Is the golden age of TV advertising over?

24 November

I don’t think so. I think if you’d asked me a few years ago, I’d probably have said yes to that. But I think TV advertising is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment, and the money being spent on it is increasing – although it’s still not the same as online. TV advertising is on the rise compared to newspapers or radio.

But you also need to look at trends within television, and the changing way that people are watching, with Netflix and Amazon and so on. To speculate slightly, online television creates opportunities for more behaviourally-targeted ads. In fact many big tech companies have patents logged to use cameras to watch our living rooms, items in it and, ahem, what we do. Although this might sound unlikely, consider the debacle from Samsung last year when the privacy policy of their voice-activated television was found to be sending other audio data to a third-party.

So, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll see TV advertising become more like online advertising. The difference is that behaviourally targeted ads are based on the person watching versus traditional techniques where ad slots are bought in relation to the content being screened (with assumptions made about the types of viewer). We really can’t ignore the fact that increasingly TV will go online, but it will be interesting to see how this impacts on the big annual ritualistic ads such as the John Lewis ads and so on.

Andrew McStay is the author of Digital Advertising, now in its second edition.

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