship, are one of the drivers of demand for TV advertising on public TV. A high year-on-year increase in GRP is also experienced by stations sold by Atmedia, and a two-digit growth was reported by the key players on the TV advertising market – Media Club (Prima, Óčko, Barrandov and other players excluding Atmedia) and TV Nova in May. 

Share of business networks in delivered GRPs (%), May 2021

Source: Nielsen Admosphere, TV spots and sponsoring

May developments indicate advertisers’ interest in using TV ads, which is expected to continue over this year’s autumn season. The two strongest commercial TV companies have announced preparation of several new programmes for this TV autumn. Given the statutory limits of time that may be used by operators for ad broadcasting, the pressure on TV ad space is likely to grow.  



Television is shining white hot in the media agency playbook as advertisers scramble to get their brands airtime, pushing ad spend growth numbers into positive territory for the first time in years.

The restrictions and regulations of COVID-19 increased consumer time with television in all its forms, including free-to-air and the various catchup and BVOD.

Brands joined the flow, following a hungry audience — attracted by the content and the safety of familiarity — to leverage the power of moving pictures and sound.

Media agency booking numbers, after a long slide starting in 2008, have been growing since September 2020. TV’s total ad spend was 3.4% higher in January/February 2021 than in the same two months last year, according to Standard Media Index (SMI).

“Fortunately, TV has benefitted from record levels of January/February ad spend from the food/produce/dairy, restaurants, communications and in-home entertainment categories, while the insurance category’s TV investment for this period is at its highest point since 2018,” says Jane Ractliffe, SMI managing director, Australia and New Zealand.

Key product categories such as automotive brand, travel, live entertainment and movies/cinema — still reporting significant declines in ad spend — will add to momentum when they return.

The June quarter in 2020 was the trough, the lowest point of the economic fallout from the pandemic, for ad spend. When overall ad spend dropped a record 40.4% in May, television was down more than a third. 

Since then there has been a steady improvement, apart from a blip in January caused by a shift in the Australian Open tennis to February.

And advertisers are shifting to a greater emphasis on brand.

Analysts at investment bank Jefferies: “The ad market is showing green shoots of growth, with television benefitting from advertisers shifting back to brand building, as opposed to shorter-term sales boosts through digital advertising.”

Ben Willee, GM and media director, Spinach, says the pandemic gave marketers an opportunity to reassess their activity.

“There is a lot of evidence to suggest that video formats are very powerful because they include sight, sound and movement,” he told AdNews. “Therefore it’s no surprise that TV and digital video formats are performing well.”

One of the main effects of the pandemic, from a media consumption perspective, was to accelerate the digitisation of viewership.

“As such, it has never been more important, both from an agency and marketer perspective, to take a holistic view of consumers’ engagement with, and experience of, advertising,” says Anthony Ellis, MD of Publicis Media Exchange.

Publicis Groupe has been at the vanguard of the “screen” approach. Linear TV and online video advertising should not be planned, bought or measured in silos.

“Recognition of the importance of this joined-up approach has accelerated significantly over past years and is strongly reflected in the initiatives being driven by the Australian television networks,” says Ellis.

Publicis Media Exchange has been tracking TV ad revenue growth numbers against a 2019 baseline. “From this point of view, growth across linear TV doesn’t look as strong — it is currently level with 2019 — and looks unlikely to reverse the trend away from terrestrial advertising over the longer term,” says Ellis.

“What OzTAM’s Video Player Measurement (VPM) numbers tell us though is that TV content is absolutely not dead. Broadcaster VoD viewership continues to soar [still tracking at +35% year on year, at time of writing].

“This is clearly reflected in the networks’ revenue performances, too. In their last financial results, Seven’s digital revenue had grown 73% year on year. Meanwhile, digital now accounts for 41% of Nine’s group EBITDA, which is hugely encouraging.”

Dan O’Brien, commercial director and head of strategy at independent media agency Frontier Australia, says TV sits in a strong position heading into the second half of 2021.

“Advertiser demand has never been stronger, with no signs of slowing down — yet,” he says. “What remains to be seen is how long increased demand can be sustained alongside increased fragmentation of viewership. We’ve seen huge growth in the consumption of on-demand platforms during the past year. Total TV strategies can no longer be avoided.”

O’Brien says the economy is unquestionably doing well, with the exception of some categories such as travel.

“That breeds confidence, and confidence leads to spending, first, by consumers, and, second, by business,” he says.

