EMEA - Television - TV takes a multi-plat form leap

Pan-EMEA television is branching out. The internet and mobile offer new ways to reach viewers, and brands such as CNN and CNBC are no longer restricted to the small screen in the living room. Lucy Rouse reports.

Broadcasters meet the multi-platform challenge
Broadcasters meet the multi-platform challenge

Time was, television was the top advertising medium, and everything else, such as press and cinema, was a poor second. Now it's a multimedia world - with the internet and mobile steadily encroaching on TV's territory - and broadcasters are having to think on their feet if they want to hold on to their share of ad spend. The solution appears to be integration, with broadcasters expanding their offerings to include not only television, but also the internet and mobile.

Max Raven, senior vice-president of ad sales at CNN International, says up to 80% of CNN's advertiser deals this year will be integrated multi-platform packages. Paul Maraviglia, vice-president of European sales for CNBC Europe, believes integrated TV and online advertising deals have been the norm for the past decade.

Overall, advertising in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is robust. ZenithOptimedia forecasts that ad spend across all media including TV in Western Europe will rise by 1.6% this year to $122bn (£70bn), although that forecast has been revised downwards from 3.7% in light of the wider economic downturn.

In the Middle East, ZenithOptimedia expects ad spend to increase 7% this year to $11bn. Taken together, advertising across EMEA is projected to be worth $169bn (£96bn) this year.

Middle Eastern growth

The Middle East is witnessing the biggest growth in advertising in the EMEA region. Where once Central and Eastern Europe were the primary focus for pan-European media owners, the fast-growing economies of Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai are rapidly coming into their sights.

Central and Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Romania are important, but they still don't generate the kind of major corporate advertising seen in the biggest, most mature markets such as Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy.

In the most general terms, the growth of commercial TV is stalling in EMEA, while online and mobile media are expanding rapidly, and with them the web-based video and television services that offer a direct challenge to broadcasters.

Throughout the region, but particularly in Western Europe, online is probably the fastest-growing advertising sector, although, according to Maraviglia, annual growth has slowed slightly from the 20-22% level of a couple of years ago.

"Faced with an uncertain future, Western advertisers are shifting even more of their budgets online where the returns are obvious, easy to quantify and fine tune," says Jonathan Barnard, head of publications, ZenithOptimedia. TV is among the established media losing out to the web, again, particularly in the West. ZenithOptimedia predicts its share of total advertising will fall from 30.6% to 28.8% between 2007 and 2010 in Western Europe, although in Eastern Europe television is forecast to increase its share of ad spend from 53.2% in 2007 to 55% in 2010.

Broadband penetration is rapidly catching up with digital TV penetration in the region. In fact, the UK is the only European market where broadband trails behind digital TV, according to Screen Digest (see page 18 for EMEA broadband penetration figures).

Broadband is expected to grow much faster than pay-TV, which is huge in many markets because it includes established, terrestrial pay-TV services. About 60% of Germans have pay-TV but, by 2011, that won't have increased significantly, whereas broadband take-up should rise from about 40% to more than 55%.

The problem with broadband is that it does not directly help advertisers, at least until online TV services become more widespread and popular, says Vincent Letang, an analyst at Screen Digest.

What's more, established media owners such as ITV in the UK face huge challenges when importing their brands online, not least stiff competition in the supply of online video.

In the UK last year, just two broadcasters featured in a list of most popular online video providers - the non-commercial BBC at number five and Channel 4 at number 12. Nine of the 15 most popular online video providers were user-generated content sites, with YouTube at number one.

Screen Digest reports that advertising around online video is generating high volumes but low revenues. In the UK, for instance, ITV's online revenue was £17m in the first half of 2008. By comparison, broadcast revenue was £832m.

The assortment of pan-EMEA broadcasters with multi-platform offers ranges from specialist news services, CNN International and CNBC Europe, to mainstream news channels.

Brands such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and kids' channel Nickelodeon also push content across multiple platforms. Nicolas Grand, senior investment manager at Aegis Media, points to magazine versions of pan-European channels, such as National Geographic magazine and CNBC's European Business. "They provide true cross-platform exposure to our clients," he says.

And what about mobile advertising? All EMEA broadcasters have some form of mobile offering. Advertisers typically embed their logos into the content created by broadcasters for mobile TV. And, as online, mobile gaming and mobile telephony overlap, clients are getting access to mobile web advertising and ad-funded games.

For broadcasters, the major development in mobile will be the rise of TV services on handsets, from short clips to longer forms, although these are currently quite expensive for consumers.

