Brandon Berger, Ogilvy & Mather’s worldwide chief digital officer, says broadcasters need to adopt new strategies that work in a world where half of consumers say they can’t find anything to watch on linear TV; their average attention span is down to eight seconds; and the world’s 7.3 billion inhabitants have more mobile phone subscriptions (7.6 billion) than toothbrushes (4.2 billion). The key, he says, is compelling storytelling, which is still the backbone of television.
Broadcasters Must Be Nimble To Survive
With technology and consumer demand changing at a breakneck pace, broadcasters have to “live in a world of speed and agility” to flourish in today’s media business, an industry leader said Thursday.
“It isn’t about mobile phones, or vertical video, or short-form video. It’s about testing, being nimble and being fast,” said Brandon Berger, Ogilvy & Mather’s worldwide chief digital officer.
“You may think you have all the time in the world, but it is so easy for companies to go extinct,” he said.
Speaking at the Content & Communications World conference in New York, Berger said broadcasters need to adopt new strategies that work in a world where half of consumers say they can’t find anything to watch on linear TV; their average attention span is down to eight seconds; and the world’s 7.3 billion inhabitants have more mobile phone subscriptions (7.6 billion) than toothbrushes (4.2 billion).
Throw in the fact that digital media has made ad inventory, once a scarcity that broadcasters banked on, unlimited, and that the core premise of advertising — brand messaging — is being usurped by strategies like content marketing and, as Berger put it, “Your jobs are hard.”
However, Berger said, there are a number of ways that broadcasters can use to maximize their relevance as both content providers and vehicles for advertising, ranging from implementing new strategies to changing mindsets.
Acknowledging that mobile is today’s No. 1 platform, and factoring that into what kind of content is created, as well as how it’s formatted, distributed and consumed, is “more important now than ever before,” he said.
“This is not the year, not the month, not the day of the mobile,” Berger said. “If you are not thinking mobile first, you are going to miss it.”
Adopting business models to new realities — that broadcasters no longer can control the distribution of their content, and are competing against YouTubers as much as other TV programmers among them — is also essential, he said. In doing so, broadcasters will be better equipped to compete in a world where Nielsen ratings aren’t the only thing that matters, and some guy with an iPhone can snag viewers.
“Content needs to be set free. It has to be delivered to all audiences regardless of how it’s created,” he said. Once that’s done, broadcasters can boost their position by measuring their content’s cross-platform performance, he said.
All of that can provide broadcasters another key to staying relevant, especially with advertisers: harness data to offer targeted advertising.
In doing so, broadcasters can once again offer advertisers a scarce resource — the ability to reach very specific consumers that aren’t necessarily going to be reached by far-reaching campaigns.
“As broadcasters you can create so much scarcity by using data effectively,” Berger said. “It changes the game.”
Yet, although it may need to be tweaked to meet new consumption habits, and to jibe with dwindling attention spans, compelling storytelling is still the backbone of television.
“This is not an option. It’s a survival skill,” Berger said. “All this stuff in technology really is the enabler. At the end of the day, storytelling is the most important thing.”
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