“Brands that have recognised this have invested funds back into advertising to capitalise on it. And TV, being a platform that can very effectively reach audiences at scale, has been the beneficiary of this investment.”

Frontier Australia is predicting a restabilising of both audiences and advertiser demand post-Olympics.

“No doubt linear TV audiences will continue to see some decline given the increasing availability of on-demand content,” says O’Brien.

“This is where we need smarter measurement approaches to ensure we are activating against ‘Total TV’ audiences, not just linear. I look forward to when we don’t use the terms linear or BVOD. Isn’t it all just TV? That is a while off, but it is on the TV networks to attract viewers with compelling content running across all platforms, and it’s on all of us to make sure we are planning, activating and measuring effectiveness properly.”

O’Brien says the growth of TV, from a viewership perspective, relies heavily on content itself. “This is a significant challenge for the networks, however this is nothing new,” he says. “With the quality of content accessible via a growing number of on-demand platforms, getting this right consistently is crucial for TV publishers in Australia to make sure we have audiences to activate against, regardless of the platform.

“From an advertiser investment perspective, growth will continue to come from improved targeting and measurement capabilities attached to BVOD/CTV platforms. It’s certainly shaping up to be an exciting year in this space.” 

Kim Portrate, CEO of industry body ThinkTV Australia, says linear TV audiences swelled during COVID-19 as Australians turned to TV as a trusted source of information as well as respite from the challenges of lockdown — from homeschooling to working from the dining room table.

“Understandably, audiences have come back a little now that we can head out to see family and friends, but what we’re noticing is the growth in audiences has led to advertisers shifting their perception of TV advertising from a simplistic cost view to a much more sensible assessment of effectiveness and value,” she says. “Research shows TV’s value is incredibly strong in the short- and long-term with TV the greatest driver of incremental sales, further highlighting its value.”

After a challenging year in 2020, Portrate says marketers are looking to make up for lost sales or get a fast start this year. Either way, delivery of results off the back of media investment is a key for advertisers. TV can, and does, support this.

Recent ThinkTV Payback Series research examined campaigns for 60 Australian brands across nine media channels and found, across categories, that investing $1 in Total TV returns an average of $4.30 in three months. For longer-term campaigns, the return is $18.30.

And content works. Portrate says all the top 50 shows during 2020 were locally made, a trend continuing now that broadcasters have returned to pre-COVID-19 production levels.

Production is back with shiny floor shows leading the charge, from MasterChef Australia to The Amazing Race Australia, LEGO Masters, Big Brother, The Masked Singer, Beauty and the Geek, The Bachelor, Celebrity Apprentice, Australian Survivor, Married at First Sight, Dancing With the Stars and Big Brother.

And growth is ahead. Portrate points to two key areas.

“BVOD, Australia’s fastest growing advertising medium, is thriving in audience and advertising revenue growth,” she says. “More than 1.6 million hours of BVOD content is consumed every week Australians embrace the platform. And in the second half of 2020, BVOD revenue increased a healthy 52.7% to $133 million.

“In many ways BVOD is the ideal companion for linear TV. Linear delivers high-velocity reach while BVOD offers targeted precision — it’s the perfect combination to  capture, captivate and convert customers.”

The second area of growth for TV will come from VOZ, the new OzTAM database coming in late 2020 that will allow targeted advertising in ways not previously possible.

The pandemic had a large impact on the world of media. Rising advertising spend on linear TV can largely be attributed to Australia’s handling of COVID-19, according to Will Chapman, senior industry analyst at IBISWorld.

“With international borders closed, and economic activity household incomes supported through the JobKeeper program, a significant amount of discretionary spending that would otherwise be spent on domestic and international holidays is being redirected to other markets,” he says.

“This spending has supported a range of retail and other industries, with ABS data showing strong growth in household goods retail spending during the past year compared with levels recorded pre-COVID-19.

“In particular, as consumers have spent more time at home, they have spent more on home renovation projects and furnishings.

“This trend has also been partly driven by rising house prices in capital cities, which have produced a ‘wealth effect’ that has bolstered consumer sentiment and spending.

“Advertisers have consequently increased their spending to reach these consumers and attract a share of this expenditure.”

Steve Allen, director of strategy and research at independent media agency Pearman, sees growth and recovery for the next two years.

“The marketing/effectiveness/ROI effort by ThinkTV should go to stemming the structural decline beyond that,” he says. “However, we do not see TV going back to any meaningful growth long-term.

