THE BLOG

Collaboration, Leaps of Faith, Technology: How to Keep TV Vibrant

19/03/2013 13:58 GMT | Updated 18/05/2013 10:12 BST

As a child of the 70s, one of the things that used to provoke lots of debate in my classroom was finding consensus on what were the best ads. Up there with the greatest were: the Oxo family, the Gold Blend affair, the Cadbury's Smash Martians (my favourite), the Milky Bar Kid and many, many more. Without realising it - or even thinking about it - advertising was on TV and TV was advertising.

Fast-forward 20 years - OK, maybe 30 years! - and the context and environment in which TV ads are viewed has changed enormously.

Simply put: digital technology has had a massive impact. We now have hundereds of TV channels to choose from, our TV screens have gotten considerably bigger and flatter, the picture is free of interference - especially in HD - and even more realistic if you watch it in 3D. We can watch it in our bedrooms (very exotic in the 70's), we can watch it in the street (although I don't advise this, as you are prone to bumping into people), and we can also time travel - well, backward, at the moment, but who knows what's next.

Some - even now, 20 years after the Internet as we know it today was invented - call it old-fashioned, but I think TV has an enduring style. And as Yves Saint Laurent once said, "Fashions fade, but style is eternal."

It's a wonderful time to be a TV viewer - and it's no surprise that the ads that the Great British Public mainly talk about are still the ones that appear on, yes, television.

I'm proud to be part of such a "creative" content-led industry, giving value to viewers whilst also building long-term shareholder value for thousands of advertised brands. But we're by no means at the zenith of our potential. From a commercial Public Service Television standpoint, the industry does face challenges - particularly Public Service Broadcasters, who are vitally important to the ecosystem of TV and culture in this county.

We're an industry that is often distracted and restricted by the tremendous amount of legislation and regulation that is sometimes stacked against us - which not only controls content, but also the advertising arena. This can make it difficult at times for some commercial operators to manoeuvre. We're also at times bound by history and established behaviour - advertising models that were created in a different era and hinder TV's growth.

My belief is that if we are to maximise the opportunity that technological developments have given us, then we need to become more enterprising, freethinking and open-minded in our commercial approach. I'm talking about the way that programmes are funded, the way that TV advertising is traded, and the way that advertising is integrated with content.

This requires a greater spirit of collaboration and leaps of faith between clients, agencies, broadcasters and programme makers. Working together creates new areas of innovation - and hence, value - whilst blurring the standardised metrics which create one-dimensional measurement.

In a nutshell, working together to develop eye-catching advertising strategies that deliver mouth-watering business results is what we all want from a medium that is still at the top of the heap when it comes to effectiveness - mainly due to the scale of its impact and the screens that it's delivered on.

I believe that bringing Advertising Week to the UK is a perfect opportunity for this new spirit of collaboration to gain momentum, and I welcome this initiative warmly.

I'm really enthusiastic about the prospect of our industry coming together to celebrate everything that's good about what we do - and to debate how we can improve it. Channel 5 will be hosting a session at BAFTA at 11 AM on Thursday, March 21st, where we can discuss this more.

We look forward to seeing you there.