ITV pitches TV’s ‘enduring resilience’ to marketers

Top executives from ITV have told advertisers not to be distracted by emerging media formats, such as VOD services, and remember the core reasons consumers watch TV at an event in London today (7 November), where they also took the opportunity to question the sustainability of emerging challengers such as Netflix.


Speaking on a panel session during at Mindshare’s future-gazing ”Huddle” event, executives from ITV’s programming and commercial teams reminded assorted marketers that although the broadcaster welcomed emerging trends, such as dual-screening, the main thing that gathered audiences looking for a “shared experience” was quality content.

Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of Television, said: “As you have more fragmentation and more choice [from VOD services like YouTube and iPlayer] the more you find audiences looking around for where they can find shared experiences.

“When YouTube arrived in a rush and we all thought we’d be watching cats slipping on banana skins, we couldn’t have been more wrong. People still want the proper stuff: [programming].

“Over the last ten years, the most remarkable thing has been the resilience of mainstream television.”

When quizzed on the emerging challenge of online platforms, Fincham questioned the “sustainability” of Netflix’s practice, alleging it does not share its viewing figures.

He said: “Netflix is the shiny new thing and clearly a challenger, but their calling card is the most conventional thing ever, and that’s a 12-part drama [House of Cards], which is a remake of a BBC drama from the 1990s.”

He went on to say: “I don’t see how they can sustain their strategy of not disclosing viewing numbers.

“In a world of disclosure and transparency, I don’t know how long that strategy is going to work.”

Also on the panel was Fru Hazlitt, ITV, managing director of commercial, online and interactive, who also urged marketers to be platform-agnostic when approaching their marketing strategies.

She said: “The technology has too loud a voice, it should be about how we’re going to use it to get people not to switch off to the message that we try to put across.

“Yes, it’s about using the technology but it’s also about remembering what galvanises people to buy things.”

When quizzed on how traditional broadcasters would monetise content in future given the emergence of trends such as dual-screening, she attempted to assure advertisers ITV would evolve with emerging consumer habits.

She added: “Our job is to create content, and then think of how to monetise that in a way that is right for the time.”

ITV’s comments came just a day after Channel 4 launched a new short form video hub 4Shorts and unveiled research to display the effectiveness of its video on demnad service 4oD.

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