The Association of Commercial Television


TV advertising has an important role to play in keeping commerce going through the coronavirus crisis.

When people’s livelihoods are threatened and we all fear for the people we love, everything else can feel a little beside the point, a bit trivial.

So I have to keep reminding myself that there is a point. That life goes on. We can’t all stop and dwell. “The best way out is always through,” Robert Frost said. 

I look at the incredible response from the team at Thinkbox, atomised like so many teams for the time being but adapting and pushing forward, and I watch as stories of solidarity and collective effort from around the world come through, and I am reassured.

This is a time when we are so much more aware and hopefully far more appreciative of society’s key workers. The NHS staff, care workers, delivery drivers, police, the people keeping our supermarkets going, to name just a handful.

There is a long list of people to be grateful to and I would add our broadcasters to it. They are being fleet of foot, keeping our shows on and keeping us informed and entertained. 

Witness the record audience for ITV’s Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at the weekend, recreated without its studio audience. Look at Channel 4’s Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On, a new show to help people cook during self-isolation. Millions are glued to Sky News as a trusted source.

Broadcasters are making the tough choices of putting some shows on hold, quickly changing formats and reducing the output of certain shows, even while large chunks of content and revenue – like sport – disappear from the schedules.

TV journalists are rightly on the government’s key workers list.

As society becomes temporarily withdrawn, TV is there for us all as a source of trusted information and much-needed distraction.

TV is and always has been a social glue. It brings us together. It comforts and connects. It also lets us escape. It is a faint professional silver lining at the moment.

During times of crisis, we always turn to trusted media. But our media habits in this crisis are being more directly affected because we’re being forced to spend more time in our homes and less time outside and commuting. This means media consumed at home will see increased consumption.

Rediscovering the value of TV

We are already seeing a dramatic effect on TV viewing, which grew by 17% year on year last week, having been tracking down about 4% this year. So, people watched an average of 28 minutes more a day. 

Daytime average TV audiences have grown 29% and daily reach has increased by 18%. Viewing among children has grown by 20% (and this was before the schools were closed). Monday’s prime ministerial address to the nation was watched by 27 million people on TV.

Media consumption and the impact of advertising are linked. So the crisis is also having an impact on advertising; it is changing how advertising should – or, in fact, can – be approached.

Thinkbox’s role is to help advertisers, to offer the best advice through uncertain times. And when we do get through the current uncertain times, it will be vital that businesses are in as strong a position as possible to help rebuild our economy. 

Those businesses are of course under immense pressure, which inevitably puts pressure on their advertising budgets. 

Some sectors will be affected more – travel is the obvious example. Some, though, will likely see a surge of interest because their products and services will be vital in this period. 

There can scarcely be a better time to be an online retailer, for example. Home entertainment, too, has never been more central to our lives. Disney+ is launching at a good time, if this time can ever be described as good.

As some advertisers, like travel, have little choice but to reduce their TV spend and TV viewing shoots up, the average price for a TV spot will come down (in TV terms, this means demand is down and supply is up).

The impact of this for advertisers is that TV advertising pricing will offer ridiculous value over the next couple of months.

This presents an opportunity to brands that can earn market share growth through well-established marketing mechanics such as extra share of voice. 

For every 10% points of extra share of voice (a brand with 10% market share but 20% share of voice will have 10% points extra share of voice) on average, you will earn 0.5% market share growth, according to Les Binet and Peter Field. 

Going after this growth is not mercenary panic-buying; it would be a sensible business decision that would not only offer competitive advantage, but fuel the economy (and, obviously, fund TV shows).

Now is the time to back up your brands. For most, there is little point in a focus on sales activation at this point with the world in retreat. But when we emerge, brands that maintained or built will be much stronger for it.

It may feel weird to be talking about opportunities at a time like this, but it is weirder still to ignore them. The worst thing to do would be to grind everything to a halt.

We must engage with the real world and its future still. And advertising has an important role to play in keeping commerce going.

Not all advertisers will be able to take advantage of the value on offer but, for those that can, competing via advertising is an important way through this and out the other side.

Lindsey Clay is chief executive of Thinkbox



Time spent in front of a TV screen has increased on average by 45 minutes per day, TV news rating has even doubled. 

Since 10 March when the Government prohibited all cultural, sports and social events attended by more than 100 people due to the coronavirus pandemic and declared that schools would be closed starting from the following day, the Czech data has shown a rapid growth in daily TV rating.

Further tightening of government measures has recently contributed to an increase in rating of 45 minutes per day (compared to previous weeks) in the 4+ target group. In the recent seven days, the rating has been even higher than in February 2018 when the Winter Olympic Games were held. This is revealed by ATO’s data supplied by Nielsen Admosphere.

Daily Total TV ATS (h:mm), target group 4+

Source: ATO – Nielsen Admosphere, live + TS0-3, calculated on 20 March 2020

Rating of the news has grown significantly. The increase is noticeable in the main news programmes of all major TV stations and continuous news broadcast. In the past seven days, an average Czech above 15 years who owns a functioning TV set watched on average 67 minutes of news programmes on TV per day, which is more than double compared to the regular situation.

In the last ten years, only the results of elections to the Chamber of Deputies (26 October 2013 and 21 October 2017), the presidential elections in January 2013 and 2018, floods in early June 2013 and Václav Havel’s funeral (23 December 2011) drew the same attention to TV news.

