Content and the TV Evolution

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    June 04, 2015

Content and the TV Evolution


My windows are shaking – a product of the City of Charlotte’s major storm water work just outside our office walls – and I can’t help but remember a banner we hung soon after the long project began. The sign survived months of dust and debris, reminding all of us and our visitors on a daily basis that disruption fuels innovation.

The banner’s message has never been truer. As advertisers in today’s world, we’re chasing the attention of targets hungry for rich content from screen to screen. We’re trailing them from the television screen (an oldie but goodie) to the computer screen, tablets and phones. It was simpler back in the days when Timmy was chasing Lassie and advertisers could simply “sponsor” the program.

Almost 70 years after Timmy and his dog debuted on the “little” screen, it’s a similar but more complex story. Advertisers are competing for attention as viewers watch Don Draper chase women. Some things never change…”Come here, girl!”

Recently, AdAge covered a phenomenon called the “TV revolution.” The story discussed how TV viewership continues to decline as streaming content grabs a bigger role. But there’s a catch: much of the content pulling viewers away from the TV is, in fact, still video content. The movement, it seems, is more of a TV evolution.

The great content shift has forced advertisers to invent new ways of getting around the good old commercial break. Isn’t that great? The creative community is constantly being forced to, well, be creative.

Here are just a few solutions:

• Videos posted on YouTube, where prime audiences can watch and share
• Pre-roll, or short video commercials that appear prior to online videos users want to see; these are typically 10-15 seconds in length
• User-generated content such as Bud Light’s Whatever, USA video contest

It’s funny, though; every time we’re faced with another hurdle like DVR, which lets viewers fast-forward through our brilliant commercials, we respond with industry buzz and even panic similar to a good old-fashioned cliffhanger: "Oh no! Timmy has fallen in the barn and hurt his leg and the barn is burning. What will Lassie dooooo???”

Personally, I like the challenge – and I can’t wait to see where we take it from here.

It should be a great show, kids. Tune in on your phone next week, and rest assured that wherever the eyeballs travel, great creative minds will be there with new ways to deliver the message.

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