“Very modest revenue growth, through the work by ThinkTV in the past couple of years, should boost growth as they use both research and CMO advocates, demonstrating TV’s effectiveness, plus ROI, to bring TV brand performance into focus, and marketers back to the medium.

“In addition, like all media, travel and tourism is yet to truly return and was worth more than $100 million for TV.”

And BVOD is huge, with growth up 52.7% in the last half year to $133 million, and will hit around $325 million by year’s end.

Most marketers who use TV have sales captured in ABS Retail Sales series. This has run hot for a year now, at twice the rate of growth of the previous decade.

“Thus, many achieved sales growth without the same marketing effort,” says Allen. “So many are playing catch up now, and using what they have captured in sales and margin to boost effort before the June 30 balance date.”

At Ten, Rod Prosser, chief sales officer at ViacomCBS, was pleased from a business perspective, despite everything, at the end of last year.

“We had some nice momentum going into those really terrible months, around May, June and July,” he says. “We just continued to deliver a fairly solid plate. Our audiences went up and our revenue share went up during that period. Not our revenue, but our share of the pie went up.

“And then for us, throughout the whole of the second half, that momentum just continued. I don’t know how many businesses can say that, but we certainly felt like we weathered the storm, so to speak, fairly well.”

In uncertain times, people tend to turn to things they trust.

“And television is no different,” he says. “We saw brands leaning on TV during those difficult COVID-19 months in the middle of the year.

“And of course people weren’t moving around as much as they normally would. I think we were able to capitalise on that as a medium.

“Brands have moved back to television and invested more into TV. It’s actually really worked for them. Their advertising campaigns on
TV have been validated. A lot of marketers are saying it’s done better than they’ve seen for many years. And they’ve consolidated their expense rather than having it all fragmented into various online channels. Those advertisers are sticking around and staying on TV.”

Lead times for bookings have stretched

“If you’re not booking 12 weeks in advance, you’re not necessarily getting the exact schedule you want,” says Prosser.

“But the notion that TV networks are just running full, month after month, is not factual. We can accommodate most bookings and clients, it’s just the selection or environment they’re after gets more challenging as we get closer to on-air dates.

“I know there’s certainly been some noise, I think, from some other competing media sectors, saying, ‘Television’s full, advertise on us.’

“That’s not the case.”

Is there a feeling of a renaissance around television at the moment?

Prosser: “That’s an interesting word to use, but if you think about all the parts of TV that are now coming together… you’ve got VOZ coming, you’ve got broadcast video-on-demand platforms really forging forward at a rapid pace. Whether that be from the advertising revenue point of view, or just sheer eyeballs watching on that platform. And indeed, the linear broadcast channels are holding their own fairly well.”

Kurt Burnette, chief revenue officer at Seven: “It was a watershed year that’s for sure and it changed everything. But what’s been interesting is how we came out.

“The questions being asked around this time last year was how long would this last? What would the recovery be? Would there be a recovery?

“And as it turns out, thankfully, things began to get better and recover a lot faster than what
anyone had expected or hoped.

“We had been thinking the TV market would possibly be going back 25%-30% July to December, and BVOD would be marginally up.

“But the market ended up being slightly ahead year-on-year of 2019 and the BVOD market grew by 47%. So we got that dramatically wrong in the most positive of ways.

And the same for the start of 2021. The market is tracking higher than forecasts.

“It’s been a hockey stick,” he says. “It’s certainly creating a lot of demand for television and a lot
of brands are coming through it. For the last half of last year, television was the fastest growing sector and I don’t recall when that’s been in the past. It was a very good result for television.”

In July to December, the growth categories were healthcare food, FMCG, retail, technology, in-home entertainment, streaming, household supplies and alcohol.

“There were some big shifts, especially into Q4, as people started to see there were opportunities to come out of lockdown,” says Burnette. 

The strong demand for television spots is putting a strain on resources across the board for media agencies and clients.

“What we’re seeing is that the pace picked up through the latter part of COVID-19 last year and it has continued this year,” he says.

“And we’ve had to find new ways of working and processes and systems. It’s never an exact science, but yeah. It’s a champagne problem in that there’s lots of activity, but the teams are becoming very adept at working at that pace and with the changes.

“It’s a two-speed economy as it relates to TV because we’re talking around brands and into the Olympics coming in July, and sport into the latter half of the year with the Ashes, and even the Winter Olympics next February.

