TV spend competes with 'demand'

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With fewer big, mass-market brands and pharmaceutical companies seeking cost savings all around, will video-on-demand (VOD) and other more targeted cable advertising vehicles sap spending on network TV?  

Stephen Trask, MT,
SVP, group strategic planner,
Pharma marketers need to focus resources on those channels that consumers trust and use. VOD is not mainstream now, but within the next four years the number of VOD-enabled households is expected to explode to about 71 million. This strong rate will continue to create both a challenge and an opportunity over the coming years. Consumers today seek out drug and health info that is relevant to them and their family members. Combine this with the fact that consumers are actually influencing and changing the provider-patient dialogue, and it becomes evident that pharmas are ideally situated to become a trusted source of disease and treatment info for patients and caregivers. To capitalize on VOD, marketers not only need to understand where their audience is, but must also develop compelling enough content to engage their audience and impact the patient-provider dialogue.

David Zaritsky,
Managing director, pharmaceutical markets, 
Harte-Hanks, Inc. 
The context in which a consumer views your ad sets the tone for the relationship you have with that consumer. For smaller brands—without the mass-market appeal of statins, PPIs, antidepressants or other blockbusters of the 90s—that context should be on a targeted cable network or a specific VOD program. You're no longer saying to the world at large, “We have something that will lower your cholesterol or prevent acid reflux.” In fact, you're no longer simply pushing out messages; you're trying to build a relationship grounded in trust, a sense of community, and even something like mutual respect. These are things that network TV is not particularly good at providing. All of which means that VOD, social networking, mobile messaging and targeted cable likely HAVE to be a larger part of the communications mix going forward.

Beth Harper Gray,
SVP, Media Strategist,
inVentiv Communications
More than likely, yes. This shift in share from broadcast to cable has been an ongoing phenomenon. As for VOD, it is relatively untested, unproven and a stretch for media teams to sell to their clients. I believe that money will continue to move from network broadcast to cable as a targeting efficiency. Whether or not money shifts to some of the emerging technologies will depend on two issues— their ability to quantify the metrics and show a return against a well-distributed audience AND the agency's ability to create appropriate assets. We need to move from “TV shoots” to “content shoots.” Enabling video portability will in turn enable increased use of non-traditional media outlets. What has been interesting in my experience is that dollars shifted to emerging technologies have come primarily from print, not broadcast. TV has continued to thrive in spite of everyone's call for its demise. 

Andrew Capone,
SVP, marketing and business development, 
I think network TV will remain important to pharma and mass market advertisers. But brands require more intense consumer engagement and campaign effectiveness than in the past. Targeted spot cable complements national and local marketing efforts by using bundled on-air, online and on-demand platforms to put brands in front of very specific consumers. NCC's SMART Plan system builds customized, integrated media plans using up to 60 networks, 209 distinct markets and thousands of targeted geographic zones. We are launching MyLife On Demand, a free health and wellness VOD channel. It will provide opportunities to sponsor relevant, on-demand health programming and deliver long-form product messages to consumers who request them. 
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