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Back Talk: Will Interactivity Render TV Dead?

Like the consoles of yesteryear, has traditional TV advertising gone to seed? With more screens vying for consumer attention, will the industry survive?

Smartphones are now outselling computers, and the iPad is the hottest selling single electronic device. DVRs are being utilized at skyrocketing rates, as viewers fast-forward past commercials. Even television broadcasts are directing viewers to computer screens during commercial breaks for special behind-the-scenes features and interviews (ABC drew major flack last week from advertisers for encouraging Academy Awards viewers to do just that).

Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but where does all of this convergence leave television? Is traditional network TV advertising starting a death march, or will it always play an important role in reaching large masses of consumers?

Tell us what you think of the future viability of network television.

This week, Blogging Out Loud and Vertical Marketing Network introduce a new feature, Back Talk, and we hope it inspires you to get involved in the conversation. Marketing is a complicated and varied business, and it’s inspiring to think out loud and blog things out. So, don’t be afraid to chime in.

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.
Photo credit: kruder396
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About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

18 comments on “Back Talk: Will Interactivity Render TV Dead?

  1. Bill McDonald
    March 17, 2011

    I believe that only the biggest shows are worth advertising on tradition TV today. I believe all the rulkes on reach and frequency have to be thrown out and a new set of minimums put in place. I recently sat in a room of 11 50 plus businessmen and talking about research. Not a single person admitted to watching live TV or having seen any commercial message in the past 6 months. There are no more “poor man’s TV budgets” 80Reach and 10 Freq. in thirteen weeks was the minimum for years. Today 80 reach may still prevail but you better be thinking 25 freq. minimum is the new statndard today and you just hope somebody actually sees it and subsequently responds. Pretty easy to understand why General Electric wanted out of that arena and dumped NBC.

    Like

  2. christine
    March 10, 2011

    With computers and smart phones, viewing habits are certainly changing and becoming more interactive. I’m sure commercials will start to integrate even more…push your phone or computer to play a game, vote or see more content related to a TV show. When is our phone going to also be the TV remote control? It will also be interesting to see whether Nielsen ratings remain “king” or whether other measurement tools relating to promotional response start to be used by advertisers. I think we’ll find out very shortly.

    Like

  3. Cathy
    March 9, 2011

    I think traditional TV advertising will never die, however it will have to evolve. Today more and more primetime shows are being offered online for the small price of a forced commercial every 10 min. Today DVR technology is becoming more prevalent in the average American home, which is reducing exposure to traditional TV advertising. Because of DVR, traditional broadcast advertising will reach a much smaller audience. My suggestion to address this problem is to look at advertising on DVR’s similar to that of internet playback by forcing the viewer to watch at least one 30 second advertisement every 10 minutes.

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 10, 2011

      Great thoughts, Cathy. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  4. Kate
    March 9, 2011

    I agree with Phil that TV will remain the #1 medium for the forseeable future. However, it is more important then ever to have clever, engaging ads with a clear message (like the eTrade baby) which may lead viewers to stop and watch the commercial rather then zip through it.
    TV advertising should be part of a complete communications plan with a clear call to action such as a website to visit which will give a coupon to visit the store, or purchase the product online.

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 10, 2011

      “TV advertising should be part of a complete communications plan with a clear call to action such as a website to visit…” — Great point, Kate.

      I’m still surprised by how many brands don’t do this…

      Like

  5. Paul
    March 9, 2011

    This is an interesting post. I can remember watching Star Trek The Next Generation with my Dad and being fascinated by the technologies being implenented-specifically, a handheld device that could operate as a multi functioning computer and data projector(Sci-fi fan). When I first interacted with an Ipad, I immediately recollected my childhood fascination with this hand held device. The constrast between the two (the Star Trek version obviously being fake), I realized that technology that was once fantasy was now being materialized.

    Our society is seeing a fundamental shift two fold: One in the way that people are being reached through both personal and non-personal contact i.e. advertising, and the generational impact of youth on how advertising is now being implemented.

