The debate over the future of television as an effective advertising medium rages on. Gone are the days when captive audiences were satisfied to sit through Leave it to Beaver and watch every commercial break, even planning their day-to-day lives around TV schedules. Marketers are fearful that the influx of DVR users will zap their commercial time away. With hundreds of channels to choose from, programming is becoming more and more fragmented as is the attention span of viewers. Younger, technology savvy TV viewers are increasingly multi-tasking with handheld interactive media devices and engaging in online social networks. Others worry that online TV will take market share away from conventional TV. While TV advertising has long been considered one of the most effective mass-market advertising formats, providing advertisers the opportunity to build mass reach quickly, advertisers are scrambling to adapt to today’s changing environment.
Here is the good news for TV advertisers:
- U.S. TV advertising expenditure is currently close to $70 billion annually.
- TV viewing is at an all-time high. According to Nielsen, the average American watches four hours and 49 minutes each day, 20% more than a decade ago.
- People who own digital recording devices (35% of US homes) tend to watch 17% more television than those without. A British study found that those with DVRs still watched 83% of TV in real time. (So according to this statistic, potential commercial viewing actually increased.)
- More people are watching video on their phones (70%) and online (46%) but not at the expense of TV – in addition to it.
- Despite cable networks growth into 70% of homes, broadcast TV continues to dominate. The average weekly cume for the top cable networks reaches only half of that of the top four broadcast affiliates because people continue to seek local relevant content.
The changing trends actually provide new opportunities for savvy advertisers including interactive TV, branded entertainment and online / mobile video. Stay tuned for more on each of these in the coming weeks.