However, before I introduce Mr.Biggam and share my interview with you I would like to briefly say a few words on advertisement which will be relevant to the interview questions and answers to follow. The advertisement sector is globally changing. Especially, the media used in conveying the advertisement messages is changing very quickly. Classical advertisers and media are having a hard time folowing the changes. The reason for the change is the power of internet. The internet, with support from telecommunications advancements is todays miracle media that allows advertisers to reach targeted customers with the highest precision and speed when compared to all other classic media we know. In fact we have so much control that we are able to target the customer’s eye or ear when we want to with examples in mobile and POS applications.
The Association of Commercial Television in Europe, ACT, represents the business interests of the commercial television sector at the EU institutions. Formed in 1989, ACT is active in 32 European countries and encompass several business models, from free-to-air television broadcasters to multimedia groups and digital platform operators. Kanal-D from Turkey is a member of ACT. Mr. Biggam’s speech at the conference concentrated on the different conditions in each country. I would now like tos hare our interview with Mr. Biggams:
Gokhan R.Bilge : Though your involvement is within the TV media, you have made statements that new forms of consuming content, such as google and you-tube, makes more advertisement revenues than all EU television stations. However Nicolas de Tavernost, President of ACT states that TV is the best medium for advertising in the foreword of Factbook 2006. Could you comment on why internet advertisement revenues are rising if TV is the best medium.
Ross Biggam : TV advertising and internet – the ‘Google’ example is perhaps slightly misleading – Google did take more advertising in Europe last year than established TV brands like Channel 4 or Sat 1, but of course they’re only present on one national advertising market. TV remains, we believe, the best medium because it’s where people go for entertainment and relaxation, and therefore identify better with brand advertising. The internet is booming as a start-up market, but much of the advertising they are taking is classified (recruitment, real estate) which has never been a significant revenue stream for broadcasters.
Gokhan R.Bilge : Since ACT represents the business interests of commercial television sector in EU states, is the internet seen as a threat in sharing the advertisement budgets set by corporations?
Ross Biggam : Is the internet seen as a threat? Well, it’s a fact of life… it also brings opportunities for media operators (any new way of distributing our programming has to be an opportunity) so I think it is less a question of “threat or opportunity” and more a case of “how do I adapt my business model to this new reality?”.
Gokhan R.Bilge : Among your sin debates there exists gambling, food and alcohol. What about child abuse, should this topic not also be included in the sin debates?
Ross Biggam : I mentioned gambling, unhealthy food and alcohol as examples of legitimate but sometimes controversial activities which society will wish to regulate, including through regulation of advertising. In terms of child abuse, this – as I understand the question – is an illegal activity which society prohibits rather than regulates. Certainly any advertisement which was thought to encourage/hint at child abuse should be banned outright (in any media, I would argue) – so I didn’t mention it as it is more a matter for criminal law than for media regulation.
Gokhan R.Bilge : You have mentioned that just translation of the TVWF is not a solution. How is the spirit of the legislation obtained? Is this just a matter of time or do certain avtivities need to be triggered for success?
Ross Biggam : How to get at the spirit of TVWF? Very difficult to say (certainly the EU-10 “Class of 2004” didn’t get there). I would have thought (this sounds like I’m angling for another invitation…) that an event like the one we had this month could be organised specifically on how to implement the new AMS directive, but at the time that your government is preparing to introduce implementing legislation to your parliament. Maybe the Commission and European Parliament could be persuaded to come?
Gokhan R.Bilge : Your presentation states that “Consumer is King” and wants its media anywere anytime. Do you believe that media agencies understand targeted consumers are changing their routine media coverage and lifestyles? Do you think agencies act in the best interest of their advertiser customers for improving their business performance? How do you think legislation should protect the customers rights in this case? How is ethical choice provided?
Ross Biggam : Do agencies understand changing consumer behaviour? I don’t think any of us do… but I guess the better ad agencies are likely to be as advanced as anyone in working this out. I’m confused by one part of your question – about “legislation protecting customers’ rights’? Do you mean legislation to protect the position of advertisers? If so, I’m not aware that there is normally specific legislation on this, rather it is done through a mix of competition law, business law and media regulation. If I’ve misunderstood, pls let me know and I’ll try again…
Gokhan R.Bilge : Can Product Placement be used in web advertisements? Are there examples?
Ross Biggam : Certainly product placement can be used online. But for it to make sense, we would need to find a piece of media content (TV programme, film) into which the product could be placed. There is as yet little in the way of content produced exclusively, or primarily, for internet distribution and therefore little direct product placement into that content. I’ m sure this will change and I imagine US producers and agencies are working on this already.
Thank you Mr. Biggams for informing us on your thoughts and the activities of ACT. We hope to see you in Turkey again.
In closing, isn’t the pupose of advertisement to reach the consumer and leave an understandable impression in their minds. To do this we as advertisers need to understand the consumers feelings and needs. As ACT clearly states in its web site (www.acte.be) that “Innovation in Services is the way to get closer to the public”. What are these innovations channels today? Online Content Mobile TV, IPTV, TV VOD, High Definition TV are some to mention. Have a nice day !!