The New Media – Television: The revolution is still being televised, by DMI’s Ahmad Saeed Al Mansoori

Television has seen new habits come from the Covid-19 experience, combined with the growth of alternative screens. TV continues to be a crucial marketing asset.

By Ahmad Saeed Al Mansoori, CEO of radio and TV sector, Dubai Media Incorporated.

Within the rapidly transforming world of media, television stands out as a true giant, a medium which, despite the whirlwind of changes shaping its surroundings, continues to adapt, evolve and capture the attention of audiences and advertisers alike.

Looking at the TV from the consumer (viewership) perspective, it would be safe to highlight the growing importance of viewers’ preferences for quality content. From an industry standpoint, the war for content is not merely a passing concern but a definitive race that will potentially decide TV’s most sought-after future players and platforms. From entertainment to news offerings, sports and beyond, broadcasters are pulling out all the stops to develop high-quality, innovative, highly engaging content that will meet the viewing preferences, tastes and expectations of wider audiences.

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On the global front, leading broadcasters, networks and production companies are witnessing an unprecedented wave of acquisitions, consolidation drives and collaborative partnerships aimed at cementing their content capabilities. This drive for exclusive offerings is not only pushing industry standards and setting new benchmarks all the time, but is also helping media owners to stand out, reiterate their identity, make a mark and outperform the proliferation of competition. This shift is surfacing on the regional and local levels, and there’s no end currently in sight.

But beyond the focus on content, what has truly changed the most for consumers – and even more so in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has given rise to a host of new television viewership and media consumption behaviours – is their desire for greater accessibility. Long gone are the days of TV being restricted to a single screen. Today, consumers seek out their favourite content on a variety of platforms, spanning VOD, AVOD, SVOD, social media, and that too across various telco providers and a wide spectrum of devices. This desire to consume content whenever they like, and wherever they please, has compelled publishers to strengthen their cross-platform distribution strategies and provide more touchpoints. The massive boom in OTT, which is being witnessed today, will undoubtedly ensure that TV continues to thrive as an ever-larger, constantly evolving video ecosystem.

From the perspective of brands and advertisers, TV continues to be a crucial asset for marketers, delivering a powerful combination of opportunities that supplement the effectiveness and impact of campaigns. These include sponsorships and placement integrations. Brands are also placing a greater emphasis on tracking for efficiencies, bringing about a heightened focus on monitoring and measurability tools. This becomes even more relevant as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to place greater pressure on economies and market dynamics.

TV revenues today are being upheld by a multitude of brand partners, some traditional TV loyalists and others who are coming around to discover TV’s latest reincarnation as a powerful performance marketing tool. At the moment, advertisers who are embracing a proactive approach to positioning themselves correctly and are preparing to take advantage of opportunities in a post-Covid-19 world are TV’s main lifeblood. Budgets are still being allocated in support of new products and launches. TV is also maintaining its place as a vital ingredient in the marketing mix for brands employing a holistic, 360-degree approach.

Looking to the immediate future,
TV revenues stand to follow global economic trends. This means that budget allocations could suffer declines if another wave of the pandemic brings about recessionary conditions and stifles economic activity and consumer sentiments. On the flip side, should the pandemic begin to display positive containment, consumers who had curtailed their spending throughout
the lockdown periods and ended up saving money at home would be looking to go out and spend. This could potentially lead to a very healthy economic upswing.

As far as offerings are concerned, series formats are now at the forefront and have become a top priority for broadcasters. This trend is sustained on both a global and local level and supported by the shift in viewer habits
as well.