It’s a whole new throne game

From our July/August issue, publisher Mary Maddever on the contemporary battles for eyeballs and ad dollars.

In Canada, PwC pegged 2013 as the year internet ad revenue beat TV. But it’s complicated. The internet spend includes digital ad revenue from TV, newspapers and other traditional media’s online platforms, so it’s indicative of ad dollars following audiences online rather than digital media cos solely usurping the throne.

Despite the long ramp up, it’s still rocking a few worlds. A big chunk of the digital growth trajectory is video and mobile. So the digital native companies are heavily investing in original video content and making big content partnership deals – like Yahoo!’s concert-a-day streaming deal with Live Nation (see here). The traditional media companies are also investing more in digitally-led video content, and everyone’s buying up smaller digital-native media brands.

No wonder the online players are making mainstream noise. During the NewFronts in New York, I saw OOH and taxi ads for YouTube channels.

So wooing viewers (and advertisers) keeps getting harder. And it seems like all media content companies are converging into one big competitive space. This begs the question: how will all this content be supported, and how will media brands be differentiated? But the new digital hangout space does play nicely into advertisers’ big data desires. Precision targeting and analytics? The online video section shows digital’s got that.

Yet we love our TV and newspapers in their non-digital modes as well, so a way to accurately track consumers across evolving mediums (see here) is needed to make it easier for marketers to see how aspects of integrated campaigns work in tandem. Getting better TV ad-viewing intel has also been hotly debated – commercial ratings, cross-platform uniform results, addressability.

But despite metrics angst and streaming competition, the nets showed up at the Fall TV Upfronts with their game faces on, rolling out battle plans to woo the self-programming binge-addicted audience. Here’s the gist: new shows in shorter bursts and repeats kicked to the curb; more live episode-viewing options to increase the odds of amassing audience; sorting digital rights and investing in inventory to satisfy binge-hooked viewers; embracing mobile viewing and promoting Go apps; mobile-first investment in short-form originals; exploring interactive storytelling.

Ultimately, to keep Canadian media companies relevant in the global content world, the converged audience needs to be equally valued – whether it’s live or digital and delayed. It’s crucial to the industries’ mutual survival. After all, Canadian marketing departments need strong media partners to drive the value of local programs.

Plus, with our over-indexing web habits, we must be a very useful beta market for figuring out the converged future.

Cheers, mm

Image via Shutterstock