Time to improve segmentation? - Dave Winterlich - Chief Strategy Officer - Dentsu Aegis network

Date: 02/03/2015 | Comments
It never surprises me to hear some of the “sure nobody watches TV anymore” sound bites replayed to me as they manage to transcend the radio airwaves and newspaper pages making their way into the forum of accepted wisdom. What does surprise me is that this is a commonly held view for many people involved in the advertising and media industry. The reality is that Irish adults are watching more TV now than we did five years ago, and 15-34’s are watching almost the same amount. And, more importantly, this is viewing to “linear” television, the old fashioned model of a broadcaster deciding what you should watch and when you should watch it. When you include television content viewed on ANY device we are watching more television content than ever before! Which leads me nicely on to point number two, “sure nobody watches TV in real time anymore, it’s all time shifted viewing and nobody watches the ads”. Another “fact” that is widely thrown around and wildly misinformed. Time shifted TV viewing accounts for roughly 9% of adult viewing and only 11% of TV viewing for under 25’s. Oh, and wait, we don’t pay for commercials that are not viewed.
All in all I think there is still plenty of life as we know it in television, and beyond. At this point you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a piece of television indulgence, some back-slappery I have been coerced into penning, I will now change tack and focus on some of the problems, or challenges if you will, that television in Ireland is facing. Contentious for this forum, but I believe we have real problems with the panel size, is it getting to the stage where it is not fit for purpose? That’s an easy one to fix, more homes on the panel? Well it should be, and I know that there are costs involved, but the cost of technology has come down across the board and there are more TV stations trading in the market today. So what’s the problem? Is it a cost of measuring, is it a technology issue? Why not change the measurement technology and issue survey homes with a brand new smart TV with the latest in measurement technology integrated to allow better audience measurement?
Television will be traded programmatically very soon, it’s a natural progression. Before we get to that point I strongly believe that the television market simply has to move towards better segmentation. Agencies and clients have invested hugely in audience segmentation, but when it comes to the art of trading these audiences we’re back to proxy-targeting, trading on antiquated demographics. I sometimes struggle to believe that we can’t fuse client and agency data with the Nielsen data, if not for trading purposes with TV stations then surely for reporting purposes, so we can report on real audiences, audiences that we talk a common language with to clients. 
We should be able to show one home a beer commercial in the centre break of the RTE midweek movie while at the same time showing the next door neighbour and ad for baby wipes in the same break of the same movie, because we know the profile of these homes. Sky Media are already doing this in the UK. The idea of being able to target micro audiences through a media owner side platform today seems so obvious it’s nearly obsolete given the eventual move to television real time bidding, but yet we can’t do it. Television is still proven to be the most effective medium for ROI in nearly all econometric studies I have seen. It’s still a hugely engaging advertising platform for brands to connect with consumers. Increasingly there are exciting new ways to engage your audience, be that through AFP, product placement or branded content but the audience currencies need to change in order to meet consumer targeting needs of today’ agencies.