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The death of the TVC

October 11, 2019 by SARAH HICKEY

We love filming high-end TVCs as much as every filmmaker does. It’s glorious to be able to focus your energy on a single 15-30 second spot, ensuring every frame is buttery perfection, telling a high-impact story designed to “wow” an audience. But truth be told, the TVC is dying… if not already dead.

Ouch. Yeah. Calling it as it is.

These days, it’s far more likely that your advertising spend now needs to cover a continual rollout of regular content across multiple social media platforms - 5 second edits for YouTube pre-roll, square edits for Instagram, and ultra widescreen edits for a banner ad, etc. You get the idea. A single 30 second TVC alone doesn’t cut it any more.

Looking at the bigger picture, broadcast television as a whole is struggling to stay afloat. Younger, tech-savvier generations are increasingly turning to the world of SVOD platforms (Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, Stan) and much prefer entertainment on demand, as opposed to traditional broadcast. The broadcast TV audience is shrinking rapidly, and so the TV commercial, as a format, no longer has the impact or reach it was renowned for in the past.

Priceline Beauty School is a perfect example of the trend towards online video series, as opposed to standalone commercials.

For us, in the world of film production, it’s an interesting time of transition, because a lot of older production companies and freelancesr make a cost distinction between whether something is corporate (Internal), digital/social (Online), or commercial (TV). Once upon a time, there was a clear delineation between the kind of production value a client would expect for a TVC vs. a social campaign - but now it’s all becoming one and the same. Your audiences online still expect the same level of production quality that used to be associated with broadcast TV.

Our brand film for Auswalk never went to air. But that doesn't mean high production value wasn't important for us.

So, as a production company that has come into the mix at this time of change, we’ve taken the stance that we do not inflate our core production costs for TVCs. Our approach is that we are of the new generation. Consistent. Reliable. And of the highest artistic integrity, no matter the platform.