In my previous blog post I wrote about the decline of ad dollars going to newspapers, radio, and broadcast TV that started in 2001 and the double digit growth in internet advertising spending that started at about that same time. Advertising Age posted an article, “Marketers to Up Spending in Cable, Online, Mobile in Next 6 Months,” that describes this continuing trend for 2009 and the growing pessimism surrounding these traditional media. Interestingly enough the article paints a brighter picture for cable TV.
One reason for this better picture for cable is that the audience share for cable programming continues to increase versus broadcast TV. Another and maybe more important reason is that the cable industry is taking steps to make advertising on its platform more targetable, interactive, and measureable – attributes that have attracted advertisers to the internet – with Canoe Ventures leading the way for the industry.
As the article mentions, they are “seeing less slowing in media that is more accountable and targetable,” and that the results (and measurement of those results) of ad campaigns are very important to marketers, maybe even more so than price.
Because of the connectivity that cable has to the home, cable is a great platform to enable advertising that is targetable, interactive, and measureable. Cable systems are already divided into geographic territories through their headend, hub, and node structure. VOD, for example, is divided into service groups made up of a few nodes where a separate QAM channel feeds only those homes in the node. Using this structure, the cable industry already sends different ads to or tags the same ad with different content for different geographic areas. With VOD, switched digital video (SDV), or applications in the set top box, cable can extend this targeting to the subscriber level.
In addition, the ability to overlay graphics on top of a video program coupled with mechanisms such as EBIF to encapsulate and transmit the content of these graphics is a great way to enable interactivity on the television screen. Cable systems can also gather measurement information such as viewing data from set tops, knowing if and when an ad was inserted in the network or set top, click through data, and time spent on interactivity – all of which are very important to advertisers.
All of these capabilities allow the cable industry to create a new ad platform with the highly desirable attributes of targeting, interactivity, and measurability that are causing such upheavals in the advertising industry guaranteeing a bright future for cable television advertising.