TV’s Future is Fragmented, Non-Linear and Addressable

Mike Bologna sits at the intersection of the media advertising industry’s present and future. Originally a digital media planner at MEC, Mike left the world of ad banners and founded MEC’s emerging communications department where he focused on creating interactive television opportunities for clients. Now the director of emerging communications for GroupM, he has the ear of some of the largest and most powerful buyers of television advertising in the U.S. Mike has a unique and compelling perspective on where the television industry is headed. He recently shared his views with us.

The Makegood: Mike, the number of TV screens seems to be expanding. Where are things headed?

MB: Considering that there are now six screens (Linear TV, VOD, FEP, Tablets, Smartphones and Connected TV’s) available for viewing TV programming things are getting more complex by the minute. The devices increase overall viewership but also add to fragmentation. We believe that over the next three years up to 15% of all video viewing will happen on a non-linear basis.

The Makegood: That’s fascinating, Mike. Given this, do you think that all video advertising will eventually fall under the domain of the “grown ups,” i.e. veteran agency TV buyers?

MB: I am not sure that the implementation of all video will ever fall under a single domain but I do see it becoming much more structured, integrated and organized. For example, full episodic programming – regardless of the screen – should be traded in a single format using a single source of measurement.

The Makegood: A few years ago you predicted that Tivo was history and that all MSO’s (Multiple System Operators) would have their own DVR solution. That  seems to have come true. Where has time shifting netted out?

MB: The distribution of Tivo boxes has certainly fallen but collectively DVR penetration has reached just north of 38% of U.S. TV Households. Although often misinterpreted – we have all read the scary data around commercial avoidance –  we now have the tools in place to track an advertiser’s schedule in both DVR and non-DVR homes and the results are quite refreshing. On average, in a DVR home frequency is down and we lose a few GRP’s but overall reach is generally not compromised.

The Makegood: Any other prescient predictions?

MB: After 6+ years of talking we are finally beginning to see an addressable solution take place. Over the next six months we could insert at a household level to over 15 million homes. This is a very important step towards reducing waste in television.

The Makegood: How will the much-discussed upcoming sale of Hulu impact the industry?

MB: There are really only a handful of companies who are in a position to acquire Hulu and regardless of the winner it will impact our business. The thing to keep in mind is that Hulu is nothing without the content that it provides and they don’t own or produce any of it. The future of Hulu will be a calculated decision and will operate under a business model that is economically responsible for all parties. This will not be another Napster.

The Makegood: I think I know the answer to this but do you ever miss the ad banner business?

MB: Me? No way. But a lot has chanced since I placed my first ad on behalf of I love this business and get really excited about applying much of what we learned from the Web to television. And vice versa.

The Makegood: We love it too, Mike. Thanks for your time!