Report from the Media Frontier

Welcome to Report from the Media Frontier, my ongoing blog that provides guidance and insight on the "changing world of media" to advertising agencies, media buying agencies, the media selling community and brand marketers
Television is Still a Powerhouse Medium

Those who follow me know I am an enthusiastic advocate for new media and emerging technology. However, I do not lose sight of fact the traditional media, specifically television, is still a powerhouse medium to reach consumers.


Evidence for this can be found in a number of sources, the most recent being The Nielsen Company’s “State of the Media, TV Usage Trends: Q2 2010.” Nielsen found that in second quarter 2010, the average person watched more than 143 hours of television per month (about 1% more than the same period in 2009). That is about five hours a day on average.


This viewership does vary by age segment though. Those 2-34 years old comprise 36% of viewers, while those 35+ are the majority at 64%. More so, the highly-wired millennial generation of 12-24 year olds is just 14% of all viewers. Even though they are lightest viewers this group still averages around 108 hours per month or about 3.6 hours a day.


Another interesting finding from “TV Usage Trends” regards time-shifted viewing (predominately from DVR playback and video on demand). Marketers and agencies alike have for years now rung the death bell for TV because of the fear that everyone will have a DVR, no one will watch a show live and that all recorded viewing will naturally mean skipping of commercials. While this does happen in ever-growing frequency, and I am just as guilty of doing it on occasion as the next time pressed, instant gratification hungry viewer, the Nielsen numbers are a less alarming.


Compared to the 143 hours of all TV viewed in second quarter, only 9 hours and 23 minutes was from time-shifted TV (measured in all homes), although this number jumps to 24 hours and 27 minutes for DVR playback in DVR-only homes (about 38% of HH).


While time-shifted usage continues to grow (17.7% growth year-over-year) it’s still a relatively small percentage when measured against the entire TV viewing landscape. So for the foreseeable future, my advice is do not be afraid to incorporate television in the mix if it makes sense for your media plans. People are still watching.

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