Monday, March 7, 2011

The Future of TV branding Pt2

Since Part one of my future of branding post a few people have mentioned similar threads being discussed on the RedBee blog, as well as a very interesting Media Guardian debate on the broader topic of “The Future of TV” - which is well worth a listen.  So, this whole “future of channels/TV/media” seems to be part of some sort of zeitgeist....

Just to be clear, I am more interested to work out how branding agencies will survive in the future.  I think we can take it as read that new technologies will give us the power to do more and more sophisticated executions in-house.  With that, prices and budgets will continue to diminish - again that has already been happening for some time.

Instead I am wondering what kind of services will be offered by motion graphics and branding companies?  After talking to Georgia Cooke and Paul Wilkinson at Nuw, I felt pretty sure that content marketing consultancy was the way forward.  They both worked at MTV for many years - making strategy on how to market new content to viewers who only tuned in for an average of 3 mins at a time.  In that environment, promoting the channel was a luxury - content is king.

Although this graphic on the left comes form a presentation about Facebook commerce taking over from standard e-commerce, I think there are many parallels.  At the top you can see branding which kicks off Traffic generation and engagement.  As the YouTube generation come through - they will be watching the content with the cleverest marketing regardless of which “curator” (read "TV channel") put it there.  That’s why HBO is doing so well - they have focussed on quality content,  which is passed around the world with much more alacrity than Dale Winton’s Supermarket Sweep....(for example)

Where does this leave the humble branding company?  Well in my opinion they need to work out what they are branding - as the need (and budgets!) for on-air channel identity, diminishes, the work will switch to branding and promoting specific shows.  This could mean deciding the look, tone & logo of a show as well as devising marketing strategies for it that will play out on the many media channels available to it (including Toylets..but that’s another post).

If the show is marketed well, the viewing public will get to hear of it and then download/stream/watch it on satellite or whatever. As the viewing experience changes then this might lead to complimentary experience around the show - eg you watch a music video and then you can press a button and buy the song straight away, or have links to the artists website.  If the show tanks, it will be the fault of the branding agency and their marketing strategy.....

As for curation - that will be taken care of by recommendation services - similar to the recommended products you get when you buy something on Amazon - “those that watched Celebrity Desert Island Kitchens also watched...” or simply bloggers who spend all day reviewing content and sifting the best stuff (like the TV reviewers who work for newspapers & magazines already)

It’s all possible, what nobody has said is how far away it all is - I think that there will be at least another 5 years of “normal” telly watching in millions of homes and that Aunty Mavis and Uncle Derrick may never get an HD TV set, let alone connect it to their laptop in their lifetimes.  So, probably no need to panic, but better to evolve now than be one of the branding dinosaurs in a few years...
Does this sound like the future?  Let me know your thoughts.....

many thanks to people at Nuw,  4Creative, Wonder, The Council, Turquoise and Red Bee for help with this article.

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