The myth of digital as a TV killer

September 16, 2016
Jay Rajdev

By Jay Rajdev

VP of Brand Solutions

Some stories are as old as the hills, even in digital. Remember when YouTube was going to destroy TV when it started building scale back in 2011? Well now, apparently Facebook Live is going to finish the job.

I don’t doubt that we’ll be back in a few months saying some other digital innovation is going to be the next TV killer. Because those who live/love digital too fully can start to lose any sense of perspective. Hype and creating a FOMO are often part of their business models.

The main problem with that approach is that it means every change is viewed through the prism of direct competition, winners and losers, rather than how each can work together. Every deal has a channel winning even if it simply reflects the mixed video ecosystem that we now work in. So if X is doing Y then TV/Digital (delete as appropriate) must suffer.

Perhaps the best exemplar of the potential for social to work as a complement to TV is the way that Sky TV, widely regarded as the UK’s most progressive broadcaster, is signing deals to put premier league goals on Twitter.

If social was truly such a destructive threat, why would Sky be putting its golden balls out there – allowing consumers to experience its prime content without paying?

Social has become a prime marketing channel for broadcasters, allowing them to reach new audiences for key shows. Take Cold Feet on ITV1, because it’s not one of my regular channels, there’s no way I would have seen the trailers. Without Twitter and Facebook, I would have missed a great revival.

The truth is that social is delivering additional eyeballs, making shows talked about and enabling shows like Strictly and Cold Feet to continue to deliver remarkable live-linear audiences.

Critically while these programmes deliver fantastic advertiser returns on TV, powered by the billions invested in the highest calibre productions, the additional distribution via supplementary platforms, now also offers huge opportunities for brands to extend that association.

An independent study by global marketing foresight consultancy, Gain Theory, which was commissioned by Videology, found that video has a strong role in driving offline sales, one that’s stronger even than TV.

Econometric modelling by Gain Theory identified that brands currently spending between 5-10% of their total AV budget on video are consistently generating an average ROI that is as much as 1.27 times higher for video than it is on TV.  To clarify, video does not unilaterally deliver a better ROI or scale than TV; however, when part of an appropriate AV mix, it does deliver a more effective ROI. Video certainly complements TV.

This multiplier effect is further pronounced where video and TV are deployed in tandem, as part of a complementary strategy. Online video ROI peaks on catch-up broadcaster content, irrespective of the device or social-platform on which it is consumed.

So the truth is that rather than Facebook killing TV, it’s creating new opportunities for brands to create an integrated and effective relationship that extends into new areas.

Brands with tech partners who understand the ecosystem can now ensure that their messages reach consumers wherever they watch the great content our broadcasters are producing.

It’s a huge opportunity to ensure that today’s multi-device consumer gets the message whether they use the broadcasters VOD platforms or social networks to view full shows, extended highlights and clips.

In the same way that TV didn’t kill radio and Kindle hasn’t killed the book, digital and social will never destroy TV. What they will do is provide a significant and incremental opportunity for smart brands who are ready to take a more holistic approach to the modern video landscape.