Monday, August 7, 2017

Question of the week: Is TV advertising a thing of the past?

Well, obviously not. 

If it were a thing of the past, then nobody would be making them anymore. And if nobody made TV ads anymore, then we’d have no longer have the satisfaction of forwarding through them when watching a recorded program on our DVRs.

Plus, if we’re being really honest, the Super Bowl would be boring. Wardrobe malfunctions notwithstanding.

But it’s a valid question. 

Because with the nearly constant bombardment of advertising on the internet and through social media, it might seem like TV ads are a thing of the past. A pointless waste of time even. Especially given the aforementioned fast forward function.

Here’s the reality. 

TV advertising is not yet a thing of the past, because people continue to watch traditional television. 

Is it going the way of dinosaurs and parachute pants though? Right now in 2017, TV ad spending has definitely lessened. There are a number of reasons for this. 

  • It’s threatened by streaming services where any program can be watched ad-free at the push of a button (or two). 
  • Audiences aren’t as interested in glitzy reality TV and show-stopping award programs as they once were. 
  • Advertisers are uncertain about national policy at the moment since the White House has redefined the word “chaos.” 

But TV advertising is not dead. Not yet, at least. Because here’s where it has an advantage:

Digital media has a marked lack of transparency.

Advertisers are growing more and more frustrated when their ads pop up next to potentially offensive content on YouTube, for example. Or they feel less likely to trust Facebook when it inadvertently undercounts views of video ads. Which it did last year in 2016.

Advertisers want high-quality content. Like the kind that’s been backed by a third-party measurement system that has been in place for decades. You know, like the kind that you find on good old regular TV. 

These days, the only thing one needs to do is to link a brand to controversial content to generate massive approval on social media. Boom. Done. It’s that simple. So there’s something to be said about programming one can trust. In this regard, and to some extent, TV is still a safe haven for advertising. But times are ALWAYS changing. 

And to be honest, the future for TV advertising looks dim. 

Really dim. If only it were as clearcut as simply adjusting the UHF and VHF knobs…