In the last couple of years, streaming platforms have taken over from linear TV as the most popular way for audiences to get their entertainment fix, and the pandemic has only accelerated this process.
The digital switch is in full swing and most content is consumed over the internet or via over-the-top (OTT). It’s important to distinguish the different types of streaming platforms and we need to emphasise that there’s more out there than just subscriber-supported platforms (SVOD), such as Netflix, which generate their income solely from subscribers.
The theory that streaming platforms mean the end of the classic commercial is incorrect.
The theory that streaming platforms mean the end of the classic commercial is incorrect. Most TV networks already offer the possibility to view their own content via a streaming platform, mainly with commercial breaks that can no longer be fast-forwarded. New platforms, mainly the smaller or local ones, choose the ad-supported formula (AVOD), which offer their content for free by including commercials.
Above: The near future will see advertisers better able to target specific customers vis streaming services.
I am convinced that AVOD platforms will continue to grow in number and I believe that, while it’s unthinkable that the bigger players will take the leap from SVOD to AVOD, in the future, the majority of streaming platforms will remain ad-supported.
Telling a story, stirring up an emotion or connecting with the viewer is, in my opinion, still best done in a 30- to 60-seconds commercial.
It is an important challenge for advertisers to determine their place in the streaming chaos in the coming years. Besides it being impossible to be present as an advertiser on all platforms at the same time, it is especially problematic that the data from streaming platforms is sparse, especially around how, and in what way, advertising is done. Unlike Facebook and Google, where advertisers are given the opportunity to advertise in a highly targeted way, this is not yet the case for streaming platforms. I am convinced that this chaos will be resolved in the coming years, and it is inevitable that streaming platforms will allow advertisers to better target their consumers.
Because of the digital switch, there is a lot of experimentation going on with other formats of advertising. There is the much discussed branded content - which I do believe in, but which certainly has its limits, especially in smaller markets - but telling a story, stirring up an emotion or connecting with the viewer is, in my opinion, still best done in a 30- to 60-seconds commercial, where the more creative and original the idea, the more attention you can get from the consumer.
Moreover, the switch to AVOD platforms offers many possibilities to use these commercials in a smarter way. Instead of long commercial breaks that interrupt the content at inappropriate moments and often scare away the consumer, the more intelligent placement of a single commercial, before or after a program, or when the consumer presses the pause button, can only increase the attention for ads.
Above: The demise of the TV commercial as we know it has long been predicted, but streaming services won't sound its death knell.
A better diversification of commercials, or even limiting the amount of ads per hour, which has always been done much better in Europe than in the United States, will contribute to a higher consumption of commercial films. And just as is the case on social media channels, the possibility of tailored and targeted messages will become a trend that will be further explored and developed in the coming years.
The arrival of the internet was supposed to be the end of the TV commercial. But, today, there is more audiovisual content than ever before.
There was a time when articles and even whole books were written about the ‘death’ of the classic TV commercial. The arrival of the internet was supposed to be the end of the TV commercial. But, today, there is more audiovisual content than ever before. 'TV' is no longer being used as a preposition for 'commercial', and the range and variety of ways to ‘broadcast’ commercials have never been greater.
In the last two decades advertisers were in a rush to be present all over the place and at the same time, but quality and creativity were often lost. Today, they are mainly creating to give their brand an image again. This is only possible by continuing to create consistent and high-quality content. The chaos of streaming platforms and targeted advertising will also find its place in history, just as it did before with the rise of the various classic TV channels, or with the introduction of the internet.
As far as the production of ads is concerned, I predict only bright years to come, with even more creativity and more quality. Whether you like it or not, a commercial film is here to stay and remains ‘King of Advertising’.