ThinkTV panel: CMOs are too focused on digital media spend

Panel of TV executives hit back at social media and digital channels and argue the effectiveness case for broadcast TV

CMOs are mistakenly being judged on their ability to invest in “fashionable” new digital media channels instead of the demonstrable commercial returns that TV delivers, Channel 7’s CEO claims.

Speaking on a panel at today’s ReThinkTV conference debating the ongoing value of TV advertising, Tim Worner called on marketing leaders to put the emphasis back on TV because it’s the media that “gets the tills ringing”.

“Not many CMOs get a new job because they said they spend more on TV, they’re more likely to get employed because they tried something new and fashionable online,” the chief executive said. “That’s sad. They should be measuring in the same way content is measured: Does it work? Does it get tills ringing? Does it get foot traffic in the stores?

“We’re happy to be measured on that, and we think the whole [media] industry should be as well.”

In a direct swipe at social media giant, Facebook, and its ongoing reporting errors, Worner said he “felt sorry” for CMOs trying to wade through the convoluted array of metrics offered in the market today.

“Not only are they [CMOs] dealing with apparently dodgy numbers, CMOs have an even shorter tenure than media CEOs in Australia,” he continued. “There is so much being thrown at them in terms of what works. The fact of the matter is that nothing works like TV. In the end you have to be able to trust your numbers.”

Ten Network CEO, Paul Anderson, agreed marketers are in danger of focusing on new and less proven media but also said the TV industry needed to do more to demonstrate its ongoing value.

“We have customers spending 80 per cent of their budget on TV, yet they’re walking the corridors of their businesses talking about digital,” he said. “We need to change that. The question that needs to be asked is: Does the spend on TV work for your business? We know the answer is yes, so we need to find a way to make TV cool.”

Nine Entertainment Co CEO, Hugh Marks, also urged advertisers to demand transparency of their media suppliers.

“Our measurement is laser like; it’s accurate to the moment of what audience is consuming our content,” he claimed. “Our numbers are average over an entire TV program. I challenge all other media to measure same standard as we do.”

Worner said it was time TV channel owners hit back at the “numberwanging” being used against the media channel.

One of the ways the industry is endeavouring to do this is through the ThinkTV research body, which is in the midst of a $1 million study in Australia into TV advertising effectiveness.According to its first tranche of findings for the FMCG sector released this week, broadcast TV is the only media to generate a positive return on investment, with every $1 spent generating value of $1.74.

“Online, in particular, have marketed their wares really well and set out to attack us,” Worner said. “Social networks have suggested carving off TV spend and spending with them. This is our response – to be evidence based. We are going to attack.”

Foxtel CEO, Peter Tonagh, was also keen to see marketers gain better access to the right data to make the right decisions.

“We need to provide evidence to support our convictions. We need to help CMOs to have the arguments and prove that TV makes the tills ring,” he said. “If our figures were out by 55 per cent, we would be hammered.”

Panellists also debated the growing trend of more targeted advertising, another perceived strength of digital channels. In response, Marks defended the importance of mass media reach in delivering effectiveness.

“All the reach and effectiveness comes from the fact that we reach mass audiences,” he added. “Focusing on one segment too much would be the death of that.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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