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From Ms Karen Blackett.

Sir, In Matthew Garrahan’s Notebook, “A five year-old Don Draper speaks” (August 30), he asks the question: “How much longer will companies pour money into TV commercials ... if people have no intention of watching them?” To this I must reply: but people are watching them.

Although he talks from a US perspective and the UK and US markets are very different, Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board data show that more ads are seen at real-time speed now than ever before in the UK – 47 per day up from 40 in 2007.

Technology has given viewers the ability to skip ads but also access to more of what they want to watch, resulting in a boost for television viewing, even among 16-34 year-olds. The article also ignores the principle that an ad doesn’t need a viewer’s full attention for it to create traction and that advertisers only pay for ads viewed in real time.

TV ads are simply evolving. With the rise of “on demand” TV and with viewing becoming more social through tools such as Zeebox and Twitter, TV and ads are being consumed differently. And there is now even more emphasis on making ads compelling and “unskippable”. Ads must become as engaging as the programmes they appear between.

The huge rise in dual screening (watching TV and using the internet simultaneously) is an interesting way to understand which shows have the most cultural traction and therefore offer the best advertising opportunities. It also provides advertisers with a way of talking to potential consumers in a more targeted way, providing an instant return path. In the US, Red Bull have developed branded content with Shazam for TV, showing how dual-screen advertising is already evolving.

TV advertising shows no sign of dying, but it will be the most innovative companies that really reap the benefits.

Karen Blackett, CEO, MediaCom (UK), London WC1, UK

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