Commentary

If TV Is So Dead, Why Is It Smashing YouTube And Facebook?

It's that time again when those who write off traditional channels such as television get a rude awakening. We have all been at those conferences where someone stands up and tells us what dinosaurs we are for not "getting" that everyone has moved on from the channels we grew up with and to get down with the kids, you have to be social, or on a messaging app.


So for anyone who needs to be able to fire back with some common sense backed up by a bunch of statistics, we have the latest figures from Thinkbox. They make for very interesting reading. Far from being on its last legs, in the UK ,94% of video ads are viewed on television. This breaks down as live tv (85.7%), playback tv (6.5%) or broadcaster video on demand (1.6%).

Pretty dominant, eh? And that position is underscored by YouTube accounting for less than 1%. Online video ads, by the way, including auto play, and account for just over 5%. If you're wondering about what timespan these are percentages for, the average person consumes twenty minutes of video advertising each day, while the average Millennial consumes 13. 

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If we turn our attention to video consumption, which I guess we could refer to as attention, television once again does very well with a 60% share. When you add a further 10% for playback tv and 4% for broadcaster video on demand, that's pretty much three-quarters of all video consumption happening on television. Take it another step and add in 4% for Netflix-style subscriber services and we're up to 80% (admittedly, some of that Netflix and broadcaster VOD may be on a device). 

By way of contrast, YouTube gets just 6.4%, Facebook 1.7% and other online video sources 4%, so that's around 12% between them. This is actually smaller than the proportion of people who are watching catch-up tv and broadcaster video on demand. Again, if you're wondering about video viewing time, the average UK person watches just over four and a half hours of video per day and the average Millennial just under three and a half hours. 

To be fair, tv's dominance does seem less impressive when focus is honed in on Millennials. They're still watching live tv -- down from a 60% average to 40% -- and they're watching comparable proportion of playback and broadcaster VOD.

The big difference is that Millennials are watching nearly three times as much subscription video on demand, at 11.4% compared to a 4% average. They're also spending more than three times the national average time on YouTube, with nearly 16% of the video consumption compared to the average of 6.4%. Facebook is slightly up for Millennials, but there is not a major increase, and other online video is actually down.

So the big difference for Millennials is very clear. They're watching a lot more video on Netflix and YouTube than the national average -- but even so, more than half of their video viewing is live tv, playback or broadcaster VOD. Throw in Netflix and you're talking nearly 60% of a Millennial's video consumption. 

To recap, there are differences in consumption, but television is far and away the clear winning channel in both tv consumption and video advertising consumption. Nothing comes close to the channel that is so easily written off by digital ninjas. The likely reason is very simple. YouTube is there, generally, for short-form video, and has the magic "skip ad" button. Television, on the other hand, is long form and commands the biggest amount of attention, by far, and accounts for the vast majority of video advert consumption. 

So the next time you hear tv is dead you can retort, "how come it gets 94% of video advertising time and around four-fifths of video consumption?"

10 comments about "If TV Is So Dead, Why Is It Smashing YouTube And Facebook?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 10, 2017 at 10:53 a.m.

    It's always informative to look at the facts, isn't Sean. One might think that alll of the digital types who claim that TV is dead---or rapidly dying---and that "data" rules would peruse some data once in a while---but they don't.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 10, 2017 at 12:16 p.m.

    If a commercial appears but nearly everyone looks down at their smartphone until the program resumes, did the commercial really appear?  94% of exposure is not equivalent to 94% of attention, which may explain the abysmal ad-recall rates among Millennials. True, TV is not dead, but the primetime numbers look anemic to me. I remember when ratings were reported without much concern for decimal points.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc replied, March 10, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

    Douglas, the ad recall levels cited in a recent Media Post report--- via Nielsen ---were only about 10% below that service's norms. That's hardly an indication that millennials are tuning out commercials almost everytime they appear. More likely it reflects the fact that a high percent of the products and services advertised on national TV are not targeting 18-34s to the exclusion of others.

  4. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, March 10, 2017 at 1:49 p.m.

    Ed's UK Distortion. Real-time analtyics please.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 10, 2017 at 2:26 p.m.

    What some people really want is "alternative facts"----the kinds that dreams are made of.

  6. Leonard Zachary from T___n__ replied, March 10, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

    yes Ed, Nielsen is alternative facts. Real-time analytics on audience and attribution please. Stop hiding behind bundles and puny samples.

  7. John Grono from GAP Research, March 10, 2017 at 4:16 p.m.

    Interesting stoush.   I've seen Ed supply lots of supporting evidence over time.   Evidence that is accepted my many of the knowlegable commenters on MediaPost from around the world.

    Leonard, please corroborate your opinions.

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 10, 2017 at 5:15 p.m.

    As I've noted before, John, it's hopeless trying to have a rational dialog with someone who denies all factual evidence that does not support his vision of "the truth". LZ and Trump are quite alike in this regard though I doubt that he is a Trump fan. In that, at least, we may all agree.

  9. Dan Ciccone from rEvXP, March 13, 2017 at 12:33 p.m.

    "94% of video ads are viewed on television."

    This is a bit misleading.  First, Thinkbox does not discern between people actually seeing/viewing the ads. Maybe 94% of video ads run on linear TV, but that does not mean people are watching all of them.  During 4-6 minute commercial pods, most people use the bathroom or jump on social media so they don't have to watch a barrage of commercials.

    Just because many advertisers are using antiquated means in an attempt to reach their audience doesn't mean TV advertising is working...a few years ago, many of those same media buyers were still throwing money into magazines and newspapers.

  10. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 13, 2017 at 12:48 p.m.

    Dan, any media planner or buyer who was "throwing" his/her client's money into magazines or radio was doing so because the client wanted to use those media---which was not necessarily a mistake as your comment implies. As for the notion that almost everyone rushes for the bathroom or otherwise avoids viewing TV commercials whenever they appear on the TV screen, that  kind of" alternative fact" may sound fine at digital media gatherings but that's is not what the evidence says. Yes, there is a higher degree of avoidance---dial switching, sound muting, DVR editing out, leaving the room and simply not paying attention, etc.--- when commercials are on relative to program content, but it's not even close to the magnitude suggested by your remarks. We estimate theat the average adult watches---at full ot partial attention---about 55% of the time when TV commercials are on, compared to roughly 65-70% when content is on the screen. If you'd like to bone up on this subject, you should subscribe to our annual, "TV Dimensions 2017", and look at the evidence.

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