TV And Internet Do Their Mating Dance At Edinburgh

The TV industry is gathering in Edinburgh this week to revel in its awesomeness, and to front up to online services which want their content.

For MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival attendees, Deloitte is releasing a survey showing TV ads are far more effective than online ads.

  • 58 percent of survey respondents say TV is the most influential ad medium, 15 percent say newspapers, magazines 14 percent alongside email.
  • But only four percent say banner ads are most influential, just three percent for video and for search ads.
  • TV ads have the highest recall (80 percent), followed by cinema (three percent). No mention of other media.

That’s all very well – but, as TV and the internet continue their mating dance, it’s not necessarily comparing like with like. Deloitte’s media partner James Bates acknowledges: “Television adverts’ number one ranking is due to many factors including high production values for many television adverts and the fact that the UK public spends a quarter of its waking hours watching television.”

The TV industry is currently patting itself on the back because TV viewership is going up, not down – perhaps because of, not despite, technologies like PVR, online catch-up and social sharing.

“The thing the doom-mongers got most thoroughly wrong was their conviction that interaction would change the structure and character of television programmes,” writes BBC Vision director George Entwhistle.

So it is interesting that Eric Schmidt will use this year’s MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival keynote to make Google’s pitch for TV content to the industry’s content owners.

Tess Alps of Thinkbox, the organisation which communicates TV’s awesomeness to advertisers, writes her wishlist to Schmidt: “First, please understand that collaboration is how TV happens; it’s not a control-and-command industry … Second, please acknowledge – with more than words – how dependent your business is on all content industries.”

Yet Schmidt may not feel compelled to agree with some of what Alps is seeking. “When someone searches for ‘holidays in Spain’ after watching Rick Stein, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) earns revenue from paid search. Google hasn’t created desire, just capitalised on it.”

The implication is that Rick Stein or the producers and broadcasters that made and aired his show have a right to benefit from related searches viewers carry out. More power to the TV industry if it can win such a partnership – but arguing that is it a right will, frankly, be a difficult sell.

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