At MI we care about Accelerating Growth. It’s an objective we strive to achieve for every client, both sustainably over time as well as by delivering immediate impact on campaigns and projects. Whether it’s by using our sharp marketing insight, smart media innovation or real time management intelligence (the three key pillars of MI Media), Accelerating Growth is where we want to take our clients by truly understanding their business and their goals. But it goes further than this; it’s not only about what we do for our clients, but also the growth of our people, investing in them to be the best they can.  

Supporting us with our Accelerate Growth journey is the learning we absorb from other innovators and specialists in the industry. Whether its brands, creatives, specialist agencies or media owners, we are constantly inspired by the people around us who are finding new and exciting ways to engage consumers. 

Coined at MI as “JanuAVry”, this month we focused on drilling down into this ever-evolving AV landscape by welcoming key media owners Sky, Channel 4 and ITV in to speak to our teams. We wanted to understand what they are doing to reach existing and new audiences both via traditional linear TV and creatively across their digital streaming channels. We also had the team at Thinkbox in to present their research around how audiences behave in this ‘evolving world’, helping us to connect the dots.

What is the AV challenge 

The digitisation of traditional TV is biggest thing on our minds as we start 2024 – how can we purposefully plan, buy and measure? Everyone we speak to, whether it’s marketers, media owners or other agencies, is looking at the ‘AV challenge’ and are finding it a difficult one to solve.  

It’s our job, as media experts, to navigate the changing behaviour of consumers, to ensure that no matter the channel we engage using relevant ads, in the right contextual environment to make an impact, whilst maintaining brand integrity. 

However, we are all at different stages of our understanding. linear TV, live programming, streaming, YouTube, CTV, BVOD, AVOD – the potential options are endless. It’s not just the channels themselves, but the creative formats available, the audience attention in channel, the demographics across platform, the content itself and the cross-channel measurement. 

Key insights from some of the UK’s leading media owners 

The major TV companies were slow off the mark with digital innovation. Thankfully that is now changing, driven by audience diversification and traditional TV audiences dwindling, especially in the under 45’s.  

Sky is centred around audiences and measurement, meaning it’s better for targeting across its AV solutions, connecting the dots to create fully rounded campaigns. Sky knows its target audiences based on Sky analytics and the vast amount of data it captures. The team highlighted that categories such as sport are undeniably bigger than ever and Sky has invested heavily in supercharging women’s sport as it continues to gain great popularity. It measured that nearly half of adults watch Sky VOD, with 89% of VOD being watched on the big screen. When delivering for clients, Sky’s measurement is based on viewers seeing at least 75% of the TV spot before it’s measured as being delivered, which shows a level of transparency and ensures accurate and effective results for clients. 

ITV has really put emphasis on creativity, for example its Planet V booking platform is opening up a more sophisticated understanding around audience habits and lifestyle. The adoption of AI technology has assisted in producing interesting and useful data so that ITV can be smarter with targeting, such as matching ads to viewer emotions linked to shows. Similar to the trends we saw with Sky, ITV’s VOD service “ITVX” is dominated by the big screen. The ITV Adlab team is focused on driving innovative ideas for marketers and is always looking to see if it can offer something different. With the launch of the ITVBe studio, it has opened up new avenues for brands looking for creativity and partnerships. 

Channel 4’s core focus on quality content helps to justify it on client plans. With smarter targeting options in the pipeline, we can start to make those smarter cross-media decisions. C4 has plenty of creative solutions to offer with Dynamic TV allowing ads to be tailored to anything from the weather to the time of day. Its Ad Pause functionality encourages audience engagement using interactive static images which occasionally include QR codes or competition initiatives. It has several interesting initiatives on the way including postcode targeting, 24 hour high priority campaign boosts for VOD as well as investment into its measurement and research team. 

Thinkbox naturally concentrated on the positives around TV. There is no doubt that good advertising encompasses more than one of our senses. Some of the videos they showed us highlighted the correlation between audio and visual cues in engaging audiences who are passively watching TV whilst doing something else (on their phones for example). That means that creative strategy is crucial. We are working very closely with our clients, in collaboration with their creative agencies, to understand the behaviour of their target audiences, to ensure media strategy and creative execution are pulling in the same direction. At MI we are also focused on testing Attention Metrics with Lumen as a consistent measurement that can be applied across a significant amount of channels on the media plan. 

It’s not just TV that’s been affected and influenced by changes in consumer behaviour. What’s clear is that being ahead of the curve from a data perspective is crucial to determining what works best for clients to make their media work hard and effectively. Look out for more to come from us on the topic of the changing AV landscape and cross channel media. 

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