There’s a revolution going on in TV-land and that time you spend with that big screen in your living room is changing rapidly. Here’s particular themes to consider and what it might mean for marketing.

Second Screening TV to School of Rock


‘Over-the-top’ (OTT) or ‘Cord Cutting’ as a concept has more currency Stateside where cable holds sway. But it is happening here in Europe too as people cotton on to the fact they can consume TV or film content with a direct relationship with the rights-holder or intermediary platform.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and Apple Movies, are all examples of products rapidly gaining traction as fast broadband allows the consumer to subscribe or access content ‘over-the-top’ of the usual linear TV platform we’ve all been used to.

In the US, Netflix were found to be the cause of half of the 3% decline in linear TV consumption in 2015. This same study predicts that Netflix’s total streaming hours, as a percentage of TV viewing will continue to rise to about 14% by 2020.

Customers can easily start to filter down to what they want to consume. Why would a customer consider a costly subscription to Sky or Virgin Media – paying for a load of channels and content you never watch – when they can access all the movies they want on Netflix? You can see why Sky launched the standalone Now TV product and are trying to add more bells and whistles to their offering with the Sky Q box.

Time Shifting 

Essentially time shifting – or watching programmes when you want to – or skipping the ads is nothing new, Sky+ and TiVo are starting to knock on a bit. But there’s an ongoing shift as connected TVs and devices make the watching of TV on demand rather on schedule more the norm.

Scheduling and appointment to view TV goes out of the window as people decide to watch what they want and when. Of course there are a few standout shows such as Downton Abbey that can buck the trend – but then again there’s nothing stopping you watching in near real-time by recording as you go allowing you to skip the ads and sponsor bumpers…

In 2015 Sky put the live TV viewing figure at 80%, though predicted it would drop to 40-50% by 2020.

With fewer people watching ad breaks, then there are a whole load of ads going unwatched (even though ads are these days designed to still have some impact as you watch them on fast forward) meaning creative, planners and buyers are going to be scratching their collective heads even more.

Generational Division

Generation Y – and even more so Generation Z – don’t sit down and watch linear TV like us ancient folk. Even on time-shift. If you speak to anyone with tween/teenage children and I’ll wager they’ll tell you that their offspring are far more likely to be found watching videos on YouTube (possibly up in their bedroom) then ever be found on the sofa along with Mum & Dad Gogglebox style.

81% of US millennials fall into this bracket and younger millennials have an even greater propensity. When they do want the sit down and watch the box (well along with Snapchatting, etc) for the fuller cinematic experience than on a tablet – then Netflix is the go-to with 79% of US millennials.

Concerned parents should not confuse this with the term “Netflix & chill” as that’s another thing entirely…

There will soon be an entire generation whose media consumption history is very different to those that have gone before. TV advertising is not going to reach these kids. They have different versions of celebrity. KSI, Caspar Lee and Zoella are the sorts of people these kids care about. Yep, who they?

Box Set Bingeing

With the advent of TV on demand, whole series (sorry, we’ve now adopted the American ‘season’ now haven’t we?) are available at the push of a few buttons.

This is great for instant gratification. That annoying cliffhanger in Lost? Not an issue, just watch the next episode. Addicted to Game of Thrones? Feed that addiction at will. But what that’s created is the whole concept of a multi-episode gorging on drama series. I have spoken to people who freely admit to spending entire days in their pyjamas hovering up box sets-worth of Mad Men.

Perhaps this one’s an opportunity: Just Eat, Papa Johns, Dominos, et al – go to it! These people haven’t got time for rustling up a meal for themselves; they’ve got Homeland Series 3 to keep them busy!


If you do manage to get a millennial to sit with you on the sofa and watch some TV with you – and live sport might give you half a chance still – then chances are they’ll only be partly with you even if they can impressively text whilst not looking at their phone.

We’re all guilty of this one: noodling away on a tablet or smartphone at the same time. In some contexts this is augmentation of the content you are seeing on screen – live tweeting Question Time is quite a thing; live in-match stats analysis during the football – Squawka do this well; giving yourself spoilers by looking up an actor profile on IMDB during a film and getting sucked into reading the synopsis…

According to Edelman, 39% of Brits will multi-screen for live sports, 33% will for national crises and 32% for mere entertainment shows.

I know some great companies that have developed business in monitoring sentiment and checking ad campaign performance from analysis of social data around TV programming.

Programme makers and advertisers can see in real-time (if time-shifting isn’t going on) the views of the viewing public using these tools or simply check spikes of traffic to their sites when a piece of content or ad strikes a chord with an audience with the phone or tablet available as a means of checking out the wider context.

Advertisers need to be beware though. Ham-fisted ‘forced’ hashtags with branding don’t tend to work very well though for advertisers trying to insert themselves into the conversation.

What Next?

That’s just a few concepts that are changing the way content makers and advertisers need to approach TV. There’s plenty more to chew on another time – use of user data for more than one. Until then… that’s all folks!

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