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Segmented Advertising Offers New Hope For Free-To-Air Networks

Over 9 million Australians are already using the smart technology devices required for selectively segmented television advertising, a Roy Morgan survey has found.

These types of services require smart TVs and streaming devices, yet Australia’s free-to-air broadcasters are only beginning to upgrade their own back-end technology to leverage connected devices such as smart TVs, streaming and set top boxes for personalised advertising.

Video on demand services such as Netflix, Stan and the free catch-up services offered by the free-to-air networks actually put the number of those who could potentially receive a targeted advertising service at a number closer to 14.5 million. This includes those already using services including Foxtel, Fetch, Google Play, YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, Bigpond, and the networks’ catch-up services such as ABC’s iView.

Having said that, there’s no shortage of technical hurdles that would need to be overcome, as well as audience resistance to new forms of advertising across those services. Netflix and Stan, for example, have a subscription-based, ad-free service, though Netflix has started experimenting with 30-second ads for new shows on its platform.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that, while the growth of digital services has upended the TV networks’ traditional revenue streams, they were starting to fight back against the digital giants, starting with a major upgrade of their digital capabilities and services.

“The rise of digital advertising has dominated the media landscape in recent years. It now represents a majority of the $16 billion+ Australian advertising market up from virtually nothing two decades ago.

“The attraction of digital advertising has increasingly revolved around the ability to advertise directly and to selecting targeted consumers with one-to-one marketing that traditional media has until now been unable to offer.”

The major potential of addressable TV advertising, she adds, is that Australia’s TV broadcasters can now identify and target households based on specific criteria and tailor advertising accordingly. “This means that they can potentially play on a level playing field with digital competitors such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube and others,” she adds.

“In addition, the ubiquitious nature of advanced digital devices across the Australian marketplace means over 95% of Australians technically have addressable TV capable devices* that for whatever reason are not currently configured for the service.

“The increasingly fast rate at which Australians adopt a multitude of new technologies does give great hope to traditional broadcasters developing addressable TV as a viable competitor to newer digital-centred services. Australians have shown an increasing willingness to try out new technologies and all the evidence from the marketplace shows that if done correctly addressable TV can be a formidable step forward for traditional broadcasters.”


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