Is TV Advertising Dead?

by Matt Dunstan

The ‘evolving media market’ has been the hot topic at most marketing events over the last 12 months. It’s essentially a fancy way of discussing how people will consume media in the future and how marketeers will use this knowledge to sell their product.

An interesting statistic I heard recently was that 40 percent of people using their laptop in the home at night are also watching television at the same time. Makes sense I guess? Watch a bit of TV, do a few Google searches, pay a few bills yadda yadda…

For me, this is changing the way we promote our products and services. If we’re running an ad on TV for a new product, then we must make sure that we also have an organic search firing, maybe some targeted display advertising, a comment in social media and a great web page with all the details and an easy way to sign up!

So is the TV market dead? I don’t think so but I do think the way that we watch TV is changing and the power is shifting from the network to the viewer. People will watch the show when they want (catch up TV, downloads from itunes, PVRs), where they want (on a mobile, laptop on the bus) and given the range of content available, they now have greater choice and the ability to ignore messaging that they don’t feel is relevant or engaging.

Recently, we ran a successful campaign called ‘Top Geek’. The objective was simple – a celebration of what makes us who we are and a call to arms for others who share our passion. We didn’t create the campaign with the initial aim of it being a Twitter success, but it turned out that way because the audience of the messages we were providing love to engage on Twitter. To exaggerate the point, if we had made television commercials to support out Top Geek competition it would have been expensive and wasteful.

There is no doubt that when we (at iiNet) are planning marketing campaigns these days, it is as much about how are we going to execute it online and create a conversation via social media as it is about booking the traditional 30-second TV commercial spots.

Essentially it comes down to the same questions that have always existed – who is your audience? What is the compelling information you have to share with them?  And how do they want to engage with you?

Social media has been a great way for consumers to stay in touch with brands that they enjoy, and likewise has given those brands, and the people who manage them, an opportunity to gain insights and engagement that has often been hard to get. The same basic rules apply though – if you’re not relevant to me, you’re out of my life. It’s just these days the break-up often happens by a quick click of the mouse.


  1. moira hendry says:

    May 3, 2011

    Is TV Advertising Dead

    No but it should be as far too long and annoying – and yes i am one of those who have TV on when working on Laptop on occasions

  2. Michael says:

    Yes, TV advertising is pretty much dead.

    These days, I rarely watch anything ‘live’ except for major events, or rolling coverage of breaking news. Everything else I record with my PVR (MythTV) and watch later, with the very easy ability to skip the ads. In fact, my setup automatically skips them unless I choose to watch them.

    The rest of my ‘tv’, I get from iView (especially given it’s quota free in the iiNet freezone), ad free.

    I suspect that I’m not alone in this, and that this is where we’ll be in ten or so years’ time; it’s really a similar phenomenon to the decline of ads since the invention of the VHS recorder, but easier, so it’ll end up being more widespread. There may be a market for ads during the news or live coverage of sporting events, and maybe the masterchef final, but ads during, say, futurama are on the way out.

    On the other hand, ads in web-based tv catch up services (such as that operated by channel ten, where they split the program you’ve missed up into segments and play an un-skippable ad video in between each), will probably still have a market, as will the video ads on web pages (like you see on the age website on occasion).