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A local outlook on the future of TV advertising

Stuart Bryan
By Stuart Bryan  //  Wed 15th May 2013
It’s said that of most appeal to an advertiser is the ability to target. Key to the developmental process of creating a TV advertising campaign is the minimization of wastage and the maximization of response rates. In short, cost-efficiency is, for most of the UK’s 4.8 million small to medium-sized businesses, the crux of any marketing objective.

The advent of digital television and the subsequent proliferation of multichannel choice have engendered a fragmentation of the collective UK TV audience. There are now hundreds of television channels specializing in the airing of content centered on distinct cultural interests and values; catering for niche audience demographics and identifiable customer bases. TV has become the go-to medium for highly targeted marketing objectives.

Whilst TV advertising would have been a mere pipedream for small business owners at the turn of the millennium, new digital technologies have – and continue to – cut swathes through the myth of television being a plaything for the national heavyweights of retail and finance. Quite to the contrary, our experience suggests that the planning and buying of targeted TV spots has never been so flexible, penetrative and, perhaps most importantly, affordable.

One facet of the industry that has been heavily involved in the onset of this TV revolution is the local platform, though its effectiveness has been limited. Whilst ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have facilitated businesses with advertising platforms providing a route through to local television audiences, smaller, hyper-localized businesses have often found these pre-existing regional frameworks to be too rigid and too broad, with wastage still a costly issue.

Cue Sky Adsmart. Here is a concept that will essentially transform a Sky customer’s set-top box into an advertising server, which ultimately makes said viewer targetable on an addressable level. How does that work, you may well ask? Well, Sky has asked set-top box users to share a few details about themselves.  Information detailing age, postcode, housing and occupation will then be stored and segmented into a database of over 90 audience profiles. Each profile can then be activated through a code inserted into a live TV advertising break, triggering adverts identified as relevant to the specific audience.

With the Sky Sports and Movies networks, as well as Pick TV, Sky1 and Sky Arts, set to host the Adsmart platform upon its inception later this year, brands signing up as advertising partners will be given the capacity to reach highly specific audience bases by myriad criteria, allowing for the implementation of optimized direct response TV campaigns on a level unprecedented in its relevance to the heart of both communal and individual points of interest.

As for Guerillascope and other independent TV advertising agencies, such technological innovations have the potential to explode the restrictions currently permeating the planning and buying process. The dismantling of unbending audience groups and rigid regional outlines will usher in a malleability that, as a by-product, will foster a greater level of accuracy in the targeting of specific audience groups and, ultimately, the cost-efficiency needed for small businesses to engineer a profitable return on their venture.

The future of TV advertising is rooted in its strengths as a targetable medium. With online television platforms already utilizing technology that pinpoints user activity and browsing habits, it was always going to be a matter of time before its cohort, linear TV, headed towards a similar path.

The parameters that once distinguished TV and Online as two distinct and wholly different media platforms have blurred to a faint smudge, as brands place a greater emphasis on multiplatform, integrated advertising strategies geared for enhancing targeted engagement. The two mediums have become so entwined within one another that they’re now both key contributors to the other’s continuing growth.

With time and space no longer representing insurmountable barriers to communication, conceptions such as Sky Adsmart have the capacity to recodify the dynamic between small businesses and the TV viewer forever.

View Guerillascope's opportunities on getmemedia.com here
A local outlook on the future of TV advertising
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