Total TV rating in %, target group: pupils, students and apprentices

5 business days before school closing

5 business days after school closing

Source: ATO – Nielsen Admosphere, live + TS0+3, calculated on 20 March 2020

Rating of young viewers, such as pupils, students and apprentices who are home from schools due to the Government regulation effective as of 11 March, has increased. In the Czech population, there are 1.6 of these individuals. The graph above compares this group’s rating curves (% of people watching TV in a given time) showing the average for the last five business days before school closing and for the following five days after the closing. A dramatic increase is apparent namely in the usual time of school attendance between 8 am and 3 pm and also late in the evening because there is no need to get up early next morning. This is also the reason why rating around 7 am has decreased.



The TV viewing experience has been changing drastically in the last years, especially with the rise of streaming services and all new devices for accessing them. The way audiences consume TV daily is constantly evolving. Therefore, there is a rising need for most recent figures that precisely show people’s viewing behaviour.

This week’s egtabite puts the spotlight on a project conducted by ViacomCBS in collaboration with the Global TV Group.

A closer look

The project, aiming to shed light on how and why global audiences watch TV, involved 10,000 respondents aged 13-54 from 10 different countries (Australia, Argentina, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Thailand, UK and US) through 60+ hours of filmed footage. Using GoPro cameras, in-home ethnographies and online surveys, ViacomCBS got to see how consumers are watching TV today.

Global Consumer Insights

The main insights of this extensive research unanimously prove the undeniable power of TV.

First, people all over the world love TV more than ever before, as it remains central to their lives. TV is big and nuanced enough to have something for everyone. It is perceived as a companion, a unifier, and a source of inspiration. One of the respondents from Germany said: “For me, TV is a great way to be inspired and entertained.” While 69% of respondents feel that TV is an inevitable part of their daily lives, 70% say it’s an important source of entertainment.

Also, TV is bigger and better than before, in terms of content rather than devices or platforms that have been proliferating in the last years. 62% of all the respondents define TV as “TV shows and movies”. They perceive TV as content and not as the tools they use to get their shows and movies.

Third, people use TV to reduce stress and unwind after a tiring day. However, the amount of content that is available to viewers is overwhelming. Searching for content is time-consuming and frustrating, especially on VOD services. Therefore, audiences are seeking out viewing experiences that are easy and seamless, allowing them instant access to the content they love. If that is not the case, the viewers are turning to watching movies or shows that they are familiar with. The respondents admit that they occasionally turn to linear TV as a way of simplifying their choices.

TV indulges us, brings us together and broadens our horizons

The project proved that some viewing habits have remained the same. Despite a changing TV landscape, well-established needs continue to be served by TV.

TV still indulges us today, giving us a break from our busy lives and satisfying our need to unwind. It serves as a wonderful escape that lets the viewers get their “me time”.

Apart from offering a relaxing solo time, TV serves as a strong social connector, bringing audiences closer to each other. People prefer to spend quality time together with their close friends and families while watching TV, cooking and chatting. The most popular place for gathering remains a living room with a big TV.

Also, TV serves as a great mind opener. People are watching shows from all over the world, featuring different cultures which expand their views. TV allows them to learn new things and have a fresh perspective. One of the respondents said: “You feel like you are sitting and not doing anything when in fact you are exploring the world and going on a journey.”

Our research proves that we are living in TV’s Golden (or even Platinum) Age. TV is no longer limited to one screen at home – Today’s TV is a concept for consumers and tomorrow’s TV will be more important than ever,” says Christian Kurz, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Insights, ViacomCBS. “The research shows that while TV continues to satisfy many crucial needs, such as personal indulgence, togetherness and broadening perspectives, consumers are increasingly craving ease and seamlessness in their viewing experiences.”

We Love TV

Finally, the ViacomCBS/Global TV Group project showed that TV today is loved more than ever, it is bigger and better than ever and also more complex. Whether we are viewing TV as a social ritual, getting out of our heads for a while, or expanding our mind, it remains the best way to relax and unwind in today’s complex world.



If you’re like me, then your LinkedIn feed has been all about the resurgence of branding and traditional media recently. Companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google began 2020 with Super Bowl ads. Executives from adidas admit having prioritized activation over branding, saying they were focused on the wrong metrics because of their responsibility to shareholders. Lately, even experts who believe most strongly in the importance of results-driven advertising have been acknowledging the critical importance of brand building to long-term success.

Some, though, have been “team branding” all along. For Marci Cohen, vice president of market insights at Spectrum Reach, the advertising sales division of Charter Communications, brand-building is step one in any successful advertising campaign. “Advertisers need to be part of the consideration set to be purchased,” Cohen says. “Advertising builds trust and awareness and desire. Over recent years, there’s been so much noise, so many ‘shiny things’ for advertisers to consider, that it was easy for some companies to just focus … on media towards the bottom of the marketing funnel. That’s changing.”

Cohen, who leads a team of more than 40 research experts across the country —advising on both traditional and advanced advertising — recently helped develop a campaign and whitepaper aimed at educating local advertisers about what national advertisers already know: When it comes to brand building, television in all its forms is vital. “Every single person uses media differently,” she says. “But, between the amount of time consumers spend with television, television’s broad reach and brand-safe and fraud-free premium environment, and the impact of TV creative on the big screen where most people watch, TV does unparalleled things for businesses of all sizes.”

