Three Ways Broadcast Advertising Will Change, Even as Advertisers Hang On

Perhaps the most surprising news around the current broadcast landscape is not what has changed in television advertising, but what remains the same. Despite rampant cord cutting, rapidly shifting viewer habits and a burgeoning digital media market, broadcast networks are still drawing advertisers who are seeking to reach a large audience in a reliable format.

While access to a still-immense network television audience remains irresistible to mass advertisers, the days of traditional broadcast ad buys are numbered. As digital platforms continue to nip away at television audiences and brands seek to maximize their network ad buys, here are three ways broadcast advertising will need to change over the coming year.

Meet Millennial Viewing Habits

It’s no secret that Baby Boomers are keeping broadcast networks afloat, with the median television viewer age ranging from 46-59. But Millennials are driving a different platform for engagement. Nielsen’s 2017 Millennials on Millennials report recognizes that screens outside of the TV are much more valuable to Millennials and that TV Connected devices offer up four times the percentage of Millennials video time than other older generations. As a result, the survey finds that Millennials spend about 27% less time watching traditional TV.

In order to maintain relevancy, networks need to adjust broadcasting norms and advertising approach to fit the viewing habits of younger crowds who favor Netflix, multiple devices and digital streaming. By meeting them where they watch and with content they are willing to engage with, advertisers will have a better opportunity of building brand awareness and loyalty, rather than pushing this generation away.

Combat Distracted Viewing

Multi-tasking during commercials is not a new phenomenon. The commercial break has always been, well, a break. However, as we’ve become more inseparable from our devices and social networks, distracted watching has soared across demographics. Increased distractions mean less advertising impact – particularly for Millennials who have an average memorability of 38%, 10 percentage points below Gen X viewers (48%).

Studies have shown that branding viewed directly within content can help increase memorability and ad effectiveness when combined with TVC. Whether inserted digitally via native in-video advertising (NIVA) or via traditional product placement, even brief exposure to branding within content acts as a subconscious prime for the viewer – making them more inclined to tune into the commercial.

Begin and End with Content

There is no denying the fact that we are in an era of declining ratings, led by fragmented audiences holding a love affair with binge watching. Advertisers will have to change their upfront buying strategies, informing buys less by network or day part and more by the content and specific programming.

In order to support this shift toward content specific buying, networks will have to adopt a more programmatic marketplace in lieu of the upfront and scatter buying style still favored.


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