What does a commercial mean, if broadcast is dead?

A provocative assertion if there ever was one, it’s often said in the context of the rapidly evolving media landscape, suggesting that traditional broadcast mediums like TV and radio have lost their dominance due to the rise of digital media and streaming platforms. However, it's worth noting that while traditional broadcast might be diminishing in some markets or demographics, it's not completely "dead." Many regions and age groups still consume content primarily through these channels.

Commercial in a Post-Broadcast Era:

A commercial, at its core, is an advertisement. Its primary objective remains consistent: to promote a product, service, or brand. Even if we accept the premise that traditional broadcast is losing ground, commercials still play a pivotal role in modern advertising strategies. Here's what a commercial means in this new context:
  1. Platform Diversity: Commercials have migrated to where the viewers are. This means they're now prominently featured on streaming platforms, social media, in-app ads on mobile devices, and even before online videos on platforms like YouTube.
  2. Interactivity: With digital platforms, commercials can now be interactive. Brands can prompt viewers to click on an ad to learn more, make a purchase, or even engage with interactive storytelling.
  3. Personalization: Commercials on digital platforms can be tailored to individual preferences, browsing habits, and demographic information. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, brands can deliver specific messages to segmented audiences.
  4. Measurability: Unlike traditional broadcast, where measuring exact viewership can be challenging, digital platforms provide precise metrics. Brands can know how many people viewed their commercial, for how long, and what actions they took afterward.
  5. Viral Potential: The concept of a commercial has expanded to include any video content that can promote a brand. Viral videos on platforms like TikTok or Instagram can serve as commercials, even if they don't follow the traditional format.
  6. Influencer Collaborations: Modern commercials often feature collaborations with online influencers. These influencers, with their vast and loyal follower bases, can provide authenticity and reach to a brand's message.
  7. Immersive Experiences: With advancements in technology, commercials can be immersive experiences using augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). Instead of just watching an ad, viewers can "experience" it.
  8. Short-form and Long-form: Commercials aren't restricted to the 30-second or 60-second spots anymore. They can be shorter (like 6-second bumper ads) or much longer, resembling short films or extended narratives.

To encapsulate, even if we operate under the belief that "broadcast is dead" or declining, the essence of a commercial – communicating a promotional message – persists. The tools, platforms, and methods might have evolved, but the fundamental objective remains the same. In the post-broadcast era, commercials have become more dynamic, adaptable, and aligned with the preferences of the modern audience.