Recent reports show that less and less people are watching TV and subsequently paying for the TV licensing fee. An IBM consumer survey on digital media and entertainment habits found that 19 per cent of people spend on average six or more hours online for personal usage. Only nine per cent of those interviewed said they watch TV for six or more hours a day. Although the difference may not seem huge, it’s the start of a new entertainment consumer trend. 

By Oana Baetica 

So what does that mean for technical marketing and advertising? As more people choose to watch their programmes online or on demand, they’re making a conscious effort to not be interrupted by adverts.

By deferring their attention from the TV set to the laptop, tablet or smartphone/computer-ma-bob screen, traditional media audiences are presenting marketers with more and more challenges. 

Advertising against those much valued, and heftily priced, evening slots may not be the way forward for consumer ad campaigns. Marketers have the increasingly difficult task of painting an accurate picture of their demographic and responding to it with targeted ads.

Live sporting events are some of the few TV programmes that are still well liked by audiences, which makes the advertising space against them very popular and – inevitably - very expensive.

Similarly, other event-type productions such as Celebrity Big Brother, X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing are still watched live. The main reason for it is that people want to feel engaged and become a part of a greater TV audience-community. 

But even when they do it, they keep one eye on the TV screen and the other on... the second-screen device. The TV programme and the meta-textual social media communications it initiates are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most often they run in parallel.

Understanding this trend may allow companies to advertise more effectively. Better results could be achieved not just by integrating a televised ad between two sections of your favourite talent show, but also by taking advertising during TV breaks to the land of social media. This might be a more fruitful way to capture the attention of millions of multitasking second screen users.

The future of television and ads during programme brakes is uncertain, but observing audience habits and understanding the social media conversation patterns is crucial. The popularity of Internet broadcasts and digital TV is quickly surpassing that of the TV set. And although my telly is still safe and sound in the lounge, it’s frequently taken over by Internet shows with very little breaks and ad distractions.

Taking this observation into the realm of technical PR, I would conclude that interruptive marketing and advertising tactics are working less and less for companies. Instead, what audiences are demanding is the option to make their own decisions about what to watch, read or listen to.

As a result of this trend, companies should focus more on making diverse, relevant and easily-accessible content available to their audiences. It’s a little bit like going to a restaurant and having your own personal chef cook whatever your heart desires. Much better than being told what to order!

"Image courtesy of artur84 /".

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