Those benefits, she says, make the activation side of advertising more effective. Consider direct-to-consumer advertisers such as UNTUCKit and Wayfair, which have also begun investing heavily in traditional media, producing what the Video Advertising Bureau calls “short- and long-term success.”

Amy Bobchek, chief revenue officer of real-time advertising optimization platform Advocado agrees, comparing businesses that focus only on search engine advertising to a restaurant that advertises only in the back seat of taxicabs because most of its customers arrive that way. She says that not only is TV the number one way to build brands, but also “it boosts online ad effectiveness. People choose brands online that they’re familiar with offline.”

Results and branding are also important for Miriam Quart, president of agency Madison Avenue Consortium, known for its work with national beauty and packaged goods advertisers. I caught up with her as she was punching up the script for a TV commercial for a regional hospital. For her, the conversation about branding versus activation is about impact. “With so many ways to activate online, I’m seeing the pendulum swinging back to big ideas and the strategic planning and creative concepting that bring both parts — brand-building and executions, which are more sales-focused — together. There’s no divide between traditional media and digital anymore; it’s all just content and how it works best for the brand’s strategy.”

Even advertising consultant and speaker Tom Ray, who wrote Branding Is Out, Results Are In, asserts that branding is one of the most important elements of an advertising campaign. “It’s a myth that TV is just for branding, and that digital is for activation,” he says. “Traditional media, particularly television, can do both. If we allow advertisers to believe that it can’t and let them run only commercials that don’t give customers a real reason to buy, visit, or sign up for something, we’re doing them a disservice.”

Nicole Penn, president of EGC Group, whose clients include brands in automotive, education, healthcare, and retail, says that the balance between branding and activation depends on the marketer’s strategy. EGC worked on a campaign for an urgent care center in the Northeast last year, which had previously been focused completely on activation at the point of need — when people were making the decision to see a doctor — because the advertiser assumed that sick people would just choose the nearest center.

“Our hypothesis was that if customers understood value the brand offered — specially trained doctors, no wait times — they would be willing to drive a little further.” EGC kept the activation-focused search and social advertising, adding broadcast and cable television, including ads during sporting events. “The results,” Penn says, “were ‘ginormous.’ By the end of flu season, we had a client who understood that traditional media truly makes an impact on results and on the long-term value of the brand.”

Spectrum Reach’s Cohen says she expects more advertisers to be focused on branding and, in turn, television in 2020, even as companies selling traditional media offer advertisers more ways to measure advertising impact through platforms such as her company’s AudienceTrak. “Marketers do need to track sales performance — it’s not really an either/or,” she says. “They need both results and branding … but branding should come first.”



AKA (Association of Communications Agencies) published its annual report on advertising for 2019.

In 2019, CZK 119.5 billion were invested in advertising in the Czech Republic. This is an expert estimate of net marketing spend based on a research conducted among advertisers by AKA in cooperation with Nielsen Admosphere last March. It is 5% more than last year’s 113.5 billion. “The shift is slightly above inflation and was reported for the fourth time in a row, which indicates that the industry is doing well,” said Marek Hlavica, Director of AKA, at today’s presentation of the latest figures. 

The media (including traditional media types, such as TV, radio, outdoor ads and display advertising on the Internet) to non-media (other Internet advertising including searching, social networks or cooperation with influencers plus point-of-sale ads, PR or events) marketing investment ratio remains about the same, i.e. fifty-fifty. More precise figures on non-media investments are expected to be available in spring.

“TV is still the leader among media channels and despite the increasing spend on digital, for the time being there is no risk that the Internet might soon overcome traditional channels on the local market,” said AKA. In price list comparison, TV has grown by 8% year-on-year, i.e. faster than other traditional media types, such as press, radio and outdoor ads. “A comparable growth dynamics is reported by non-media forms of communication, such as promotion events, direct marketing, social networks and content marketing, or consumer competitions,” concluded industry representatives.

In terms of media spend,, Kaufland and Lidl are the three major advertisers of the year again, just their ranking changed compared to the previous year – the two German brick-and-mortar retailers were outperformed by the largest local e-shop. The top 10 of the major media advertisers includes Billa (which spent 65% more on communication than in the previous year) and Internet Mall; apart from traders, the highest ranks were achieved exclusively by food and fast-moving goods producers. “Sazka is the only exception in the top ten. Our effort to find prior years’ champions – mobile operators and banks – in the ranking would have been vain for several years,“ said AKA.

In AKA’s opinion, this year the industry will discuss regulation of alcohol advertising, development of a Professional Communication Platform (refer to below), awareness initiatives against disinformation directed at advertisers, efforts to win support for creative industries from relevant ministries through the Czech Chamber of Commerce and, in a dialogue with clients, market standard innovations, specifically methods and models of agency ratings and orchestration of communication tools which keep growing in number.   

Against Disinformation, for Self-Regulation

“There was a merger of several agencies, which, however, did not include any local investment,” reminded Hlavica the recent mergers between Wunderman and JWThompson to establish Wunderman Thompson and between Young & Rubicam and a digital agency, VML, into a new entity, VMLY&R.

