Evolution of the mass TV audience

MCN’s National Sales Director, Nick Young, outlines the opportunities for brand advertisers as on-demand TV viewing reaches critical mass.

Television advertising is being overhauled as digital style measurement technology enriches the type of audience data available to brand marketers.

For those people leading the change, it’s vital to understand how the power of mass branding can be combined with the laser precision of digital. 

Nick Young has been working in digital for nine years, joining MCN in 2011 from Nine MSN. Since then, he has grown the digital business from ten to 50 people over a period of six years, before taking up the national sales job for MCN spanning digital, linear and subscription TV.

Pulling on his Digital and TV background, he now sees a rapid convergence of digital and television that’s being underpinned by the dramatic growth in on-demand media consumption, or catch-up TV, which he said is now delivering large audiences. In the MCN ecosystem, on-demand services include; tenplay, the Foxtel app and its subscription TV on-demand service.

“The interesting part is we are now securing mass audiences for catch-up TV on the main screen at home, driven by the incredible functionality of on-demand services,” says Young. “Those audiences are largely incremental to linear TV viewership, so there is a great opportunity for brand advertisers to shift the dial for their products and services on these platforms.”

The catch-up TV market, in a free-to-air online environment, is typically not a binge viewer. Those people watch the show within a few days of it being aired which means advertisers need to shift their thinking and pace a campaign to effectively reach their target audience.

These audiences are highly engaged with the program content, and consumer data can be utilised to deliver rich insights and more highly effective campaigns.

In addition, the rise of connected TV viewership means advertisers need to straddle both the linear and subscription TV, and digital video ecosystems, and work out how to best leverage their media investments, says Young. That also requires an understanding of cross-platform integration, and syncing advertising initiatives with brand sponsorships.

It's a long way from the early days of simply buying ad space on linear TV or digital properties. Young also said MCN is developing new data and technology solutions that will enable advertisers to clearly understand the brand and sales lift of any campaign.

He expects to see MCN’s measurement and sales offerings across both linear TV and digital video to increasingly unify, as brand advertisers seek a more sophisticated approach to reaching mass audiences.

The future of measuring TV audiences will involve meshing panel-based and set-top box data with rich offline data to enable brand advertisers to assess and quantify the true impact of media investments, Young says.

“Brands are investing across screens and they want to know what audiences they are reaching and whether their advertising is efficient and effective,” Young says.

He said MCN already achieved a significant milestone last year, in automating the booking and scheduling of linear television ads on Foxtel and Network Ten. MCN drove that development and was the first to do so in the TV market.

Having conquered that challenge, Young said he is focused on further innovation, across the key areas of convergence, measurement, and the unification of digital and television.

“We are in an exciting time in media where brands have that opportunity to make an impact on their audiences by being clever with data, media and technology,” Young says. “We plan to deliver a lot more value to brands in that environment”