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Industry Contributor 14 Apr 2021 - 3 min read

Seven sales boss: linear TV still carries clout but brands must utilise cross screen strategy to succeed

By Kurt Burnette, Chief Revenue Officer - Seven West Media

Seven's Chief Revenue Officer Kurt Burnette refutes the notion that one television model is being traded off for another, as streaming giants steal eyeballs and TV inventory tightens. He says marketers need to be open to the larger cross-screen capabilities on offer, rather than getting bogged down in linear being the only dominant investment channel.

"We aren’t at the point where the leverage of the broadcast dollar is less of a driver than an investment into BVOD. We view both as playing an extended and different role in the marketing mix. It’s all about working better together."

Kurt Burnette, Chief Sales Officer, Seven

Digiday has hit the nail on the head in raising the very real discussion television businesses must be having about their future. The reporting of total TV trading and our approach to it is crucial in determining what our industry will look like over the next 10 years and beyond. However, I cannot agree with the suggestion that one television model is being traded off for another – there is very much still a place for both linear and streaming in television’s future. 

The real challenge that television businesses, and media businesses at large, are looking to solve for marketers is how they can most effectively allocate their investment to have the most tangible impact on new and existing customers. That involves finding the correct mix across all viewing models, not deciding which single option is appropriate.

Looking at the retail sector for reference, while COVID accelerated digital sales, it also proved that in most cases the ideal model lies in finding harmony between brick-and-mortar and online – hence the rise of omnichannel retail. Optimum reach, impact and ultimately results are driven by finding ideal ways for both outlets to work together and better align with the consumer’s path to purchase, versus treating the outlets as separate entities. Television is no different.

When integrating client messaging across content or ads within premium long-form video, broadcast versus BVOD is often presented as a problem, rather than what it actually is: an opportunity.

As a broadcaster that reaches highly engaged audiences, we aim to present relevant solutions to clients as a combined package: one that is able to deliver the reach and scale of broadcast with the dynamics of digital.

Harnessing the unique power of linear TV’s mass reach and BVOD’s incremental reach and addressability is an opportunity advertisers cannot overlook. It provides a way to move seamlessly across the television landscape, following consumer behaviour across day parts and across devices, eventually in real time optimisation. We aren’t at the point where the leverage of the broadcast dollar is less of a driver than an investment into BVOD. We view both as playing an extended and different role in the marketing mix. It’s all about working better together.

We are also looking to provide optionality and incrementality. Earnings from our BVOD and digital businesses are growing rapidly, and will continue to grow, but broadcast is still the big engine that drives our business and financials.

Having said that, I’m pretty sure our customers don’t want to use our corporate strategy and targets as a guide for how to invest on our medium. They want to see and be part of an engaged, long-form, premium total video audience proposition. Audiences are shifting, but the value or consumer action our content can deliver has not: total video is a strong proposition, it is evolving and it is future facing.

Clients want to reach their customers. They want scale and, at the same time, they want to get granular. It has been proven many times that the combination of TV and BVOD is the most effective way to do that using the scale of broadcast and the dynamic nature of digital. The most recent payback study by the ThinkTV arm of the Premium Content Alliance showed that if you invest $1 in total TV, you get $4.30 back in three months. Total TV is, for example, the number one driver of search. Put simply, it is the best at making other channels more effective. The power of context with the precision of targeting.

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Kurt Burnette, Chief Revenue Officer

Seven West Media

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