The rising popularity of social media and out-of-home advertising has changed the marketing and branding landscape across the world. To this end, Malaysia is no different. But does this mean traditional media like television and radio have lost its appeal?

Television still going strong

One thing for sure, television has its emotional appeal and it continues to play an integral role as an advertising platform notably in countries like Malaysia. After all, it still offer wide coverage and reach to the communities within Malaysia which are multi-cultural backgrounds.
In Malaysia, the introduction of black and white FTA television started in 1963 by RTM. It has since grown by leaps and bounds with colour TV introduced in 1978 before TV3 came into the picture in 1984. Several other players came into the market until Astro was introduced in 1996. HyppTV then started by operations in 2011 and in 2016, iFlix was introduced.

Changing landscape of viewers

Although television is still going strong as an advertising medium, the changing landscape really is on how viewers connect with this platform. This comes from issues like:

  1. Choice – viewers are no longer only limited to FTA (Free-to-air) channels. They have Pay TV channels, on-the-go channels and internet-based channels to choose from.
  2. Habit – watching television is not limited to the living room. Viewers are now more mobile. Even FTA channels are now offering internet streaming services

Changing profile of viewers

Before the advent of subscription based services like Astro and Netflix, station loyalty was one of the mainstays of television advertising. Today, it is no longer something any station can bank on. In fact, with hundreds of choices, they are getting smaller portions of the pie. Viewers are spending lesser time on the television. That is for sure, but with the limited time they do, they have become less attentive as well.

What is the outlook like for advertisers?

One word very much illustrates the future. Challenge! Advertising on television has not faced such competition in its many decades of existence. Gone are the days when some advertisers have to be put on the waiting list to get a spot in prime time television. This platform is losing out on factors like:

  1. Pricing – television can no longer command premium rates for advertisers anymore. Competition is too high in this sector. Advertisers have other options unless their target segment is solely through television
  2. Engagement – Many other media today offers engagement with their target segment. The downside of television has always been that it could only be a one-way communication. However, television could integrate media in a campaign which then takes away the buzz
  3. Digital media – This is the game-changer. With digital platforms, campaigns can be more easily tracked which then becomes more cost-effective for advertisers

Is Astro leading the game?

What Astro has done since its introduction into the television market is in its content. This is something other media players were unable to do. RTM and Media Prima are 2 of the FTA channel providers and they are very much confined into offering a mixture of content while Astro’s content is focused.

What this means is that Astro has a strong subscriber base of viewers whom they can track. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, Astro’s subscribers are recorded at more than 4.5million households.

Is digital and Pay-TV the way forward?

It should be! After all, digital TV gives advertisers more leverage. Despite having all types of measurement tools and applications, advertising on television is still spreading a net wide open. With pay-TV services, advertisers can focus on a certain target segment. Besides that, digital TV lets advertisers:

  1. More intelligent buying: with real-time data and tracking platforms, advertisers can maximize their advertising dollars. This is based on viewer’s watching style, behaviour and other related issues.
  2. More integrated campaigns – television is now being watched not only in the living rooms. As viewers are watching on their mobile devices like tabs and smartphones, advertisers can integrate their campaign with other platforms like social media and web-based applications

Should advertisers still use television?

Although other media are fast becoming more popular, television still plays an important part of the daily lives of people. This device is still among the first few appliances being switched on in the morning and remains so until wee hours of the night. Businesses are still using television at their premises to draw crowds in for live football matches, drama shows and other content.

So, yes! Advertisers would still need to do so. With television, you get:

  1. Reach – You still get a wide reach to your audience
  2. Content – There are a lot of content to choose from. Sports, entertainment, educational, documentaries and others. Choose any one
  3. Popularity – Despite its waning popularity, it remains as the most talked about media. This is still very evident even with the younger generation who are catching on the latest series and programs
  4. Demographics – Television appeals to people in all age groups.

Some significant data about television

Between 2010 and 2015, the amount and number of commercials produced for television has increased significantly. In 2010, it was valued at about RM65 million which has then almost doubled the next year. In the next 3 years, it has steadily been around the average of RM140 million each year. Meanwhile, the number of commercials have been hovering around the 1,900 mark in that few years.