TV Advertising: Alive and Well

Shirley Thom Blog, Local Advertising

When television arrived as a mass medium in the late 1940s, the prediction was that radio was “dead”.

That proved to be false.

And now that everyone is enthralled with everything online, we have predictions about the death of TV advertising.

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” -Mark Twain

Equally untrue.

We feel your pain, Mr. Twain.


We’re accustomed to hearing how expensive and successful the Super Bowl TV advertising is, with a one-day event bringing in more than $330 million U.S. dollars. But the March Madness figures of more than $1.1 Billion for nationally-televised commercials during the two-week tournament was more than twice the amount TV advertisers spent on the tournament in 2005. As is always the case, revenue figures follow viewership. More viewers = more ad dollars.

It’s not just sports.

And it’s not just old folks, even though old folks are coveted for their buying power.

According to The Nielson Company Q4 2014 Total Audience Report, Traditional TV still dominates the coveted Adults 18-49 population in number of hours spent per week; it’s not even close. The following statistics highlight the strength of the local broadcast industry:

Watching Traditional TV: 30:17 hours per week

Listening to AM/FM: 12:15 hours per week

Using the Internet on a computer: 6:14 hours per week

There’s more.

Heavy streaming and Internet homes are stronger TV viewers than homes where less streaming and internet use takes place. According to Nielsen’s report, streaming indexes 7% higher, and Internet indexes 15% higher.

There is no doubt that people have changed their viewing habits. Other than watching major sports programs, they are no longer one big happy family, sitting in front of their TV sets on the sofa in the living room. But to each his own.

“The average American today has more ways to watch video – whenever, however and wherever they choose. While certain segments of the population are migrating toward specific devices or viewing habits, the resounding trend is this: Americans are spending more time watching video content on traditional TVs, mobile devices, and via the Internet than ever before.” TVP.Org

I’m not sure why people seem to feel that new life spells doom for existing life, and new habits mean existing habits will cease. There will always be a Doom’s Day crowd of people who cannot fathom more than one idea at a time. Fortunately, they are not the mainstream. There is room for radio, TV, Online, Mobile, Social and all of the new forms of media we’ve yet to invent. No need to give up the standard to embrace the new.