Digital vs TV. Can’t We All Just Be Friends?

james-authorBy James Clifton (@cliffioo)


I was reading an interesting article the other day about how “Digital beats TV for Christmas ad viewing as 40% mums watch online” referring to the launch of the latest 2014 Christmas TV ad campaigns.

This got me thinking. Obviously in my world, digital has long beaten TV as the main medium for watching content. Not having to sit through reams of adverts and of course being able to watch anything, anywhere.

However there is still something that’s nice about curling up in front of the TV on a Monday night and watching Game of Thrones live as and when it is aired throughout the rest of the country. Namely a big advantage of not having the risk of accidentally reading something you shouldn’t know about on social media, thus ruining the surprise aspect of a given episode.

But as our lives become more and more engrossed in the digital ecosystem, whether that be using Netflix or Sky Go / On Demand services, or any one of a number of other Digital services that we, as consumers, can now use, I can sense that there is a big shift in the way brands are communicating to their consumers, and thus where those budgets are being spent.

John Wren, chief executive of Omnicom, one of the world’s biggest advertising companies, recently said;


“When it comes to TV, there has been, I’d say, a shift. . . . [If] you went back a couple of years, there was an urgency on the part of clients to make certain that they didn’t miss out on the programming that they wanted. With all of the various choices how to reach the audiences you need to reach today and our ability to do it, there wasn’t that urgency [this year].”


He then continues to discuss the fact that TV budgets are “being diverted into other areas”. This is only a good thing for digital, in terms of integration with brands and their consumers via various different devices.

Over the past year or so there has been a great deal of integration with the live TV programming itself and the digital devices that are in the consumer’s hands. For instance, I am a big cricket fan, and it was fantastic to see that during last year’s (2013) Ashes tour, Sky Sports launched a second-screen application for the tournament. The app gave users the same match analysis technology that was being used by the Sky Commentary Team during live matches. This meant that we could actively see statistics as each ball was being bowled and hit, we could even watch a ‘Hawk-eye’ (virtual prediction of a ball’s route and destination) review for every single ball bowled.

Integration like this with Live TV and digital devices is certainly the future, if not now the present. Many TV shows are now integrating mobile applications with their TV shows, allowing for greater interactivity and involvement with what’s on screen. Notably more recently the X-Factor, a talent show which has now spread across the world, releasing an app allowing users to rate acts, predict what the judges will say and gain points by doing so, view extra behind-the-scenes content and also vote for their favourite acts. It’s integration like this that keeps the user interested and coming back for more each week.


The Shift

TV has shifted and they can’t just solely rely on great content on the screen now to bring viewers in. As well as great content, they now need to be thinking multi-platform and how they can draw in the viewers and keep them there, integrating progression into the mobile devices, making them come back for more, much like many mobile games do currently.

In terms of content viewing percentages, in the coming years I am confident that TV will take a big hit, especially with more on demand services being offered year on year. Exclusive and live content such as sport and premieres of new series episodes will be the main thing that is keeping viewers glued to their TVs at night, rather than catching up with their favourite shows on the commute via their mobile devices.

How do you like to keep up to date with your favourite shows? Do you catch up on demand or do you prefer to be up-to-date and watch the battle of the seven kingdoms live? Why not drop me a tweet at @cliffioo


sources: The Drum | Financial Times)