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March 2019 - Digital Integration – an Interview for Feed Magazine with Craig Buckland, Technical Director, BTS

Digital Integration – an Interview for Feed Magazine with Craig Buckland, Technical Director, BTS

Can you provide a brief overview of the company?

Broadcast Traffic Systems (BTS) was established in 2000. It supplies traffic solutions to the broadcast industry. The company’s objective is to offer scalable, cost-efficient solutions suitable for single and multi-channel broadcasters. We can provide a complete system from long term planning and advertising sales through to integration with transmission playout systems. We have off-the-shelf solutions which are ready to deploy but we can also work with customers to develop a bespoke solution to precisely fit their requirements. We have customers throughout the globe, covering six continents and including many of the world’s leading broadcasters.

Articles often talk about TV advertising VERSUS online. Is there not room for both to thrive in the 21st century? Is there really a battle?

Absolutely, TV and online advertising should definitely complement each other. In fact, so much so that broadcasters are in a unique position to enable that cohesive approach. Also, the way in which video is distributed is changing. TV is no longer just about linear channels, there has been a steady rise in over-the-top (OTT) services which is leading to both new challenges and opportunities when it comes to advertising. The best advertising strategies are the ones which cross both platforms.

Can TV and digital be used side by side by advertisers? If so, where will this work best?

Advertisers are increasingly expecting this to work side-by-side and are looking to launch campaigns across the board. Ad campaigns that mix both digital and TV will likely have the most impact, because they will get in front of more people, and because consumers will see them on different platforms. It works best when it is an integrated campaign, with the ads making most of the potential of each platform.

What are the benefits of digital advertising over other media – especially TV?

The main advantage of digital advertising is the opportunity to personalise the ads being served. There has been a lot of research that shows that personalised ads improve engagement quite substantially. For example, Sky released stats last year that showed targeted ads boost ad engagement by more than a third and cut channel switching by almost a half.

Where does digital especially win over?

As well as being personalisable, digital is also much more trackable. Marketing teams are constantly under pressure to prove the value of activities. Digital advertising allows them to provide much more insight into engagement with ads, but also, even more importantly, how many people clicked through and made a purchase as a result of the ad. That is simply not possible in the same way with TV advertising. However, TV advertising does definitely have a place for increasing brand awareness.

Has digital marketing overtaken TV spends?

According to the stats, it seems not quite yet, but it is certainly getting that way with digital advertising steadily growing. Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts predict that internet advertising will surpass 50% of total ad-spend in 2021. At the same time, TiVo’s recent Video Trends Report suggests that digital native AVOD has grown as TV sites decline.

What role does the collection of metadata play in the current targeted ads scene?

Metadata is absolutely critical to ensuring that ads can be replaced. If you have the right metadata in place to know the length of ad and the type, then you can automatically and instantly serve that ad to the correct audience. This is especially important for broadcasters taking a linear channel and making it OTT, for example. Linear ads are differing lengths so knowing what the gaps are that need filling is critical to being able to serve targeted ads.

So, what can broadcasters do to compete with the digital market?

Broadcasters are in a unique position to be the central point to manage both linear and digital advertising. Over recent years, broadcasters have had to adapt fast to keep pace with changing consumption preferences. This is the latest hurdle for them to negotiate. Many broadcasters are already launching OTT versions of their own channels and other content so providing ads for other digital channels beyond that is simply an extra step. That said, it does certainly add more complexity to ad scheduling and that is something that broadcasters will need to address if they want to maximise the potential of ads.

Does business size affect the decision about where to advertise?

It certainly does in terms of budgets. A smaller business is going to go for the most cost-efficient approach, giving them the maximum exposure for the minimum investment. A digital campaign which allows them to target a very specific demographic may prove more cost efficient but equally a local TV campaign may be more beneficial.

Why do you think consumers are beginning to move away from the multiple subscription approach?

One of the main reasons comes down to laziness. The consumer wants the quickest route to find and start watching content and having to move in and out of multiple services is not going to be conducive to that mindset. It also comes down the simple fact that there is a vast array of choice these days. Consumers can access so much great content for free, as long as they don’t mind the ads, which increasingly they don’t. This is especially true as ads become more targeted as the more relevant the ad, the less likely it is to bother you.

How can broadcasters win back the growing digital audience?

Quite simply, broadcasters need to adapt. The multiplatform world opens up a wealth of opportunity for broadcasters to deliver their content to consumers in different ways while increasing engagement and improving satisfaction. OTT services lend themselves to that targeted approach, so broadcasters need to maximise that opportunity. They also need to adopt an aggregator approach to advertising. By managing ad placement across broadcast and digital channels they can become the go-to for all of those campaigns, wherever the ads will appear.

How do you see online advertising progressing over the next 5 to 10 years?

Online advertising will undoubtedly continue to progress and take a significant chunk of ad revenue. I do believe TV advertising will still have a place, but the percentage is likely to shift quite significantly in favour of digital advertising spend.

Anything else you wish to say on the matter of TV v digital advertising?

Advertisers are increasingly looking to book an integrated ad campaign covering all media types. This represents a great opportunity for broadcasters to maximise monetisation options, however the very complex nature of digital campaigns, coupled with the lack of integration to existing workflows, is causing them a challenge. This will be an important hurdle to overcome in order to fully maximise the potential of ads.