Three Myths About TV Viewing And Advertising

June 1, 2016

It’s become a popular notion that “digital is going to make TV obsolete,” but is it true?


Given all the headlines about the growth of Internet properties, you certainly can’t be blamed for thinking it is. For instance, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CEO, has repeated the phrase “We have the Super Bowl every day on Facebook Mobile’ so many times it’s taken as truth by many.


But is it?  The short answer is no.  Because the Internet and TV report audience in different ways – ratings, views, streams, etc. (which by themselves are incomparable), it is made to seem that way.


The new report, Any Given Minute, found that the average audience in a given minute on Facebook Mobile is more than 4 million people, vs. 95 million people for the Super Bowl.  In fact, in any given minute, Facebook would only rank as the 161st largest TV show.


As a common currency enabling true cross-media comparisons, average audience exposes three big myths about TV:


TV is dying.   The reality is that in any given minute, 95% of video viewers are watching TV.  Twice as many people are watching TV as doing anything on a computer or mobile device.   This is actually the platinum age of TV.  There are more great shows than ever and more kinds of people are engaging with TV content via social media.


Millennials don’t watch TV.   The numbers simply don’t support this.  TV is 88% of what Millennials watch in any given minute and they average five hours per day.  Last year, after reports that its Millennial ratings had dropped, ABC added up all the digital viewing of its shows and found its younger audience had actually grown significantly.


Cord cutting is eroding TV.   80% of adults prefer subscription TV while cord-cutters predominantly stream TV content. Because of this streaming becomes an and rather than an or proposition.   It gives viewers flexibility, programmers distribution, networks revenue and marketers new engagement options.


Make no mistake, though; the audiences are far smaller than hyped. Remember when Yahoo grabbed headlines last year for live-streaming an NFL game, until press showed its figures paled in comparison to TV? 460 million minutes viewed sounds huge until you compare it to 4 billion for a typical NFL telecast.


Perhaps the biggest truth is that big growth doesn’t necessarily add up to big scale. As Rich Lehrfeld, senior VP-global brand marketing and communications at American Express, told Advertising Age, “When we run a heavy TV schedule, we see a lift in sales and product awareness. We need to run two weeks of digital to get the reach of one day of broadcast.”


Source: The Vab- Any Given Minute

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