Despite many predicted demise, TV is still very much alive in the digital age


It’s been more than 10 years since the professional public in our region started asking of TV is really dead

By: Vedran Vereš, Client Service Director, UM Zagreb & UM Ljubljana

If we consider that approximately 50% of Croatia’s adspend in media goes to TV (source: HURA Adex), we can safely say that this dead man looks quite lively. The average viewer in the last 12 months watched television an average of 4 hours and 26 minutes a day (source: AGB Nielsen), which puts Croatia in the very top of Europe, along with most of the countries in the region, which again signals that this corpse is at least kicking a bit.

The fragmentation of television viewing has significantly increased in the last 10 years. New national channels have appeared, and penetration of cable and IPTV platforms is increasing, where an increasing number of channels localize their content. The fragmentation of individual media always makes it difficult to achieve high reach of the advertising campaigns, but on the Croatian market TV advertising campaigns can still achieve reach of over 90%, which is certainly a powerful magnet for advertisers, and since television stations in our country generally offer the lowest prices for contact with a wide target group, it’s not difficult to explain why half of the media investments end up on television.

Still, is this just a consequence of our lagging behind the developed Western markets, and is it only a matter of time when TV in our country will also fall to “life support”? The developed Western markets record continuous growth of investment in digital media which are starting to catch up with television as previously undisputed leader in attracting media investments from advertisers. But that does not mean that television is losing the trust of advertisers and their budgets. Last year, the television market in the UK for the first time exceeded 5 billion pounds, with significant contribution from Facebook, Google and Netflix which have greatly increased their investment in TV advertising. Watching TV “live” in the Western markets also dominates in the share in the total consumption of video content.

All this shows that television on the Croatian market, and other markets in the region, but also in developed Western markets, still retains a strong market position, but it does not mean that everything remains the same for television and that it doesn’t have to transform in order to keep the viewer’s attention and advertising budgets. Although the overall consumption of television in Croatia remained stable, in the 15-34 years of age target group it fell by more than 20% in the last 5 years. The younger target groups that even before consumed less television than the older population are becoming increasingly difficult to reach through TV, while digital media are strongly competing for their attention, rivaling TV even in the maximum reach of the media. Attention that was previously focused on television is now divided to multiple screens because there is a parallel use of smartphones and tablets while consuming television. Increased use of smartphones is a global trend in general, and the number of smartphones has already surpassed the number of desktops (Source: Wave 8).

TV stations have recognized these trends and transformed into multimedia companies. Commercial national TB stations in their portfolio have a number of successful web portals, they are strengthening their presence on social networks, they allow viewing of their content through other platforms, they are entering the VOD market in order to exploit the growth of digital media, enrich their offer and find new tools to tie advertising budgets to themselves. The Supertalent app is one example of how televisions in our market are also aware of the “second screen” effect and that they are trying to use it to create attractive multimedia solutions for their clients.

The introduction of measurement of time shifted TV viewing on ​​the Croatian market will further enhance the measurement of television and give us access to the data already present on a large number of European and world markets, but these days we are also seeing that it’s opening other topics in the TV market as well. Simple watching of TV used to be something that is very easy to describe and where there were no major dilemmas whether something constitutes TV viewing or not. Nowadays, the boundaries between television and other media (especially digital) have been deleted, or at least the demarcation is becoming much more blurred than it once was. Time shift viewing through different recorders and other services, watching of television or similar content from other external media, using of video libraries from IPTV providers, different OTT services, streaming of various content through computers that may or may not be seen through television screen, use of applications on Smart TV sets, watching “live” television program on a mobile phone or tablet are just some examples of the consumption of content that may or may not be declared watching TV these days. What is actually TV watching today? Is it defined by the device that is used for viewing, technology, content distribution, or we can find some other criteria which will define watching of television in the digital age?

One thing we can be certain of is that the future will bring new forms of consumption of video content, and the erasing of boundaries between television and digital media in the segment of video content will create a market of consumption of video content that will be viewed as unique by agencies and advertisers – or at least much better connected than it is now – where decisions about the allocation of resources for advertising will be made through analysis of various parameters related to the very consummation of that content on a variety of platforms such as the reach, the total number of contact points, length of contact, ad size, more accurate targeting of the desired target group, etc.

But even in such a world live television will have its place.

And on top of all this is the programmatic buy of television that is probably awaiting us somewhere in the future, but that’s a topic for another article…