In the past series of articles on Bison we have been focusing on how Convergence is changing up industries faster than we realise. First we looked at how convergence is transforming your in-car entertainment through Connected Cars, then we looked at how convergence of technology will transform the Connected Home, now it’s time to look at convergence in Connected TV’s.

When digital became a hot topic for brands and marketers a number of years back, it was treated with equal parts of excitement and fear. Excitement at the seemingly limitless potential but also an understandable fear of the unknown. This fear caused many to be a little hesitant about its impact. What we’re seeing now in 2014 are brands truly embracing what digital technology can do to enhance their products, their messaging and the consumers' experience.

In brand advertising you create an idea which is expressed through an array of media choices (TV, social, mobile, radio, digital display, outdoor & press). Creative is then deployed to the various channels, some of which have limited targeting options while others such as display advertising and PPC have tools and functions which are very useful for targeting your message and tracking the results.

Samsung's lastest Smart TV provides internet connectivity

With the rise in the number of connected televisions (also named Smart TV's), the internet connectivity on these devices opens up a wealth of possibilities for media publishers to reinvent their advertising inventory and for brands to find news ways to make their messaging more relevant to their target consumer.

Global Smart TV shipments grew 55% year-over-year to reach 76 million units in 2013, accounting for 33 percent of the total number of flat panel TVs shipped last year. Western Europe was the leading market for Smart TVs in terms of penetration, with almost 45 percent of flat panel TVs shipped in 2013.

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What if you take the principles of how you deploy digital display advertising and converge them with TV advertising, what might this look like?

Sky Adsmart offers us a glimpse of this convergence in it’s infancy, a service which allows you to target your TV ads based on a whole new set of criteria such as their profile, regions and the content the viewer consumes. Perhaps some of these options might even develop like many online formats have done whereby you only pay if your TV ad is watched.

If you’ve made a TV ad recently, imagine how you might have taken a different approach to your creative if you were able to do this type of targeting.

For example if you were a car brand you could have several versions of the same TV ad with the nearest dealer contact details or test drive information presented to the household as opposed to broad contact details, wouldn't that be useful?

Or to take it a step further you have profiled the age bracket of the consumer and you now have a more detailed profile of the consumer by analysing the content they watch on TV. This will inform you as to their circumstances allowing you be more relevant with the model of car you serve them.


So, while in the past you would have been serving family car ads to 24 year old young professionals who have no kids, now you can serve them a hatchback model instead to make the ad more relevant while the individual with kids still sees the family cars ad.

Another item to consider is how will you make your ad production budget stretch to create several edits or even several versions of the same campaign in video format. This is a challenge but also the most interesting opportunity as we know from our experience that creating video content is not as expensive as it used to be, and there are ways to customise creative without it costing a fortune. In fact, we've had to learn how to do this for online formats for years!




It's not only Sky who are venturing into TV ad serving according to Marketing Week; Channel 4 and Virgin Media are also looking to establish this type of service so expect an array of start up buy outs and new companies rising to challenge established media players as people harness the potential of what this technology can do.

And what about a Google TV ad serving model? Nothing yet it seems but just think of Doubleclick for TV, and you can imagine the potential. TV ad revenue is the holy grail for them, an untapped gold mine which they could completely dominate if they create a product like this.

Imagine the data and profiling they have on people based on their current product portfolio and acquisitions. They could converge your online profile data with your TV viewing data, where you drove your car recently, what you listened to on the radio, what you searched for on your device and through connected home devices even what time you get home :)

Gracenote is like the Shazam of TV content

Interestingly you may have heard of a company called Gracenote who help to get the names for your tracks in iTunes. Yes them, not only do they help companies like Twitter verify accounts they also have a product for TV ad targeting which they have been trialling in the US since the start of the year, next stop is Europe. Another sign there is a race to own this opportunity that convergence is helping to create, this time also including a second screen working with your television to target messaging and content.



If we look at adoption trends, this area is the next big opportunity along with cars and homes to converge digital with traditional technology. As this convergence is happening right now, my advice to anyone joining the industry (agency or client side) is to learn the basic principles and techniques of digital advertising and search, as this knowledge is going to be very useful for your career as it will make it easier for you to understand how to plan and create TV advertising for the future.


(Images courtesy of Sky Media, Gracenote & Samsung)


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