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Has live appeal TV programming lost its edge?

Bobby Ghayouri

After 33 years on our (non-commercial) screens, Crimewatch has been cancelled by the BBC.

Nick Ross, one of the programme’s original hosts, blamed it on the “decay of old-fashioned, linear television” and the increasing trend of recording programmes and watching them later. “What is the point of a live appeal show? It has to be live, that’s the way it works. And if you watch it the following day, there’s no one on the phones,” he said.

But is he right?

The impact of time-shifted viewing and online video (VOD) is often overstated. TV reaches 92.2% of all individuals every week, according to a Thinkbox September 2017 report. Latest figures for September show on average, people watch 3 hours and 14 minutes of TV per day. Within that, 2 hours and 13 minutes are commercial; an increase of 4 minutes compared to last year. So, people are still watching plenty of linear TV.

However, Ross does make a good point about phones being answered. We work with a number of client partners who incorporate phone response in their TV advertising and other channels. Plus, we know from experience the importance of considering the call centre and logistics involved when planning and managing TV campaigns.

It would defeat the purpose of investing in TV to drive people to pick up the phone if nobody is there to take the call. That’s why it is essential to keep an open and frequent line of dialogue between agency, client partner and their internal or external call centres; not only to ensure TV drives the absolute maximum response, but so that the infrastructure is in place at the right time in order to take full advantage of every lead.

Within our in-house ARMalytics suite, clients can log in to see the time and date of every booked TV spot and their estimated viewing figures. Where relevant we also send regular spot schedules to clients, or direct to their appropriate agent – using estimated ratings and historic TV performance data to accurately forecast the number of calls within a given hour and day. These forecasts help the call centre plan appropriate staffing levels to make sure the phones are answered and clients are not missing out on potential revenue.