Advertisers: TV Ads Ain't What They Used to Be

UPDATE: The Multichannel News/B&C event scheduled for Wednesday morning in New York, Advanced Advertising: The Future is Now, has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, from 3-6 p.m. because of the impending winter storm. The venue is still the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.


The lament is familiar: 62% of major advertisers polled say TV advertising has become less effective in the last two years.

That’s according to a survey of 104 U.S. marketers, representing nearly $14 billion in media budgets, conducted by Forrester and the Association of National Advertisers released this week (see Clutter Cutting Into TV Ads’ Effectiveness: Forrester, ANA Survey).

And so TV’s share of the pie has dwindled, according to the survey: Marketers allocated 41% of their media budgets to TV in 2009, compared with 58% in 2008. Advertisers also are disenchanted with the current Nielsen status quo — again, not a new thing — with 82% of respondents expressing interest in ratings for individual commercials.

Can the industry right this ship, and make television ads and ad measurement more effective? There’s no shortage of ideas. The huge challenge has been building them into real businesses and making them scale.

For the large cable operators, Canoe promises to provide a national footprint for delivering interactive ads (actionable and more engaging, lead generation) and more targeted ads. At the same time, individual operators are charging ahead: Cablevision touted its debut of clickable 30-second spots last fall in the New York DMA as a rousing success. On the research side, the CIMM initiative is hoping to stoke the fires of new forms of measurement, including aggregated set-top box data.

So — those capabilities make TV ads more valuable, right? Well, maybe.

While 78% of advertisers said they’re interested in being able to target viewers more precisely, only 59% would be willing to pay a premium for it, according to the Forrester/ANA survey. Which means there’s some expectation that this should be a baseline capability. In short: Television advertising will have to evolve just to remain competitive.

On Wednesday, I’ll be moderating a discussion covering these topics — and more — at a joint Multichannel News/B&C event in New York, Advanced Advertising: The Future is Now.This event has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, from 3-6 p.m.

Speakers on my panel, “Instant, Clickable Engagement: Next-Generation TV Advertising,” include Time Warner Cable’s Joan Gillman, Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp.’s David Kline, Comcast Spotlight’s Mark Altschuler, SeaChange’s Yvette Kanouff and Rentrak’s Cathy Hetzel. Click here for more info.