Another shift in the industry was the implementation of technical measures to block ad buying on disinformation webs and informing clients accordingly. “Cutting off these sources from digital ad financing is one of the ways to democracy and our industry declares its support for it,” said Hlavica. AKA as one of three national associations of communications agencies in Europe joined the signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. “The fight with disinformation is monitored by the European Commission to which AKA has to report on its activities in this field on a regular basis,” states AKA, which considers the January conference in the Senate as the initial act to be followed by specific practical steps.

The industry may soon be impacted by the efforts of the Ministry of Health intended to regulate alcohol advertising, specifically to reduce the content of advertisements and the time when they are aired. “What the Ministry endeavours to do now is not a realistic solution to a problem with alcohol in the Czech Republic. Nowhere around the world these activities resulted in what the Ministry strives to achieve,” said Hlavica, Director of AKA. AKA tends to seek self-regulation or other awareness campaigns, such as Not Drinking Is Normal. “Unfortunately, our proposals went unheard,” says Hlavica.  

Alcohol advertising should not show living creatures, thinks the Minister of Health. 

Self-regulation has been applied in the industry in respect of marking commercial activities of influencers operating on social networks who are frequent ad carriers. The above-mentioned Professional Communication Platform was established to associate academic institutions (IKSŽ FSV UK), professional organisations (AKA, APRA) and market entities and start to push for self-regulation of the commercial use of influencers. The purpose is to clearly identify any paid content and differentiate it from the editorial one to comply with effective legislation. “SPIR is working on codification that will go through the approval process in the nearest future,” said Jan Binar from McCann, President of AKA, informing on the progress of their efforts.  

For Better Government tenders, Not Only in Brno

Public administration advertisers investing in information campaigns initiated tenders in the amount of CZK 2 billion last year, which was nearly double the prior year’s amount. “Although the Czech Republic fails to achieve the share of communication tenders in the total market as the developed European countries do, i.e. 15-20%, the shift forward is obvious,” thinks the Association.   

Professional associations of local agencies – both communication (AKA) and those focused on public relations (APRA) – have recently made Brno concerned. “There were no problems before but now, they managed to invite a tender for a creative solution at 100% cost. They even declared that if there were multiple highest bids with the same prices, lots would be cast for the winner,” said Lucie Češpivová from Dorland, Chairwoman of the Czech Independent Agencies Section of AKA, referring to the tender in the amount of CZK 10 million invited in Brno for the selection of an agency to communicate parking changes in the city.

“In the past, AKA cooperated with the Municipal Authority of Brno on certain tender documentation to the satisfaction of both parties. The contracting authority is thus well-informed in AKA’s opinion and its current approach is more than surprising. AKA addressed the Municipal Authority of Brno on 12 December to express its objections and offered methodological assistance in making adjustments to the tender documentation. There was no response from the city. Only after having delivered a reminder, we received a response a day before the deadline. The response by the Head of the Transportation Department of the Municipal Authority of Brno did not satisfy us – far from it. Contrary to the published tender documentation, he declared that the engagement did not contain any creative work,” describes Hlavica, Director of AKA. According to the tender documentation, the future supplier is required to make videos, write for the web and participate in the communication strategy.   

Why Aetna No Longer Wants to Work with Brno

Due to the approach adopted by Brno, the local agency Aetna, one of AKA members, has just decided not to continue their cooperation. Aetna received many prizes for its destination campaign called #BrnoTrueStory, including Effie for the most effective communication in public administration. However, it could not continue even though it was the winner of a tender which was held several months after the agreement between the city and the agency had expired.

“A new agency was not selected due to a legal mistake in the tender documentation. It took the city additional six months to invite a new tender together with lawyers. But the problem is that the tender is the same in fact, just with some cosmetic adjustments. Newly, a minimum amount was set, participants are required to prepare a more precise media plan and the formulation of the need to keep the defined brand book is less strict,” said Roman Šťastný, Aetna’s Executive Manager. “Given its very nature, the tender cannot be fair. And what is more important, time is flying and has no mercy. If the city does not mind to thwart its investment we have to come to terms with it. Fourteen months have elapsed between the agreement termination and the tender deadline. We can see such a critical gap in consistent brand building that there is nearly nothing to continue with. You can’t but start from scratch again. That is what we let other people do. We are so proud of Brno brand book that we wouldn’t change a single thing. We considered it to be a document that would survive and consolidate communication for the years to come – we didn’t mean it to be a template for a one-year campaign.”

“The recent approach of Brno to communication public tenders is unfortunate. Brno acts to its own detriment, i.e. regardless of all the people who are committed to providing the city with professional and effective communication,” highlights AKA.  

“Performance Marketing Got Depleted”

How do industry professionals look at the development of ad spend in future? “I can’t see any downsides. Brexit is a local issue in a way. For the Czech Republic it is an opportunity if we have enough offices. We also need more confidence. What the Netherlands or Scandinavia are able to do that we can manage as well if we want to,” anticipates Petr Chajda, Leader of Dentsu Aegis in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Chairman of the ASMEA Committee (Association of Media Agencies). In retail consumption, Chajda can see advertisers’ optimism in respect of media ad spend. David Čermák from Momentum Praha, Chairman of the Activation Agency Section of AKA, confirms the optimistic outlook, stating that non-media investments will increase by 5-7%, same as last year.

“The conversion cushion of performance marketing got depleted and a brand combat at the storytelling level has just started,” thinks Jan Binar based on discussions with clients. He can feel that advertisers have more courage to take a healthy risk in communication.   

