TV and online: a classic tale of girl meets boy

I can’t resist a good love story me. Girl meets boy; boy says something stupid; girl is annoyed but forgives boy because we all make mistakes and he didn’t mean it really; boy sees error of his ways and realises girl is the one for him; girl and boy live happily ever after; babies. I’m weepy just thinking about it.

This is much like TV and the internet, where TV is the girl. Yes it is. Don’t argue.

You see, back in the bad old days, some internetty-techy types would sometimes say stupid things, like how they were replacing telly or stuff like that. TV was a bit annoyed because she knew the internet was the one for her, both as a way to distribute her (fnar) but also because of his host of complementary media that made her an even more enjoyable experience. Eventually his language of replacement turned to the language of love as more and more evidence of TV and the internet being made for each other emerged. They finally snogged, mated and gave birth to a brood of exciting advertising opportunities. The end.

Or rather the beginning, as this relationship is still in its early days.

I’m put in mind of this heart-warming story because of the new TV ad revenue figures for the UK which are out today. The online world is now not just a brilliant way to watch TV and a multi-faceted complement to TV; it is also a major investor in TV advertising itself. This is love on many levels. My mascara is running.

Because when you scrutinise the figures – or, rather, you ask someone else to – a notable trend in TV advertising in recent years has been the increasing investment from online brands and services, such as Amazon, Google, Netflix, and – the most recent convert – Facebook.

Based on data from Nielsen, when online brands and services are grouped together they form the second biggest spending category on TV. In fact their TV investment has doubled since 2010 to over £400 million. According to Nielsen, in 2014 Amazon and Google each invested £10.5 million in TV advertising in the UK for their online services and Netflix invested £8.5 million – all increases on previous years. Yes Google and Netflix like to sometimes say things about TV, but I suspect they protest too much. They clearly love telly really.

This increased online investment has contributed to total TV ad revenue in the UK increasing by 6% in 2014 to reach a new record high of £4.91 billion. This is the fifth consecutive year that TV ad revenue has grown in the UK, and the Advertising Association/Warc predicts TV ad revenue to grow by 5.5% in 2015.

And, while I’m dishing out the stats, here’s another: there were 800 new or returning advertisers to TV in 2014 (that’s returning after no TV advertising for at least five years), according to Nielsen and Sky’s AdSmart data.  This included the likes of Ryanair, and Swinton Insurance. Advertisers are rightly smitten with TV. What’s not to love?


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