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22 May, 2012 - Source: Red Bee Media

Viewers shouldn’t be treated like a one-night stand. Or that’s what Rio Caraeff, president and CEO of Vevo, said recently.

Rather than approaching viewers with a one-hit approach, the industry should be working to establish long-term relationships with each customer. While relationship marketing is not a new idea, how the TV industry can personalise and relate to each viewer is changing.

At its core, creating consumer relationships involves focussing on brand engagement, and knowing each viewer inside out.

Just like in a long-term relationship, broadcasters and operators should know as much as possible about each viewer – from what TV shows they like to watch, to their favourite actors, genres, and likes and dislikes. Increasingly, consumers are becoming comfortable sharing their personal information – just look at the mountains of data Facebook collects (and how they capitalise on it).

Some players like Channel 4 have made personalisation and data central to their strategy. According to their sales director Jonathan Allan, the additional data means the broadcaster can offer advertisers new audience segments to target, helping shape future content and advertiser relationships – along with increasing relevancy for the viewer.

However, we still have a long way to go when it comes to targeting and personalisation. In the UK in 2012 an estimated £15 billion will be spent on advertising, but less than 15% of that will be targeted or personalised to any degree.

With a new model of personalised viewer relationships, the TV industry could experience a real shift in the near future. But who will own the rich data - platforms, broadcasters, or producers? Or will a new company rise up to fill the space?

This is something the industry needs to consider carefully. Those who own and understand the data tend to wield huge influence - just look at how Google can make or break businesses with a single change to their search engine algorithm.

Is a viewer relationship strategy more effective than a ‘one night stand' approach? And, crucially, who should control the data?

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