Can TV Product Managers Win The Fight Against The Internet?

by drjim on March 28, 2016

Do TV product managers stand a chance against newer digital outlets?

Do TV product managers stand a chance against newer digital outlets?

Image Credit: Metro Centric

So it turns out that the world of television is ruled by advertising. The more ads that you can sell, the more money you make and the more television programs you can both make and broadcast. Back in the day, television product managers ruled the world. Nobody else could compete with the number of potential customers that they could reach. However, things have changed the terms of their product development definition. Now the arrival of ubiquitous high speed Internet connections means that potential customers can view content from other sources and perhaps television is not needed any more…

What Makes The Internet So Attractive

Gosh darn it, but the Internet sure does seem to have just about everything going for it. The smart folks who spend their time working on computer code that runs on the Internet have discovered that they can tell an awful lot about each and every person who visits a website. What this means is that when they put video content up on a website, they can tell advertisers exactly who will be watching the video (“white women who have two children and drive a Lexus”) and this helps advertisers who want to reach a very specific audience.

It’s this laser-like focus that Internet providers can offer to advertisers that distinguishes them from what the television product managers have to offer. The case for spending more money on Internet ads instead of TV ads is strengthened by the simple fact that a lot of people are “cutting the cord” and are shifting their viewing habits from watching broadcast television to watching their favorite programs online. Sure sounds like this would be a great thing to add to a product manager resume.

One of the big advantages of watching video content online is that the viewer is always in control of it – they can stop and start it whenever they want to. This is in contrast to television broadcasts which during the ads, the viewer can often walk out of the room and not see the ad. Couple this with the fact that television broadcasters have traditionally only been able to tell advertisers the age and gender of their viewing audience and you can see that the Internet video providers have a clear advantage.

How Television Product Managers Are Fighting Back

Television product managers realize that they have a problem on their hands and they are not taking this lying down. Instead, they are getting creative. They realize that now that advertisers have tasted the detailed audience details that the Internet video providers can collect and share, they are going to have to step up their game. This means that they are going to have to start providing new data and analytics tools.

What these product managers are doing is to starting to tap into very large external databases in order to find out more about their viewers. Using the data about viewing habits that they can get from cable set top boxes, they are combing this data with various forms of loyalty card data. What this means is that they can tell advertisers what products the viewers of various programs actually buy on a regular basis.

The television product managers are also going to great lengths to show to advertisers that their data might be more accurate than the data that they are getting from the Internet content providers. Television product managers are pointing out to advertisers that online websites are having problems with bogus traffic that is generated by automated “bots” and that in some cases the ads that are being displayed to users are so small as to not be visible to the eye.

What All Of This Means For You

In part because the world is currently in love with everything having to do with the Internet, television product managers really have their work cut out for them. There is no product manager job description that tells us how to deal with this situation. In order to stay in business, they need to find ways to get advertisers to be willing to spend money on broadcast video ads instead of transferring all of it to Internet video sites.

Traditionally, television has been able to tell advertisers very little about who is watching their programs – just age and gender. Internet providers have been able to grab a lot more information about past searches and other data items and have been able to paint a much more complete picture of their audience. However, television product managers are now starting to tap into large databases in order to provide more detailed information about their audience.

The one thing that television has going for it is that its audiences are huge. These product managers have some time to work with – they still have a very large audience. However, the Internet providers are growing their audiences. This means that television product managers need to move quickly. We’ll have to watch and see if the use of more data will allow them to attract and retain the advertisers that they need.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: What databases do you think the television product managers should use to win over more advertisers?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just imagine if you were a product manager who worked in the world of creating a product development definition for mobile phone video games. You would always be looking for that next big hit: the next Candy Crush Soda Saga or Clash Of Clans. However, here’s an interesting question for you: who is your real customer? Sure, maybe your game would get downloaded 10 million times, but who would really be willing to pay you money for it?

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