Communications agencies have a new competitor: TV Channels

Like they say: Necessity is the mother of invention. I believe we are at an interesting inflection point where the needs will drive the industry to create a “super” agency, and one that will go a whole full circle – to correct a lot of wrongs (and not so favourable trends or perceptions) that got created along the way.

Television advertising has always been main-stay for brands. Many of the channels that are part of multi-platform content houses would often bundle in print and online advertising as value adds to the marketers. Print space also continued to be sold independently, but that was never the case for online, except for very niche and digital-only platforms. This was also one of the main reasons that marketers perceived online as a cheaper alternative – and never the main stay.

However, some of that is slated to change. The TRAI mandate is already getting the sales divisions of the TV channels worry about monetization. At current inflation and reducing advertising spends by brands, they might be able to marginally increase the airtime costs but that wouldn’t be sufficient. They will now be forced to look at alternative monetization routes and the closest answer to that would be: “Sell integrated transmedia solutions that leverages all available platforms”. So the bigger advertising budgets that have always arrogantly been the ancestral property of TV will suddenly have to find new heirs in online, mobile and other integrated platforms.

But that requires another pre-step as well – measurement. Big dollar advertising funds have been backed by a robust analytics and measurement framework. While online, mobile and other digital platforms enable far better analytics, it was never the focus area because: (1) the budgets were low and (2) cross platform data was not being tracked to be able to plot the viewers start and end journey. All of that is now going change, and this might even be the first step.

The TV sales & marketing teams will increasingly spend time with their creatives, digital and social media teams not only to create distribution channels for their content, but also to create cross-platform campaigns and measurement KPIs that they can sell to their clients. TV networks with their wide range of talents across creative, sales and marketing will increasingly wear the consultant hat for their clientele brands, and in lot many ways compete as well as partner with the conventional agencies.

So will the next wave of digital hires come from TV channels. Will be interesting to wait and watch.

What I am most interested and positive about is that the platforms and the measurement will have an exponential evolution, and those who can leverage it well will be the trendsetters.


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