Danielle McWilliam: If 20+ million viewers is a ‘problem’, I’ll take it

thinktv watching tablet stock - Ipsos

“TV will continue to be beat on, but the truth is, it’s not lying down.”

By Danielle McWilliam, Head of CX at ThinkTV

It’s rare that a week passes where there isn’t a headline proclaiming TV has a “problem”.

The thing is, I think someone forgot to tell the 20+ million people who tuned in last week.

It’s become a sport to slag off TV, with some media reports comparing its current state to the challenges once faced by newspapers and currently impacting magazines.

There’s no denying the television landscape has changed dramatically. In my 18 years in the industry, I’ve had a front-row seat to the shift.

It doesn’t matter what facts, figures or proof is presented. TV will continue to be beat on. But the truth is, it’s not lying down. Television has been fighting back by evolving to cater for the way audiences are now consuming video content.

The first, and ongoing, major evolution for TV is Total TV. Those 20+ million Australians who watched TV last week did so in a variety of ways from the much-loved and still highly regarded big screen TV in the living room to tablets, laptops and mobile phones.

The shift from focusing purely on linear TV to Total TV recognises this.

Today’s audiences don’t make the distinction between linear TV on the big screen in the living room or Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD) on the phone in their hand. It’s all just TV. And smart advertisers don’t make the distinction either, planning campaigns that take advantage of everything Total TV has to offer.

The second major evolution for TV is VOZ. OzTAM has been working on creating a world-leading gold standard measurement of TV audiences across whatever device people choose to watch it.

Yes, it’s taken a while, but unlike other media platforms that shall remain nameless, accuracy is important to Australia’s TV broadcasters. Therefore, time is needed to ensure VOZ delivers the most robust and reliable data. And it’s worth bearing in mind that VOZ is among the world’s leading Total TV measurement offerings, surging ahead of many other markets.

We’ve also seen broadcasters respond rapidly to Australian viewing trends and habits with the introduction of BVOD and FAST channels that bring audiences their favourite programs while helping to overcome the challenge of deciding what to watch.

Additionally, last month, Paramount rebranded its multichannel 10 Shake to the Nickelodeon channel bringing families across Australia a free suite of Nickelodeon content for the first time on free-to-air linear television.

And it’s not just audiences TV is innovating for. Advertisers are seeing an evolution in the way they advertise on the medium.

For example, last year Seven launched 7Connect which enables advertisers to simultaneously place one television commercial at the same time in all capital cities and regional markets, plus parallel placements across 7plus and 7news.com.au. It is part of Seven’s commitment to total video trading for commercial partners and brands.

And Nine recently launched its Nine Ad Manager, a self-serve advertising tech platform that utilises artificial intelligence. For the first time, Australian small to medium-sized businesses will have the ability to build video creative and buy targeted video advertising on 9Now.

As the ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate has said many times, TV isn’t dying. It’s having babies.

The funny thing is, this rhetoric has very little impact on the way media agencies and clients perceive TV. 

One media agency CEO went so far as to call it “clickbait” noting that headlines of this nature are, “Intriguing. They generate commentary from clients. But we’re not changing anything that we do today this week or in the next few months based on them.”

If 20+ million viewers in a week is a “problem”, I’ll take it.

And I’d hazard a guess every other medium in Australia would kill to have that kind of attention.

To Top