Recent research suggests that people are more receptive to advertising messaging when they exercise. I (JB) caught up with Zoom Media managing director Alex Peacock (AP) to find out just why this is.
JB: You’ve worked in fitness media for over 11 years. How has the consumer changed in that time?
AP: More than any of us would ever have imagined, and I suspect we ain’t seen nothing yet! 11 years ago consumers watched TV in a linear fashion, one programme at a time, probably with other family members or friends - and TV ads were part of the deal. Now, though, consumers no longer behave in a way that fits with the traditional TV advertising model. They can pick and choose what they want to watch, where to watch it and can skip the ads. And if that’s not making life for advertisers difficult enough, they’re also doing other things, like internet surfing and social media, while they’re watching TV.
JB: What makes the fitness consumer a valuable target for advertisers?
AP: Regular gym goers are typically a more upmarket and affluent group which makes them an appealing audience for advertisers – but typically these people are light viewers of ‘live’ TV which makes them difficult to reach through traditional routes.
JB: Why has Zoom Media chosen to operate globally within fitness and leisure environments?
AP: In the UK we are wholly focused on providing digital and fixed media in health clubs, while in other countries we also offer advertising opportunities in bars, restaurants and family entertainment centres. The common factor in all of these environments is that there is a long dwell time and people are relaxed. This state of mind is why, as announced in a recent survey, over 65% of very affluent consumers said health clubs and gyms are the places where they are most receptive to advertising.
JB: How has technology changed the way in which you deliver content to consumers?
AP: The biggest change has been the way we can now make content highly tailored to suit the environment in which it is being shown. We can customise our extensive range of content according to audience preferences, and can also localise campaigns for national advertisers to optimise their relevance.
JB: There are a growing number of networks that, like Zoom, offer targeted TV out of home. Where do you fit in the media world – a TV channel or Digital Out of Home channel?
AP: The answer is both! We are an effective TV channel, but we are viewed out of home. The lines between different media channels are increasingly blurred which means that more clients and agencies understand the importance of adopting a less linear media strategy. Instead of briefs asking for £x spend in newspaper and £y spend on TV, they focus more on the consumer and the best place to reach them in an engaging way through the most effective channel – whatever that may be. This means that planners are increasingly receptive to media routes that don’t fit into traditional silos, which is great for us!
JB: Are you seeing unique trends with consumers – and how they consume content within fitness and leisure environments – in different parts of the world?
AP: There are certainly cultural differences between our markets in Europe and North America and the way in which content is provided varies accordingly. For example, music video programming is a core part of our offering and music tastes vary not just by country but by region, even within different parts of the UK. That’s why it is critical to tailor content programming down to a single venue, not just by market. That said, with the proliferance of on-demand services, consumers everywhere now have an expectation in terms of watching the programming of their choice in their own time. Our recent strategic alliance with Netpulse (announced in March this year) connects us with the world’s leading interactive personal media network so we can reach the fitness consumer not just within the gym environment but also during their workout experience through Netpulse’s personal cardio screens and workout tracking applications.
JB: What’s the most exciting development/innovation in the media industry today?
AP: The most exciting developments in recent years are those that have enhanced the ability to reach consumers with advertising served on an increasingly targeted, even individualised basis – from products such as Netpulse through to Sky’s new AdSmart platform. This is definitely going to be an increasing trend over the next 12-18 months. It will undoubtedly lead to a change in the way that advertising is bought and planned and can only make things more efficient for advertisers.