“We’re encouraging people to go longer because the market is running hot. And we’re having good long-term strategic conversations, and that’s a positive sign.

“We’re really sort of doubling down on the cultural moments that matter and across the year. Has there ever been a more important Olympic Games for bringing the world together? It’s going to be a very significant moment in time as the world comes together for all the right reasons around the Olympics.

“And of course we’ve got home Ashes as well, the AFL grand final, the Supercars, the Bathurst 1000 back on Seven.

“The BVOD marketplace in December was up 77% year-on-year, which is the largest month in the history of BVOD. It goes from strength to strength.

“Seven Plus is a powerhouse now with a majority of the content, not just catch-up — it’s standalone content. And that’s growing our data capabilities. Real IQ is just accelerating that growth.

“A lot of new brands are coming into BVOD as they see the benefit because it’s proven to add incremental reach to television. So when you combine the two, it’s definitely a reach growth opportunity. And connect televisions continue to represent, for us, close to 70% of the entire streaming video on demand. So there’s a couple of massive growth areas in there and a huge opportunity.

“The connected television is the most underutilised marketing weapon  in the country right now. It’s huge growth. While the other devices are  still getting a lot of support through the brands, I think the connect  television still has a big opportunity to have more brands investing in it. So that’s going to be the big story of 2021.”

Richard Hunwick, Nine’s director of sales for television, lives in Brisbane and works in Sydney so during the pandemic he spent more time with his family.

Normally, he is a fly-in, fly-out worker. Being at home more was a personal positive.

“But it was very difficult not being able to see the teams,” he says. “People are the most important thing, and managing them through that process was a really big part of what we had to do.

“We’ve got a young workforce, and for many of them, making sure they were OK was a really important part to me. Many of them live alone, many in apartments. Guys in Melbourne were locked up for 127 days. Trying to make sure we looked after our people was a really big part of last year.

“It was challenging but I think everybody rose to it. We’re very proud of the way everyone’s come through in the past 12 months and bounced back. So we’re in good shape.”

Hunwick says the growing resurgence in branding isn’t slowing down.

“People have been moving towards investing in brand, and I don’t think COVID-19 stops that,” he says. “And television does it best. There’s very few places that you can still reach those massive audiences in one place.

“The audience has been strong, and broadly speaking, pretty resilient right the way through. 

“Sport now is really strong. And AFL has been good. And I think there’s going to be more of that to come through the back end of the year.

“What we’re looking forward to is growth and recovery of the market, ongoing. And a remarkably healthy total television ad economy, all things considered.

“And it’s hot right now. What we’re hearing from investment directors is they see it running through to the end of the year.”

And good content. “We’ve got some good stuff coming back,” he says. “LEGO Masters, Australian Ninja Warrior and The Block off the back of Married at First Sight. Add to that the return of Celebrity Apprentice, launch of Parent Jury, and picking up Beauty and the Geek from Seven, that provides us with a really powerful stretch of material right across the year.”

On high demand and finding a spot on the network, he says: “I can assure you that people can get advertising on Channel Nine. They just need to give us a call. We’ll find a way.

“Demand will drive availability issues. We’re recommending to clients at the moment they don’t try to book two weeks — try 12 weeks out. And it’s just a change in the cycle, but it’s changed quite quickly.

“The bounce back’s been really marked, and the change in behavior is something we’re talking to agencies and clients about.”

On TV audiences, Hunwick describes an evolution rather than a structural decline.

“Brands are looking to drive sales and the brand, which TV obviously does well,” he says. “And from a linear-versus-BVOD perspective, we’re seeing an evolution there rather than a structural decline.

“We’re talking about total television, that’s where we’re going to.”

Mark Frain, CEO of Foxtel Media, says 2021 is proving that, in times of uncertainty and turbulence, TV is the most trusted advertising medium. 

“Demand is also coming from the fact that Australians have a higher disposable income at their hands to spend locally due to the lack of international travel,” he says.

“Marketers are looking to tried and tested brand environments like TV. Flexible work arrangements also mean that viewers have more time to engage with content. This, coupled with the quality content that is currently available makes for a great TV advertising environment. The viewing customer has never had it so good when it comes to availability of content choices.”

Food, gaming, and health and beauty have been some of strongest sectors to bounce back, says Frain. 

