TV: A weapon of mass consumption

"How ironic that the internet fundamentalists who used to predict the death of TV are the same people now proclaiming the future is video", writes Kelly Williams, MD Commercial, ITV.

Last Saturday was my kids' school summer fair. Beside the odd downpour it was a brilliant family day out and, as any parent can understand, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. At least that's what I'm telling my family...

What I haven't told them is that a big part of me was desperate to be somewhere else. On the sofa in front of my TV, to be precise.

In their wisdom, my kids' school had decided to host their fair on the first full day of the Euros and the very day that England's rugby, cricket and football teams were all in action around the world from morning to evening. I'd have quite happily spent all day watching nothing but sport, but instead had to rely on a few furtive checks of my phone for most of it.

Unsurprisingly I was far from the only dad at the fair doing this and it made me think how much the enjoyment of watching sport on TV is about being connected - to the other people you're watching with at home or in the pub, to the team you're supporting or just knowing that there are millions of others who are watching at the same time with the same passion.

Sport is the most obvious example of the strong connections that TV makes with the consumer (over 14 million watched England's draw with Russia at home, millions more in pubs, bars and on their mobile devices) but think how much conversation and passion is driven by great dramas or soaps, the big Saturday night entertainment shows or insightful documentaries.

TV, and the way that it emotionally connects with viewers, is more important than ever in the modern advertising and media landscape.

I believe the television industry is adapting to the future better than many industries - creatively, television content has never been as good as it is today, technologically, you can watch telly wherever, whenever you want, it's the killer app, and commercially, we have never had as many opportunities for advertisers.

It's never been a better time to be a viewer and never been a better time to be an advertiser.

TV works better than any other medium. It is proven time and again to deliver the most sales, the most profit, the best brand reputation, generates the most word of mouth and the longest lasting effects.

Why? Because TV combines mass simultaneous reach, with a trusted environment for brands and, most importantly, an ability to connect emotionally with viewers. Which means TV can change the way millions of people think and feel about a brand.

Television is often labelled as traditional media, but it is not traditional media, it is proven media. We can create real innovation and deeper, more integrated, partnerships connecting the best of TV and the best of advertising.

Take the work that ITV has done over the past few months with Suzuki, which was the first brand to take advantage of ITV Commercial's new division ITV AdVentures, our branded short form production business, a one stop shop for talent, production, distribution and promotion.

We've taken our partnership with Suzuki beyond a straightforward sponsorship deal and put the company at the heart of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, extending the relationship to themed commercials featuring Ant and Dec, licensing rights and multi-platform activation.

Ant and Dec have a huge connection with viewers and we're in a unique position to use that with a sponsor, integrating a brand into one of our best-loved shows.

Over the last few years, I think we at ITV have not stood up for TV as much as we perhaps should have done, probably nervous about being labelled a luddite as the media world seems to gravitate towards the shiny new online platforms.

It seems to me quite ironic that the internet fundamentalists who used to predict the death of TV are the same people proclaiming the future is video, which is TV.

TV is still the most effective part of the media mix. Big advertising campaigns are TV and other media, not TV instead of other media. As somebody much smarter than me recently said, TV isn't going anywhere; it's actually going everywhere.

Come on England.

Original article: Mediatel Newsline