The five-part shortform series presents interviews conducted by Mediaweek editor-in-chief James Manning.
Each episode features a key player in the TV sector who shares insights about the latest trends in the sector from changing viewing habits to advertising business models. The guests have been brought together to discuss challenges, opportunities and the transformation of the TV landscape.
The second episode of Behind the Screens features Mark Frain from Foxtel Media and Nick Thomas from EssenceMediacom.
Guests across the rest of the series also feature executives from Nine, Seven, Paramount ANZ, the IAB and Samsung Ads.
In the first episode Cathy Oh, VP & global head of marketing Samsung Ads, spoke about how technology is driving viewing behaviours, the future of connected TV advertising and key questions for marketers.
Here are the highlights from the episode with Mark Frain, CEO Foxtel Media, and Nick Thomas, chief investment officer at EssenceMediacom Australia.
We’re calling this episode Do I Have Your Attention? There’s a lot of talk about attention. How important a metric is it?
Mark Frain: I think attention’s starting to become almost the key proxy for a good advertising experience and then ultimately linking that to brand outcomes.
So, attention’s brought together a great platform, great content, great context and all of the ad rules that come with that into one metric.
I think from a buyer’s perspective and the client’s perspective, they can start to look at a whole bunch of different video options and have a metric of which one’s the most impactful.
Nick Thomas: From our perspective, we want to break through for clients and if you think about breaking through, attention’s just a proxy for engagement. But it’s probably the closest metric we’ve now got to driving outcomes for clients.
Mark Frain will tell you that TV has 15 times the attention of Facebook, more attention than YouTube – Nick, do you concur with that?
Nick Thomas: I think when it comes to attention, there’s never going to be a level playing field. We’re never going to have a common currency when it comes to attention. I think it’s going to be really hard to crack that. It makes sense when you think about it that some platforms are going to have a higher attention score.
You look at Foxtel versus linear, Foxtel’s got a lower ad load, it’s more leaned in, it’s a better user experience. So I think agencies already knew that. Attention just now puts some proof behind those assumptions that we’ve already made.
Mark Frain: I think from our perspective, Foxtel, since its inception, always ran half the ad load versus other television networks. We’ve never really had a clear metric to prove whether that is more impactful, or to Nick’s point, more engaging.
And attention’s allowed us to do that. It’s also allowed us to plan for new models. I mean, we’ve spoken a lot in the past around the introduction of advertising onto Binge. Binge has launched successfully on every metric and attention played a large part in the actual planning of that.
So it’s a defining factor for us and there’s no question it’s here to stay.
Has ad load and viewability always been a factor or is it more important now? And does that sit inside what we call attention?
Nick Thomas: In the early days of buying TV, position in break, that’s what agencies were trying to do. Always we have been trying to capture attention to buying engagement and that’s never going to change.
Are things like first and last in a break still important?
Mark Frain: First and last are still important but you go up a level first and a piece of content that’s only got three or four minutes of ads running in it, so it’s Succession or something on Binge compared to 14 minutes on a different platform.
Common sense would suggest there’s going to be way more impact of engagement there, but attention is finally proving that.
We look at our business now and we’ve got this currency of average audience of a piece of content or a show or a season.
I wonder in two years are we actually going to be talking about the average audience of a show? I think we’re more likely to be talking about the number of stream minutes, the unique users of that kind of content, the number of stream starts. We’re still kind of holding on to a lot of those traditional metrics of the success of content.
Yet, the streaming platforms like Kayo, Binge, Amazon, etc have got a whole bunch of different metrics of success for their content and I don’t think in the advertising industry has fully caught up to those new metrics yet.
So it’s going to go through some changes, no doubt.
Nick Thomas: I think what’s just happened is that TV’s gone through evolution. It’s not like they were behind. It’s just that we’ve now got the data and we’ve now got the technology to measure things in a different and probably more digitised way.
Mark Frain: Quite a genuine point. The success of Foxtel’s audience is currently measured by a 2000 home panel. It’s just kind of been the same for the last five or 10 years.
We’ve got a million set-top boxes and if you’re a client and go, actually, could you give us more information using the million rather than the 2000? In this day and age, I think clients want to see that.
Nick Thomas: We’re not just talking about demographics and interests. We want to go really deep on audiences to understand their behaviours. So when we can start getting access to that, I think that’s where we’re going to start seeing the way that agencies trade and talk to clients really change.
You can watch the video and listen to the podcast of Behind the Screens powered by Samsung Ads.