So how do the major EMEA television broadcasters operate in the ever-evolving, multi-platform environment?

CNN International

News broadcaster CNN International is the market-leading news channel in the region. Launched in EMEA about 12 years ago after it was established in the US, it now airs to 149 million households and hotels via cable and satellite across the EMEA region.

The broadcaster uses the internet to leverage the value of its news content. CNN.com features live video, podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds, e-mail alerts and even CNN Radio. Ad space is limited on the news websites, but CNN International's site was carrying an in-house mobile ad for CNN at the time of writing.

CNN offers a mobile news headlines service via WAP or Java download. It also created a WAP service specifically for the Euro 2008 football championship earlier this year, which kept users up to date with match statistics and results.

The service was sponsored by Suzuki, whose brand was built into the title bar for the service. This read "CNN Euro 2008 with Suzuki". The car manufacturer also ran an online banner campaign to complement the mobile TV service.

CNBC

The news broadcaster CNBC launched in 1998 and now reaches 100 million households across Europe via cable and satellite, and has six million viewers a month. Its advertising model has evolved over the course of the past decade.

Maraviglia explains: "We talk less to our clients about spots and much more about how to use the platform to engage viewers."

Consequently, most of CNBC 's advertising deals span different media, including online and even print - the broadcaster's magazine European Business is distributed through travel points such as airports.

Maraviglia says this sort of cross-platform approach is set to increase "when we can offer more sticky local content" through localised websites.

He also predicts a subtle shift in the way pan-regional broadcasters engage with advertisers. CNBC 's agreement with Shell is a case in point.

The energy giant has agreed a four-year deal to advertise around the channel's half-hour debate programme Questions for the Future.

However, the deal also includes sponsorship of live events, on-air vignettes and a dedicated microsite, questionsforthefuture.tv.

CNBC's website features video and blogs, as well as podcasts with an RSS feed. Interviews from the channel are also available via iTunes.

It also runs pre-roll ads before video news clips, featuring clients such as BP and the New York Stock Exchange.

MTV

Not surprisingly, the entertainment broadcaster MTV is also embracing new media to extend its advertising offer in the region. It uses these extensions to increase its ability to offer local content, in particular.

Jonathan Labin, senior director of sales and strategy for MTV Networks International, emerging markets (covering Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa), says: "Local content is very important to us." MTV, which now offers 25 TV channels, has launched eight local channels in EMEA over the past year to cash in on cultural differences in musical taste. It is also exploiting local differences in the take-up of different media. For instance, Israel has high broadband penetration, so MTV launched a broadband video player there.

"We thought that was a market where we should have an innovative video player," says Labin.

MTV recently forged a multi-platform, pan-regional deal with the mobile handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson, which sponsored the 2007 MTV Europe Music Awards. This aired on 19 MTV channels across Europe to a total audience of 30 million people. The deal included a dedicated website that received three million unique page impressions and garnered 79 million votes in a competition to choose a "breakthrough" act.

MTV also created a mobile WAP site with the Sony Ericsson logo embedded into the title bar of each page. It attracted 200,000 visits to the site and more than 700,000 page views.

MTV also has three regional mobile TV channels and is a big internet publisher. It has 23 websites and one broadband channel in the EMEA region alone, with clients such as Nivea and Colgate featured in banners and video ads.

Labin says that, in general, mobile and online advertising is growing faster than ad spend on TV, but TV remains an important platform for MTV in most EMEA territories. "In the emerging markets, we're still in a phase where new channels are being offered and the major broadcasters are losing share to more niche players such as MTV," he says.

Jetix

Content for children is another significant part of the EMEA TV landscape. Children's channel Jetix is available on 15 channels in 19 languages in 58 territories. It reaches 52.7 million households across Europe and has 18 local websites, which will soon be relaunched as part of a drive for continuity in its pan-European online offering.

Plastic toy bricks manufacturer Lego is one of Jetix's biggest pan-European clients and the broadcaster has worked closely with the brand on some of its recent launches from its Star Wars and Bionicle ranges. Jetix and Lego formed multi-territory deals and the campaigns used a dual-platform strategy. "We used TV as a driver to encourage kids to spend more time on a bespoke website," explains Michael Ghosh, pan-European advertising sales director at Jetix. Research showed children spent an average of 40 minutes online with the brand.

In the six and a half years since Ghosh joined Jetix, online has become "a very key focus" for advertisers, he says. Jetix also uses mobile advertising, but chooses to focus on key territories, such as the UK, Germany, Spain and Benelux.

Ghosh says that although mobile advertising deals are quite complex, they are a growth area for media owners.

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