TV has been for decades the great unifier. Almost since its inception, people have gathered around the television on a nightly basis to watch their favorite shows and/or share some family time. Nowadays, however, there’s more competition for those viewing eyes than ever before. There has been rumbling for years that the traditional television setup – rushing home to catch the 7:00 pm showing of your favorite show or movie – may be coming to an end.
Most people within the industry, however, always assumed that, that prognostication would take years and perhaps decades to come to fruition. Latest statistics are showing a surprising pattern that is catching many traditional advertisers off-guard.
TV Viewership Falling Faster Than Expected
Recent numbers from the 2014 Nielsen’s Total Audience Report indicates that approximately 2.6 million households (nearly 3% of total U.S. households) only subscribe to broadband – meaning that they use neither cable nor a broadcast signal to watch TV. For example, a person may choose to only subscribe to Hulu or Netflix as opposed to paying for Comcast or Time Warner Cable. What’s jarring about this statistic is that it’s more than double the broadband-only households from 2013.
Plus, one of the most important demographics – 18 to 24 year olds – have embraced online video streaming at a more advanced rate than other demographics. According to Nielsen, “between 2011 and 2014, Q4 TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds dropped by almost exactly 7 hours per week, or one hour per day.”
Alternative Ways to Capture the Viewing Audience
TV advertising is expensive. For example, a Super Bowl ad this year cost $4.5 million dollars per 30-second spot. And if younger people keep turning to alternative methods of watching television, traditional TV advertisers may lose access to this important demographic.
Yet, there are still ways to capture the viewing audience without wasting large chunks of the marketing budget on TV advertising. Many people, especially the Millennial generation, are turning to online video streaming – and online video advertising has become significantly important with the rise of streaming.
This younger viewership is more likely to watch TV shows by using either streaming services or via smartphones or similar devices. Advertisers must now go to the younger audience as opposed to vice versa, which has been the norm in TV advertising.
Embracing the Change
While the younger generations are moving away from traditional TV at faster and faster rates, businesses don’t have to give up on advertising to this very important demographic. Instead, they need to turn to non-traditional outlets with targeted, budget-conscious campaigns, including paid search campaigns and programmatic buying.
This may be a sea change for traditional advertisers. Yet, they may reap the benefits of this new attitude and outlook. Traditional TV ads often just went for impressions – at a very expensive rate, and many businesses didn’t know whether they received an ounce of revenue from the ads.
With targeted paid media campaigns, businesses can directly see the results of the spend and often save thousands of dollars over traditional campaigns. To ensure that your campaigns are successful, however, advertisers need to be extremely targeted and invest in smart paid media campaigns, especially online video streaming campaigns.