George Shababb – 2020: Advertising Comes of Age

George Shababb, President, Kantar Media Audiences

The ongoing proliferation of digital technologies has and will no doubt continue to reshape the environment in which people consume video and advertising content.  Today people have more choices than ever before . . .  we have more channels to choose from, we can watch what we want on our own schedules, we can choose to watch using more devices (be they TV’s, tablets or smartphones) . . . and we have more choice over the types of video services we subscribe to  . . . be they cable, satellite, or Telco. We can even choose to bypass pay TV operators all together and use “over the top” services such as Hulu and Netflix.

Despite all the choices consumers have today, we believe that television will remain the “super-medium” – the medium around which all others will revolve. Why?

First, the quality of the television viewing experience itself will continue to evolve with improved picture quality, improved navigation features and most importantly, the ability for consumers to become a part of the conversation through social media, Twitter and Facebook, empowering them to not only influence but in fact, become part of the programming itself. By 2020 consumers will have shed their long standing status as mere “couch potatoes” and will become fully active participants in the viewing experience.

These advancements will keep television at the forefront as the medium of choice for consumers, and thus the most effective way for marketers to reach large audiences.

Second, today’s TV ad interruption model will evolve to become relevant to who and where we are through the emergence of addressable and interactive advertising. These new advertising models will enable marketers to better reach and engage the consumers who have the greatest interest in and need for their products and services.

Third, the days of merchant John Wanamaker’s famous lament –“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” – will be over for TV in 2020. New “big data” analytics based on return path data (RPD) will bring transparency and new insights into how consumers watch or don’t watch TV advertising, providing marketers a level of financial accountability previously unattainable with traditional TV audience measurement methods. And while TV advertising will still remain dominant in 2020, it can and will have to sing for its supper to maintain its dominance over other forms of advertising.

While TV will still dominate brand advertising, and will account for approximately 50 percent of global ad spending in 2020, marketers cannot ignore digital advertising.  Digital advertising will continue to grow at the expense of print and other traditional media to account for more than 25percentof global ad spend in 2020. . . which brings us to perhaps the most important point: How will media investment decisions be made in 2020?

Advertising campaigns in 2020 will not be planned, negotiated and evaluated as if the various media options are stand-alone silos.  But rather, advertising investments will be coordinated and optimized to best leverage the advantages each of the media options has to offer.  In 2020, advertisers and their agencies will have the insight they need to understand the relative contribution of TV, tablets and smartphones to a brand’s campaign so that they can better manage future investments.  And media sellers will be remunerated for the total audience they deliver, no matter what platform consumers use.

What Do We Need To Do Now For This Future?

Clearly we are living through rapidly changing times in the U.S. media and advertising industry.  There is hardly a day that goes by without an announcement heralding a new digital technology, or new advertising capability, or a new research service.

Many of our clients have recognized that the advertising environment will be nothing like it is today in 2020. They are increasingly getting involved by investing in new advertising models and research services to gain critically important know how. Frankly, these clients, whether advertisers, agencies or media sellers, are pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones now so they can be prepared for 2020.

Kantar Media is following our clients’ lead and investing in new methods, continually innovating, in order to insure that we are prepared for 2020 and beyond. Our investments span new approaches and technologies for collecting data, new ways of hosting and processing “big data” and new analysis methods.

We remain committed to providing our clients with the intelligence, insights and tools they need to make truly informed advertising decisions today and in 2020.