We’re going to make three bold predictions about the future of television. These aren’t going to be obvious — we’re going big. I interviewed Chris Wilson, President of National Television at Rentrak, to get his prognostications. Here's what Chris had to say:
The first bold prediction is that you'll see a shift of guarantees from demographics to targeting. The second is I think you'll see the lines blur between digital and television, and I think all of those things will be working together. And the third is I think probably the most likely and the most important — you're going to see a shift from gross rating points in television to ad impressions.
As a result, I think that you'll see advertisers demanding more accountability from their media buys and a shift from just targeting to measurement of results. So I think you'll see ongoing ad effectiveness where the agency and advertiser will be judging the performance of their decisions based on business results versus just on impressions or rating points.
I don't know if TV's going to look more like digital or digital's going to look more like TV. I think what you're going to have is kind of a convergence of how the two are evaluated together. I think it's going to be a shift from just straight content ratings to ad impressions. I think that we'll see television move towards measuring the actual impression of the exact commercial that was seen versus an average commercial rating. The reason that's going to happen is that by looking at ad impressions on television, you'll be able to line up ad impressions on digital and understand how those two work together to be able to deliver on the advertiser's expectations.
The big ad tech players in the space, the Facebooks and Googles of the world, will continue to play an important role and probably an increasing role in that area. But I think it's really going to be about convergence and how all of this media works together to be able to meet the needs that the particular advertiser wants. It's going to be not how they work in silos, but how they work together to be able to deliver excellent results for the advertiser.
The best-kept secret is that the future of television is television. It's all about content. TV's got the best content that's out there. It drives better results in many cases than any other media. The death of television's over exaggerated. It's not going anywhere. People, even though they have the ability to view content on all these different devices, it still comes back to they're going to view the content on the best available device, which in many cases is going to be the television in their living room. One of the things that we've seen — because at Rentrak we're able to measure across all these platforms — even though people talk about the decline in viewership of live, which in fact is happening, if you look at it in totality and look at the live, plus the video on demand, plus the DVR time-shifted viewing and on other devices, the consumption of television content's actually increasing. So you're seeing the total viewership go up because people are able to watch that content in a lot more different places and when they want.
That engagement is probably driving the price increases in upfronts. I also think that the value of television is unprecedented when you look at the type of marketing mix evaluations that are done. And when TV gets pulled out, you see a decline in digital traffic. And so it really is at the center of driving a lot of awareness for those brands and really starts that purchase funnel for many advertisers.