“Brands invest in their values in order to build their positions for less favourable times. The brand value provides producers with more room for manoeuvre at times when sales go down and competition escalates,” adds Hlavica, Director of AKA.

What Agencies Expect from Research

“We as media agencies will bring TV research into a sharp focus,” said Ondřej Novák, Chairman of ASMEA, responding to Médiář’s question. “At the same time, it is obvious that the “non-TV” part of research which is able to reflect the trends of non-linear online video content consumption in measurement (such as timeshifted viewing, HbbTV, IPTV, mobile viewing) will rise in importance. As media agencies, we would like to have consistent and comprehensive video content measurement across platforms and individual devices at hand, i.e. including all quantities that are important for media planning. In terms of technology and methodology, TV research goes full steam ahead of other common currencies and is on the top in Europe.”      

“Unfortunately, it is benchmarked with other currencies – Media Projekt, Radioprojekt and, to some extent, NetMonitor. Their quality is high, they have cutting-edge methodologies (after all, Media Projekt is the longest continuous research ever conducted in the Czech Republic, including sociological surveys; it has been carried out since 1994) but their practical importance for the sector is questionable for various reasons. At least in case of Radioprojekt – although we perceive the changes in ownership taking place on the radio market and we do not play them down – certain (at least ideological) direction to real measurement, which is by far not unusual in Europe, would be worth following.”  

And what about the Internet measuring? “The first problem is the definition of the Internet and what should be measured. Online environment has an essential generic problem – the field of measurement is nearly infinite. An important aspect for agencies is that records should include crucial players – Google, social networks, YouTube. In general, there is an enormous global problem to include these players in measurement just because they don’t need or want to. Even though the playfield is marked out, another issue is what to measure there – display, RTB? Or quantities such as impressions, Internet GRP? It will be complicated to make up measurement that will be helpful for everyone. Prospectively (which I emphasize), we tend to see a possible way out in a platform, such as video content consumption, on which measurements might mingle and industry associations might cooperate because this may be what major players in all positions – media, agencies, advertisers – might need. However, we are not living in an ideal world and there are plenty of business interests.”    



It’s a new decade. Or is it? It depends on how you like your decades. Is the old one finished or is that not until the end of 2020? ‘Who cares you pedantic twat, Clay?’ you might ask.

Fair enough, but 2020 is certainly a good moment to reflect. And why not reflect on some of the myriad myths about TV and TV advertising that still swirl about in industry discourse?

So, here is a handy guide of what to say when people accidentally regurgitate nonsense about TV….

Online advertising is better than TV

Let’s start with one of the oldest chestnuts (not quite as prevalent as it once was, true, but it still makes an appearance.) It should be enough to point out that tonnes of TV advertising is watched online – TV is online advertising. But, if that doesn’t work, pointing out that there is no such thing as online advertising to compare TV to can help. Online advertising is a fruit salad of many forms of marketing investment – including search, email and, the juiciest fruit of all, TV.

TV’s just about brand building

TV is certainly excellent at turning products into brands thanks to its scale and emotional connection with viewers. But TV is a marketer’s Swiss Army knife. Its brand-building blades are razor-sharp, but it has the magnifying glass, the corkscrew, and the tweezers too.

TV is increasingly sophisticated at the bottom end of the purchase funnel, delivering massive short-term impact and innovative data-led solutions (see below). In the first two weeks of a campaign, TV delivers an average of 23% of the media-driven sales, the most of any demand-generating media, according to econometric analysis by Gain Theory, Wavemaker and Mediacom. Only TV’s best mate, online search, does slightly more in the same amount of time. Look at the number of online brands on TV to see how much they value both its brand and activation qualities.

TV advertising is old fashioned

TV is 100% digital. You can watch it and advertise in and around it on any screen in every environment. And that advertising is transforming. I can’t think of many industries that are more vibrant or driving more change than TV advertising. As TV becomes a mass addressable medium, no other addressable video ad offering comes close. TV’s advanced advertising solutions are fuelled by willingly-given first-party data which can be data-matched with advertisers’ own customer data. TV can now surpass other online advertising for targeting, but in a high quality, proven brand-safe environment. And rich contextual tools are giving advertisers access to perfect programming environments: AI is being used to allow DIY retailers to access specific TV episodes where characters are redecorating, for example.

If you still think TV is old fashioned, then perhaps you’ve had too many Old Fashioneds.

TV advertising is pricey

This is all about cost vs. value. Buying a great car may seem pricey, but you get what you pay for. In fact, with TV, you actually get more than you pay for because advertisers only pay for the audience they have bought, but most TV viewing is shared so they get loads of extra viewers thrown in for free (and broad reach is what builds brands). The reverse is true in other online advertising btw; there, advertisers must pay for every exposure, whether they are in-target or not.

The truth is that TV has been incredible value for years. Look at the effectiveness evidence – it delivers 71% of total profit generated by advertising (on 54% of the spend), and it does so at the greatest efficiency (a profit ROI of £4.20), and for the least risk.

TV sometimes suffers because competitors seem cheaper. But there is often a huge gap between perception and reality. Take the respective cost of online video and TV advertising: online video accounts for just 4% of the time people spend watching video advertising yet gets 26% of all video ad spend. TV accounts for 95% of ad viewing but gets 70% of ad spend. Based on ad spend figures from the Advertising Association, the average cost across TV advertising (linear and BVOD) for 30 seconds is just over £6. For non-broadcaster online video, it goes up to £45.