“Given the challenges of lockdown and travel restrictions, it has not been surprising to see a spending decline from travel, and location-based hospitality and entertainment sectors,” he says. “But when these sectors come back, and we’re already seeing positive signs in domestic tourism, they will further propel the growth we have seen across the board.”

Frain says brands are looking for effective advertising. They want to reach the right audience, create awareness, change behaviour and ultimately drive sales.

But they are increasingly becoming more sophisticated in their briefs, demanding personalisation and addressability to make those moments of impact and attention even more engaging.

“For Foxtel Media, it’s about providing the media platforms that offer brands and their agencies smart options for securing audiences, one that marries mass appeal with quality content and an enhanced viewing experience,” he says.

“As an industry, we know there is a slowly trending decline in overall linear audiences as a result of how we view content. However, the massive growth across BVOD and streaming audiences is more than making up for this.

“We are also seeing a ratings bump across marquee events, such as sport,” says Frain. “2020 gave us the highest ratings season for live AFL and live NRL and the highest ratings cricket Test series and one-day international series on STV. This, in turn, gave our brand partners fantastic ways of engaging with fans, through the use of QR codes, for example.”

Juliette Stead, SVP, for independent sell-side advertising platform Magnite, says TV is excellent for brand exposure and awareness.

“Last year, the industry saw a significant increase in OTT and CTV viewing across catch-up, catalogue and live linear, and we expect to see that growth continue this year,” she says.

“On the content side, live sports will be a big driver of TV viewing with the Olympics slated for later in the year.

“On the business side, there’s also been a shift from IO to programmatic buying so brands can have greater flexibility.”

According to the IAB, 61% of video was bought programmatically in Q4 2020, and Magnite expects to see that trend towards programmatic carry on through 2021 and into the future.

Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, says investment in digital video advertising more than tripled between 2015 and 2020 with the total Australian digital video market worth $1.9 billion in 2020.

Early revenue reporting in 2021 shows continued strong growth in digital video investment, with content publishers seeing a 31% year-on-year increase in January and 45% year-on-year increase in February (IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report).

“Although there was strong growth in linear TV into early 2021, we’ll see this shift with serious growth in audiences via digital channels, including SVOD, BVOD, YouTube, gaming and other digital offerings on the TV screen,” says Le Roy.

“Advertisers and brands will follow this growth in audience reach and time. There are already signs of this, with video investment on CTV increasing from 35% to 45% between 2019 and 2020.

“For the convergence of traditional and TV worlds to become a reality and deliver on the promise of CTV at scale, the industry will need technical standards that enable interoperability and efficiency.”



The content landscape has changed dramatically as a result of the global pandemic.

Speaking at ANGA COM’s online International Content Summit, Nicole Agudo Berbel, chief distribution officer of ProSiebenSat.1, said that while it was really true that everyone was watching TV, how this was actually taking place varied dramatically according to age. “We have lots of young target groups watching our channels and the young target groups give you figures that show they’re using the smartphone, they spend more than 50 minutes on the smartphone, but 112 minutes still apply to the TV screen.”

Agudo Berbel said ProSieben was using the information to run 360 degree campaigns to help combine the two platforms.

The German broadcaster has also been taking advantage of the demand for local content, developing new shows for its most popular personalities.

Discovery’s Susanne Aigner agreed, adding that premium content was crucial for the competitive positioning of platforms. “It has a massive impact on production and the market of audiovisual content providers in general and is leading to some far reaching changes and upheavals here, especially in the consolidations that we’re currently experiencing”.

Aigner also dismissed the argument that there was competition between linear and digital. “It’s a coexistence of linear usage and digital usage. So we’re providing offers for different customers in different situations, in different usage situations. And when you look at the how things are being used by different target groups and the cohorts, you will see that that the tiniest number, tiniest number are the ones that are using linear exclusively. I think it’s like 15% between 20 and 29 year olds that are saying I’m not using linear at all anymore”.

David Bouchier, Chief TV and Entertainment Officer, Virgin Media, told online delegates that the move away from linear had accelerated during the UK lockdown, while at the same time viewing time was increasing.

“They’re watching those new services. So from our point of view, it’s finding that audiences that I think is the key challenging content. That audience, as we’ve heard from the previous speakers, particularly the younger audience, when we do research up to half of the subs, 35 year olds in the UK do not connect on a regular basis with the national networks, preferring instead to do it with YouTube.

Bouchier said this meant that more viewers were watching user generated content.