    With web based follow up sequences being televised in concert with their brand based commercials, advertisers are more enalbed to draw their consumers in not only with follow up A.V. media, but also through interactive media…the best analogy I can think of would be falling down a rabbit hole (metaphorically speaking): beginning with TV advertising as the hook, then web based media taking the viewer much deeper into relevant content.

    Being part of the generation who has taken web based media to the next level, the internet is a part of my life. Constantly checking facebook, email, and listening to Pandora, the internet functions as an instrumental determinant on so many behaviors that my generation has come to know.

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 10, 2011

      Great points, Paul!

      Like

  6. Joanne
    March 9, 2011

    With the technology of being able to fast forward through commercials, tv advertising now has become the most challenging venue to capture the audience. TV is taking a back seat to all of the other technical media outlets. Commercials have to be just as entertaining, if not more, than the program you are watching to engage the consumer. I sometimes find myself asking “what were they trying to sell?” … especially the pharmaceutical commercials! The cost of the commercial spot vs the length of the message (sometimes less than 10 seconds) seems to have dwindled down the value of the tv ad. My favorite? The eTrade babies!!!

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 10, 2011

      Great comments, Joanne! (I love the eTrade babies, too!)

      Like

  7. Jeff
    March 8, 2011

    Ronald McDonald is dead!
    There is a shift in consciousness taking place in our society and indeed throughout the world. Traditional forms of 1-directional mass media sales pitches from the seller to the consumer, no matter how clever or creative, are losing their power to influence behavior. It is debatable how much power they ever had in terms of delivering factual and useful information, but they were able to overcome these inefficiencies by the sheer volume of impressions. With the proliferation of interactivity the transaction between merchant and consumer has now become vastly more multi-dimensional.
    The age of the silent and gullible couch potato staring at the screen and being spoon fed what they should believe, know or buy is gone forever. This new reality applies to politicians, preachers and dictators as well. This is we the people- empowered… and not a moment too soon!

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 9, 2011

      Great comments, Jeff! Thanks for getting involved.

      Like

  8. Betsy Berman
    March 8, 2011

    Great question, JJ. I just read that Denny’s,like so many other marketers, is using branded entertainment – an online talk show – to attract and engage a younger audience and illustrate their “always open” message. Denny’s VP – marketing and product innovation, John Dillon, commented that “TV and traditional marketing avenues are not where you can put all your efforts these days. To be truly relevant you have to think about things differently and challenge the status quo in areas like online content.” While I don’t have a specific answer to your question, JJ, I think television needs to take on a status quo challenge – ASAP! Betsy

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 9, 2011

      Thanks for the tip, Betsy! Just watched the Denny’s spot, and I think it’s a great example of ways old brands can engage in new mediums.

      Like

  9. Alice
    March 8, 2011

    I’m not going to say that I’m not addicted to my iphone. I practically can’t live without it and turn to it during commercials and sometimes even during shows. However, I’m holding out on getting a DVR. I’ve been in the advertising industry since i started working and try to watch the commercials when i can. They’re creative and sometimes even thought provoking. I mean, who didn’t love the Doritos commercials that ran during the super bowl? Classic. It even made me go to 7/11 during 1/2 time to get a bag. Effective advertising at its best. With the DVR, you’d simply skim past it and not enjoy the humor behind the commercial. I say, try to pay attention to the little things and dont let technology overtake TV.

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 9, 2011

      Thanks, Alice. I agree that watching commercials helps us keep an eye on the cultural pulse. Question: do you find yourself watching commercials embedded in online content?

      Like

  10. Philip
    March 8, 2011

    I do not envy those in television media sales these days unless they are selling in tandem with online components. The fact is that consumers have multiple screens now to view, absorb and enjoy content. Integration across all screens will continue to grow, but even as it does, TV will still be king for a while in being able to deliver mass audiences in one fell swoop.

    Like

    • JJ Nelson
      March 9, 2011

      Thanks for your comments, Phil! I agree!

      Like

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