Looking at TV at the Speed of Light at the TV of Tomorrow Conference

TVOT, one of the most forward thinking conferences in our industry, focused on the concept of time for this year’s NYC event. In past years, TVOT has explored how technologies such as VR would change how we use TV, how the rollout of apps and TVE would impact how we access content and how big and small data would impact how we measure everything. 

Time is a precious commodity, made even more precious by the continued fragmentation of consumer attention, platforms, content forms and data sources. The scarcity of time has impacted the strategies of traditional media companies and advertisers. 

What ad formats work best by platform? How can you develop successful content by platform? To content creators like Lung Huang, Head of Strategic Partnerships at 84.51”, "This is the golden age of TV." but there is still a lot of uncertainty. "Marketers must make decision what works best. But we are not there yet," he added.

The TV of tomorrow, according to Tracy Swedlow, Editor-in-Chief, itvt, is “coming up with new content formats, inventing it on the fly and to some extent launching it on the same day. They are competing with traditional media offerings as well as the social media world and individuals who are creating their own channels. There is so much competition now to come up with incredibly new content that the TV of tomorrow is happening today and every day in every moment.” 


Here are some takeaways from the conference.

The Harnessing and Consolidation of Rapid Change
Perhaps because of the swiftness of change and transformation, many media companies are working towards a consolidation of efforts, a look towards standardization of measurements and a nod to traditional media forms as foundational keystones. Panels on eSports, for example, acknowledged how they owe a lot to traditional sports coverage and sales. As Nathan Lindberg, Director of Global eSports at Twitch, stated, "eSports is the newest thing you've always heard of."

Starting with what we know about traditional sports, Seth Ladetsky, SVP Sales at Turner Sports, said he, started realizing that young males were consuming a lot of eSports. So, Turner invested in it with ELEAGUE, a professional eSports league the company debuted in May 2016 in partnership with WME/IMG.” As eSports “scaled and had multiple touchpoints,” according to Stuart Lipson, Executive Director, eSports Ad Bureau, “We established the eSports Ad Bureau rules to execute against this complex environment.”

Designing Across Platforms
Maintaining coherent branding across platforms is much more complex than one might think. Take CNN, for example, which traditionally attracts an older audience. Dewey Reid, VP/Executive Creative Director CNN, is charged with creating “a CNN news habit across all age groups” and grapples with “design challenges to hold the brand together across platforms.” This is because “every platform has a different content management system.” 

Samantha Barry, Head of Social Media at CNN, explained how it might be possible to young-down news using an example from the recent election. “Election night is our Super Bowl at CNN,” she noted, “and we wanted to have defined success across each platform. Our work with Kick targeted 13-17 year olds. We launched stickers – they love stickers – and gifts and emoticons. We learned that we have to speak their language.” The strategy went further. “We wanted to have a design brand across all platforms – designs that could be used across TV, desktops and social platforms. We did instagram portraits for all candidates and used them across platforms,” she added.

Be Flexible
Understanding the differences in platform usage and behavior is key to maximizing marketing efforts. Barry noted that, “Good news is shared more on Facebook and on social platforms. Triumphing over adversity. Climate change does well on Snapchat.” So CNN tries to tailor the news by degree of user interest.
Agencies are also become more adaptable. Jonathan Steuer, CRO, Omnicom Media Group, sees a holistic, synergistic approach as the road to success. “We are in later stages of consolidating our media investment teams so we aren't siloed,” he noted. “We want to find the balanced diet for our clients and think of it as a holistic process.”

The secret to navigating these quickly changing times is to be inquisitive, open and not afraid to take a risk. Andrew Feigenson, Managing Director Digital, Nielsen, summed it up by saying, ”This is a changing world. No one has figured it out. This is a time of experimentation.”

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