So, the potentially brand unsafe, often small screen, often partially viewable world of online video costs advertisers 7 times more than TV. And that is just the cost – the quantity – it doesn’t consider the vast differences in the quality of the ad exposures, nor the relative effectiveness.

Netflix is replacing TV

Netflix is TV, it just doesn’t offer advertising (yet) or live viewing (yet).

No one can doubt the incredible rise of the subscription streamers, though. But, equally, no one should underestimate the resilience and popularity of the broadcasters. In the UK, Subscription VOD (SVOD) accounts for around 10% of video viewing in total. Broadcaster TV is two thirds of it.

Even the biggest Netflix fans also watch plenty of broadcaster TV – they just love TV generally. And studies by Ofcom and MTM agree that UK broadcasters have a distinct competitive advantage over the global SVOD services because of their expertise in the British content that Brits love.

It might be worth Netflix considering adding a live TV string to its bow as that is part of what drives so much broadcaster viewing. There are needs that watching TV/video satisfies, but some needs are better served by on-demand, some by live TV. For example, on-demand is brilliant for losing ourselves in other worlds. Think Game of Thrones. But on-demand can’t satisfy all the things live TV does, especially our more social/communal needs, which are so important. Think The Great British Bake Off, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Our of Here, or live sport.

Young people don’t watch TV

Yes, Love Island is horribly unpopular, isn’t it? Hardly makes a dent on the front pages.

The fact is that young people do not watch as much linear TV as they once did. But don’t judge their attitude towards TV on just that. That would be like judging Serena Williams by her incredible backhand alone or David Attenborough just by his coverage of penguins. There’s a lot more to it.

Watching TV makes up well over half of 16 – 34 year-old’s video diet, most of it is broadcaster TV, and most of that is watching linear TV. But because an increasing amount of it isn’t linear viewing is why it is now essential that we plan TV advertising across all TV. No advertiser bases performance on high street sales alone; TV shouldn’t be treated any differently.

TV is only for big brands

They often end up big, but they don’t always start that way – over 1,000 advertisers on TV in 2018 spent less than £50k (2019 data isn’t in yet, but the story will be the same). And TV creates the majority of smaller businesses’ advertising-generated sales, some 80% according to Data2Decisions’ client data.

TV supercharges smaller businesses because it creates new customers, which is what needs to happen once the effects of online activation plateau. TV rapidly drives sales, dramatically grows the customer base, increases trust, and creates fame.

The dawn of advanced TV advertising means getting on TV is becoming ever easier for advertisers of all sizes. From Sky’s AdSmart – which has encouraged more than 1,000 businesses to use TV for the first time – to the range of opportunities on the ITV Hub and All4, and funding initiatives such as UKTV Ventures, TV’s increasing flexibility means it is available to businesses of all sizes. They just need to be ready to grow.



Videonet has published detailed accounts about each of the big takeaways from Future TV Advertising Global 2019, and you can see links to those stories at the bottom (click on the original link at the bottom). Here is a summary of our analysis.

No.1: Television is back on the offensive

When it comes to competing for advertising budgets in an increasingly data-driven world, television has been on the back-foot for more than five years. Some people think the ad-supported version of this medium is dying. But it looks like we have already passed peak disruption in markets where media owners are transforming their ad capabilities with better audience segmentation, targeting, attribution and even measurement. This was the first Future TV Advertising event when the determination to win back budget that has shifted to digital was expressed so forcefully and so often, and it feels like the television advertising ‘recovery’ has moved to the next level. The television industry has switched from defence to attack. We need to recognise this moment.

No.2: It’s not a question of if you follow the 60:40 rule, just how you implement it

Nobody is arguing with the conclusions reached by Les Binet (who spoke at the event) and Peter Field in their now-famous effectiveness studies (harnessing the vast resources of the IPA Databank) that you need to spend 60% of budget on brand advertising and 40% on activation to optimise campaign effectiveness (all sector average). Not one person at this event challenged their work – not on the panels, not from the audience. Binet & Field, and others who have supported their findings, have won the argument. There will be a rebalancing of budget which will lead towards more brand spending. The only question is how it will be done – that was the debate at this London conference.

No.3: Addressable TV is coming fast, complementing rather than replacing ‘national’ ads

It was generally accepted that we can expect an addressable TV stampede as more platform owners and broadcasters adopt the technology, and addressable household reach is expanded. But despite the growing interest in addressable, nobody says it will replace mass-market advertising, as some commentators used to. Addressable is viewed as a complement to ‘national’ (i.e. reaches all) advertising. The most important use-case today is to deliver cost-effective incremental reach, including into light television viewers. The main obstacles preventing an addressable TV stampede are cost, complexity and inertia. There is a groundswell of opinion that we need to start standardising on audience segments across markets.

No.4: Unification of broadcast and digital is everything

This will surprise nobody, but the message was often repeated at The Future of TV Advertising Global because it is just so important: the television industry must demonstrate de-duplicated reach and frequency across broadcast TV and digital, and we have to make it easier to plan, buy and report audiences as a whole, spread across every ‘format’, which means digital (including, importantly, connected TV), broadcast and addressable (addressable is now frequently talked about in its own right, despite spanning both TV and digital).

