Hew Bruce-Gardyne
Hew Bruce-Gardyne 18 June 2018

Delivering TV Campaigns at Global Scale

Despite global digital ad spend overtaking TV in 2017, it’s not all doom and gloom. TV is still a thriving advertising channel and is evolving to meet the changing needs of today’s advertisers.

But while digital – and more specifically social – is making headway in achieving global scale, with campaigns delivered across multiple geographies, TV is somewhat more restricted by variations in the way consumers in different regions consume media, and the options available for buying inventory.  

Diverse TV Consumption Habits

Everyone watches TV, right? Well, at least 1.7 billion households worldwide do. But the amount of time people spend watching TV, as well as the way they watch it, varies greatly across regions and countries.

Within Europe, there are huge variations in viewing time. In the UK, adults watch 4.4 hours each day of TV and video, while in Sweden, it’s less than 2 hours. On a global spectrum, the U.S. consume 3.58 hours of TV daily, while adults in China and India spend approximately half that amount of time in front of the box. Advertisers must be aware of these regional differences when designing ad campaigns and considering ad exposure and frequency.

A shift to online TV platforms is having a disruptive effect on the TV market and reducing linear TV viewing in countries such as the UK where more than 8 million households subscribe to subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, with 6.5 million accessing Netflix alone. Yet in other regions, such as the U.S. and Latin America, linear TV continues to grow despite the emergence of online alternatives. An awareness of these regional variations in consumption preferences can help advertisers decide where best to invest TV budgets.

Varied Models for TV Ad Buying

It is inevitable advertisers will have to deal with different legislation, languages (although this is an issue for digital too) and currencies when running TV campaigns across multiple regions. There are also major variations in the way TV inventory is traded.

Inventory availability and flexibility differ greatly. For instance, there is little forward planning in Spain, and it is possible to change TV buys every three days with readily available inventory. While in Sweden, inventory is restricted to specific packages. The U.S. market is dominated by the Upfronts in May, where a large portion of premium network inventory is sold for the year ahead, limiting the potential for in-flight optimization or changes. Advertisers can also buy clearance much closer to the time of airing, but risk not getting all the inventory requested.   

Addressable and programmatic TV are beginning to emerge as alternative buying models in some countries – with U.S. advertisers expected to spend $2.25 billion and $2.09 billion this year, respectively. But both trading methods face a number of challenges. The use of data to target TV advertising is a contentious subject and is particularly problematic in the European Union with the dawn of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or in a country such as Germany, where use of personal data is tightly governed by the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG).

On top of the regulatory challenges, basic technological considerations – such as how to transmit a huge file containing a high-quality 30-second TV ad in milliseconds – also need to be addressed. And inventory availability for addressable and programmatic TV is still very limited worldwide.

Making TV Campaigns Work Across the Globe

While regional variations in TV consumption and ad buying are considerable, they are not insurmountable. When advertisers understand the TV landscape in each region or country, the possibility of running and managing TV ad campaigns at a global scale is very real. Once the nuances of each geography are accounted for, advertisers can optimise their global TV spend and maximise ROI by accurately measuring performance and identifying which creatives, networks, programs, days, day-parts and genres are performing against critical business metrics.       

The technology platforms exist to centrally measure, optimize and control TV at a global scale. For large, multi-faceted companies, that is certainly a game changer when it comes to global TV performance.    

TV advertising is still a flourishing medium, and as long as regional variations can be understood and accounted for, there is no reason it shouldn’t achieve the same global scale and reach that digital and social advertising already enjoy.

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