I was locked into a TV studio overlooking the Thames last week with Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of RTL Group and Charlie Crowe, CEO of C Squared. Charlie was grilling us on the future of TV for a MediaCom webcast.
We had a lot to talk about as we obviously live in interesting times as far as TV goes. On the one hand the power of television content is unquestionable – Saturday night still generates huge audiences on ITV. TV programmes are still water cooler discussion points. Social media (against many pundits predictions) has proved a way of strengthening live TV viewing not detracting from it. The use of smart phones and laptops whilst watching TV turns TV ads into a new point of sale.
On the other hand new generations are growing into the mass market with different ways of watching TV. The supremacy of traditional channels may come to be challenged by younger audiences who don’t revere the top 5 channels in the way the adult mass market has been brought up to do. And while it is true that whilst some programmes (such as X Factor) drive live viewing, other types of programme (for instance Skins) are more likely to be watched on laptops, mobiles and through catch up.
Gerhard Zeiler acknowledged that changes in how people choose to consume content are inevitable. He said last week “”We have to deliver our brands to wherever people want to watch them…. we need a measurement system that will cover every way of consuming content in every country.”
The development of a measurement system fit for this purpose will only enhance our ability to put commercials in front of the consumer at the right time for the right price. How long will we have to wait for it?