The siloes have to be broken down and it is also clear that on the sell-side, media owners are going to take what practical steps they can, individually, to enable holistic audience planning and buying even while they support wider industry initiatives towards cross-media standardisation. Small and medium steps are being welcomed, given the difficulty with taking giant strides.

No.5: TV is an activation medium, which makes it a uniquely full-funnel offering

We are going to hear a lot about ‘full-funnel’ media in the next 24 months, and it is the TV industry that will be shouting loudest. There are a few reasons for this: Budget spend will be rebalanced towards more brand building by companies who have neglected this task; Television has successfully argued that it is the undisputed champion of long-term, brand-built, value-add; Television already helps to drive activation, but the digital advertising giants have taken the credit for much of it.

Other reasons are: Television is getting better at the direct attribution of outcomes to advertising exposure that allows it to prove its role in activation; The attribution data is becoming available faster, in time to help optimise live campaigns; The technology that enables that improved attribution is going mainstream fast; The tech vendors who are making short-term attribution easier have a realistic, TV-friendly approach to life, so can fit straight into the existing ecosystem.

No.6: The real magic is data-driven, audience-based buying

This event provided a timely reminder that addressable TV is not the only use of audience-based buying. Another key use-case, which is better known in North America than in Europe, is optimised linear buying. In simple terms, you define the audience target against need-state, interests and lifestyle, etc. and you find which homes these people are living in – as with addressable TV. But rather than seek them out on a one-to-one basis using addressable TV (and so exclude homes that are outside your audience segment), you use set-top box data to figure out what channels and shows this audience segment is watching on linear TV, and what times of day they are watching, and then buy standard (national, i.e. reaching everyone) broadcast linear TV where you can find most of this audience at the best prices.

No.7: Agencies do have a future

Every year on the eve of Future TV Advertising Global, an invitation-only Pathfinders gathering addresses some of the hottest topics in advertising. This year it focused on the future of agencies, and it will come as no surprise that leaders at those companies are convinced they have a bright outlook, despite the attentions of brand procurement officers on the one hand and media services consulting firms like Accenture on the other.

One executive summed up the value-add that agencies provide (or should provide) very neatly: They are the guardians of effectiveness for client campaigns across the whole communications ecosystem; Agencies can look at the holistic picture, working out how best to use the different media and media owners together; Agencies are the guardians of balancing the long-term and short-term goals of their clients; They are the guardians of client spend, making sure that it goes where the audiences are.



Television and radio broadcasters are planning collaboration on intersecting topics.

There will be a structural change in the Association of Independent Radio and Television Stations (ANRTS) at the beginning of 2020. While television and radio stations are planning to continue collaborating on all relevant media topics, in the future there will be various formal institutions representing both types of media. Commercial television stations decided to establish an independent Association of Television Broadcasters, whose founding members include Markíza-Slovakia, s.r.o., Mac TV, s.r.o. a C.E.N., s.r.o., similar to the Association of Commercial Television (AKTV) in the Czech Republic.

The departure of television broadcast operators from ANRTS occurred by mutual agreement and with the understanding that these media types – television and radio – need to focus on their own development and legislature. Both audiovisual media groups, however, remain in close contact and will support each other in their mutual interests within the scope of media sphere.

The Association of television broadcasters intends to focus upon the legislation of television broadcasting, copyrights, and the formation of a Slovak television market so that these processes are in compliance with European audiovisual legislature. Additionally, it will promote a correct market environment in Slovakia and free economic competition. One of the Association’s key goals remains protection of free speech and free spread of information via television broadcasting. The Association is also planning a close coordination with its Czech partners.

“The Association of Television Broadcasters has a lot of work ahead, but also visions which will guide us to a future meaningful development of television broadcasting. Today nobody doubts that television as a medium is changing and provides many options to choose from. To be able to do that it needs not only energy and investments but, most of all, good legislature and a transparent space to implement its plans,” said Marcel Grega, JOJ Group’s CEO and President of ANRTS.

“Private radio will continue in protecting its interests via the existing Association and we are ready to continue mutual constructive collaboration in the areas that connect us and in which we see mutual interest,” said Ivan Antala, CEO of Radio Express and Vice-President of ANRTS’s Radio section.



Media buying has traditionally been about blending ingredients together for the perfect marketing mix. But with so many new channels and such fragmented audiences, this age-old recipe is rapidly becoming more difficult to follow. So, what’s to be done?

 The age of total video

TV is complicated these days. In just one household, a family could be watching live TV, streaming, watching downloads and checking out highlights online – all at the same time. They might be using a second screen to chat with friends, play games or send emails too. And of course, this might all be happening on different devices, inside the house and on the go.

TV is evolving with the times and people are watching in myriad ways. It’s digital, it’s on every device – and it’s not held back by a schedule. The rise in online and on-demand video has been stratospheric across Europe: a 2019 report from the European Commission shows four in 10 have a TV and/or film subscription. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, revenues from Pay TV and paid VOD (video on demand) rose by 14% to around €4bn in 2018. This is forecast to grow another 13% this year to €4.5bn. Meanwhile, 42% of Internet users in France watch online video content every day, with this rising to 53% in Spain.

This is the age of total video.

Young people love ‘TV’

The reality is that TV is evolving and should be seen as total video. The lines are blurring when you define what it is, from traditional linear broadcast TV, live streaming or VoD. It doesn’t matter what you call it, TV can now be any kind of video content.

