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Chris WelshVP of TV and Sport for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)MPP Global Solutions
MPP Global Solutions, a media agency focusing on digital video, is seeing traditional broadcasters in the UK offering over-the-top (OTT) functionality so that audiences can view traditional TV content on the go. eMarketer’s Sean Creamer spoke with Chris Welsh, vice president of TV and Sport for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at MPP Global, about the efforts of traditional broadcasters to reach digitally savvy audiences.
eMarketer: How are traditional UK broadcasters adopting to audience fragmentation?
Chris Welsh: We’re seeing a lot of free-to-air broadcasters such as BBC, ITV and Channel 4 allowing customers to access content across any device and channel through TV everywhere functionality.
Years ago, OTT and connected TVs weren’t cannibalizing the direct-to-home market. But now Sky regularly cross-sells their own OTT service, which is called Now TV. We’re even seeing Sky sports packages cross-selling day passes and week passes for sports content and bundles online.
eMarketer: What role do you see traditional TV advertising playing for marketers in the UK?
Welsh: Linear TV here focuses on mass marketing, hitting over 90% of the UK population each week, according to Nielsen. Linear TV numbers are remaining pretty consistent—there’s over three hours of linear TV content consumed on every big screen in the UK per day. If you’re selling packages to males between the ages of 18 to 34 during live football games, there’s a good chance you’ll hit the right audience. With the move to OTT, the free-to-air operators now want to learn more about their audience.
eMarketer: How does OTT digital video advertising help marketers learn about their audiences?
Welsh: Marketers and advertisers have a great opportunity with digital video to draw more intelligence about the users. They can access their behavioral intelligence, see what they’ve consumed in the past, send push notifications within particular geolocations for mobile audiences. They’re also trying to get users to register for access to more content.
As a service operator, the data allows them to provide relevant content to that user’s particular location. By collecting registration data, they’re starting to create a CRM [customer relationship management] profile about these users. For the viewers on the go, this information provides demographic insight that they can share with their advertising partners.
eMarketer: How are free-to-air broadcasters monetizing their content in novel ways?
Welsh: Advertising will continue to be a big cash cow for the traditionally free-to-air broadcasters in the UK, but they’re also starting to put content behind a pay wall. For instance, ITV in the UK had a pay-per-view boxing event recently, which is something that they’ve never done before. This will continue as traditional free-to-air broadcasters collect more data to provide content and monetize it through direct-to-consumer revenues.
eMarketer: How are marketers in the linear TV space working with social media?
Welsh: With a relatively low production cost, they can get their content out to a large audience via social channels. Social media is part of an initial strategy for greater exposure, which will then generate advertising and direct-to-consumer revenues in the full course of time.
We’re also seeing brands capitalize on second-screening via Twitter, where we see a lot of advertisements. We see conversations being grouped while live linear content is aired.
eMarketer: Outside of Twitter, what platforms are advertisers leveraging in the UK?
Welsh: On the social stream side of things, Facebook Live will have a huge part to play. YouTube has been the most dominant platform over the last 10 years, but I think that Facebook’s probably going to want to compete with them head on, and certainly in live content around events and sporting events initially.
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