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TV plays a central role in the media mix – also as a digital channel.

Simen Kjær of Try Insight has written a compelling and heartfelt defense of the role of TV in an effective media mix. However, he overlooks a crucial point when he draws a distinction between TV and online, as in today's and tomorrow's media mix, TV is also digital.

Kjær refers to Peter Field's new study on the advantages of the TV channel, linked to the channel's context (co-viewing), presentation attributes (large formats, emotive, etc.), and distribution attributes (ability to quickly reach many – Byron Sharp's "all category buyers").

We fully agree with this – also based on a large base of econometric analyses (sales modeling), which underscores the importance of TV and broad "mass communication" in creating significant effects. We are somewhat uncertain about how many advertisers are still stuck at the bottom of the digital funnel, but we do not fully recognize this picture. Most of the advertisers we know have a balanced and healthy approach to this.

The challenge for the traditional, offline TV channel is that fewer and fewer people are watching it, making it inefficient to reach "all category buyers." This is especially true when those under 30 are part of the "all," but coverage is also continuously declining in older target groups.

This is undoubtedly a challenge, but one that both media agencies and TV players are actively working to solve – primarily by making TV digital.

TV is also digital

When we plan video content today, where we could previously rely on linear ad-supported TV, we now purchase digital video content to build coverage in younger demographics. This has its challenges related to the presentation attributes and formats that do not deliver as well as traditional TV advertising. This can be partly compensated by purchasing so-called forced viewing of longer formats, but is increasingly based on an increasing inventory (available views) of ad-supported streaming TV.

The rise of ad-supported streaming TV offers in many ways the best of both worlds: The presentation attributes of TV, and distribution attributes where one can choose to go broad or increasingly targeted. What is essential is that viewing occurs on a large screen. It is (mostly) the large screen that is highlighted as the reason why TV performs so well in various attention studies – but exposures on ad-supported streaming TV (so-called ad-funded video on demand – AVOD) perform just as well.

Digital TV is largely viewed on a large screen

Some may argue that streaming TV and other digital video content are consumed on mobile devices, but this is not the case. For a typical ad-supported streaming channel like TV2 Play, about 90% of the views are on a large screen. Even YouTube has around 20% of views on a large screen overall, and with the right optimization, up to 50% of ad views can be on a large screen.

In total, no more than 4-5% of the Norwegian "inventory" is available as views on AVOD, but the number is growing almost exponentially, and we have seen examples up to 25% when TV2 showed "Spillet." This indicates the potential.

In the UK, which Peter Field largely bases his research on, Video on Demand (VOD) is big, and AVOD has a large and growing share of this. Field refers to TV as TV in his studies, but we assume this includes all advertising on AVOD platforms. Thinkbox, which funded his latest study, is very concerned that ad-supported digital TV (Connected-TV) ensures that TV maintains a central role in an effective media mix. As they themselves write in their presentation of Field's study: One of the reasons TV is becoming more effective is that it’s increasingly supported by on-demand formats, namely Broadcaster VoD and online video.

Is the future of advertising TV fully digital?

Will the future of commercial exposure be like the good old days on a large screen where one hits "all category buyers" with emotional, impressive films that build fame and sell products in the short and long term? Moreover, with the possibility of targeting messages if desired?

It depends on the product development of streaming TV operators and, not least, the viewers' willingness or unwillingness to pay. Until recently, streaming operators prioritized subscription solutions and, to some extent, pay-per-view, but we have seen a clear shift in their priorities. Now that Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and others have also jumped on the bandwagon with ad-supported solutions, it's mostly up to the viewers.

Norwegian TV viewers generally have good financial means, expensive times or not, so the question is whether they will save on their streaming expenses in exchange for watching good commercials on TV. That is for the future to reveal. That TV viewing will be streaming-based rather than linear is not in doubt. The question is just whether it will be financed by consumers or advertisers.