The European Commission’s report finds that an enormous 86% of Internet users aged 15–24 say they have streamed or downloaded film and TV content in the last year, alongside 72% of those aged 25–39. As these young people grow up, marketers will need to focus on them as they become the key demographic with purchasing power.

In the UK, OTT services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV are increasingly popular, with the new Disney+ slated to be available from November 2019, which will only add to the competitiveness (and the revenues) of this marketplace. There is a clear shift from viewing video content on actual TV sets to watching it on multiple platforms and devices.

We consumers live in the golden age of television. But for marketers, it can be overwhelming. An increasingly fragmented video landscape and novel watching behaviours across devices are prompting marketers to endlessly (and exhaustingly) question and reevaluate their media spend.

Europe leads the way on innovation

The main thing to remember, however, is that it’s a golden age of video for marketers, too.

Of course, with cross-device viewing behaviours, video campaigns must be cross-device too. This requires meticulous planning and a profound understanding of viewing behaviours. But there has never been more insight into viewing patterns which can be used to plan and design campaigns, from the creatives to the messaging. With algorithms to tailor content for consumers, marketers also get a look in at individual preferences and can use this to personalise and deliver the best brand experiences they can.

The market is still adapting to this new total video cross-device reality. Measurement is moving forward in order to cater for all four screens (TV, desktop, smartphone, tablet), but we are still far from having an ideal unified currency to measure all formats.

A simple solution to a multifaceted problem

To solve the headache of cross-device campaigns, marketers should have one unique source to plan, buy and optimise campaigns across all channels, allowing them to deliver what consumers want in a more effective and simple manner. That way, businesses are uniquely positioned to benefit from the era of total video, from new ways of buying and selling video inventory internationally, and from new TV formats which allow them to truly connect with consumers and compete with tech giants. That means less time planning and buying across markets, less spend on creating a different campaign for each market, and therefore more time and money for optimising and tailoring campaigns.

This is what EBX (European Broadcaster Exchange) is doing: addressing the demand for quality online video campaigns at scale, by providing an automated and data-driven way to plan, buy and sell inventory across Europe. It is the biggest European broadcaster exchange, the result of a joint venture founded by Mediaset (Italy and Spain), ProSiebenSat.1 Media (Germany), TF1 Group (France) and Channel 4 (United Kingdom), which together are working to simplify the world of premium video.

TV is increasingly cross-border with new ways of watching appearing every day – each of which represents a new way for brands to connect with new customers. But the digitisation and fragmentation of the media landscape doesn’t have to be a headache. Marketers just need a new recipe book to ensure they are getting the most out of the golden age of TV, just like their customers are. The key ingredients are an understanding of the shifts in consumer trends and all-purpose tools to reach target audiences segments effectively, no matter when, where or how they are getting their telly.



Content abounds on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. But when viewers are faced with too many choices of what to watch, some end up tuning out. 

That’s the main finding from Nielsen’s Total Audience Report from the first quarter of 2019. What some have dubbed the golden age of TV led to 495 original scripted programs across various TV platforms in 2018, per AdAge, but all of these choices might be paralyzing viewers.

Viewers spend just over 7 minutes browsing a streaming service for something to watch, per Axios. Younger adults — those between 18 and 49 — spend 8 to 10 minutes looking for something before calling it quits, whereas older adults give it just 5 minutes. Just over 20 percent who go in unsure of what they want to watch wind up giving up and tuning out, per Nielsen. 

Uncertainty plus too much choice ends up turning many viewers off: Almost 60 percent reported being more likely to go back to favored traditional TV channels if they don’t know what they want to watch via a streaming service. 

Plus, only one-third of adults find the content menus — where content is sorted by category and algorithms are used to make suggestions to viewers — helpful when it comes to figuring out what to watch.

“Content discovery…is crucial to consumers in an era when they’re inundated with ads and content,” Peter Katsingris, Nielsen’s SVP of audience insights, is quoted in the report, per The Drum. “Conversely, these same consumers are connecting to this fragmented content at unparalleled rates — well over 11 hours each day across screens and devices.”

The findings support what researchers have observed when it comes to choice, which is that when faced with too many choices, we revert to what’s familiar. We think we like choices, but too many options leaves us stressed trying to make a decision. 

Seven in 10 homes have a subscription video on demand service, per Nielsen, and more than 70 percent use streaming-capable TV devices. Video viewing through TV-connected devices has increased by 8 minutes per day, reports Deadline.

Axios points out these findings come as even more companies get into the streaming game. Disney is set to launch its streaming service, Disney+, which will offer Disney, Marvel and Star Wars films, and Apple has announced its forthcoming Apple TV+ streaming service, joining Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and ESPN+.

Some hope to grab viewers by boasting exclusive rights to a beloved show, like NBCUniversal taking “The Office” and WarnerMedia announcing its HBO Max will have every episode of “Friends.”

For those who do know what they want to watch, it can be frustrating to manage the subscriptions needed to watch the shows or content they’re interested in, especially as content arrives and disappears from certain platforms, NPR reports. Some experts believe the best streaming services will rise to the top in the next few years, whittling down the competition. 

Nielsen notes streaming companies might want to refine recommendations and update content menus to better appeal to users. 

Media research data indicates people will spend a total of about $38 a month on streaming services, per the Wall Street Journal


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