What you watch differs from what device you use to do it.
And the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s CEO Sean Cunningham is visiting Madison Avenue ad agencies to remind them that overwhelmingly, what people are watching is television.
It’s TV on a screen or a tablet, DVRed, streamed or bought through Hulu and others.
The new CAB report, titled “Get Real: Video Advertising 2015” uses Nielsen and comScore data from Q4 2014 to determine that of the 175 hours Americans spent watching during that time period, 80% -- that’s 140 hours -- was spent watching “multiscreen TV content.” Pnly 20% was spent with all Internet activity from the other “four major online portals” (Google, AOL, Yahoo and MSN) and Facebook combined.
There’s one major swerve in this research. The report is not counting Netflix or Amazon viewership and other ad-free online sources because its audiences aren’t measured by Nielsen or comScore.
But among commercially supported content suppliers, for example, the CAB report says that one more or less ordinary (but heavily repeated) television show -- HGTV’s “Property Brothers’’ -- had slightly more ad impressions (2.36 billion) from all sources in September 2014 than did the 10-most-viewed YouTube channels combined (2.355 billion). That group includes Vevo, Maker Studios, Machinima, Fullscreen, Zefr, Warner Music Group and Broadband TV.
The number of ad impressions from watching just the Food Network in September equaled all the ad impressions on YouTube that month.
“There is an environment of evolution. There’s some validity to that,” Cunningham conceded in an interview, emphasizing he wasn’t at all trying to trash-talk digital media, but just trying to give a clearer view of what’s being watched. “The shift in viewership is really happening. It’s the size and pace we have to pay attention to.”
But he said advertisers and marketers may be seduced by that changing tide and for now, overestimating it. After all, it’s all they hear about.
“ ‘Dramatic headline’ is happening,” Cunningham quipped. “ ‘Dramatic conference-speak’ is happening.”
But, he says, the research results show viewers overwhelmingly still choose “professionally produced content,” and that’s the milieu of television producers. Cunningham has taken to referring to what he dubs “Attention Definition Disorder” as a condition in which marketers forget what it is that people are actually watching.
“Get Real” says TV-related Web sites either lead or have multiple places in the “top 5” across important content genres online, including news, sports, food, kids, weather, comedy, gaming, home, music and entertainment. It also dominates the top-ranked tablet apps in 11 content categories.
The CAB research says the average viewer spent 5,361 minutes watching ad supported TV content in September, compared to just 310.5 minutes on YouTube, which a graph notes is “primarily UGC,” or user generated content. That 95%-5% split is narrowed slightly to 88%-12% when only measuring 18-24s.
One slide takes some of YouTube’s best known brands -- like Maker Studios, for example -- and lists about 30 of its channels in small type, and then adds, “plus 1,000 more channels.”
The CAB’s point is that reach can’t be based on just adding up a lot of splintered one- or two-second views. Effective campaigns, it would argue, can’t somehow forget mass audiences.
The report says, as a preface to one slide, that “The mistake is a mind-set or strategy that looks to use the ad tech video brands as a surrogate, substitute or replacement for the multiscreen TV brands.”
Cunningham added, by phone: “The focus [by online brands] is not on content. The focus is on ad tech. It’s on algorithm. It’s on precise targeting. It’s the magic in the data.”
When CAB takes its 48-slide media show to agencies, Cunningham said, it’s important to him that the numbers comes from established sources, like Nielsen and comScore. “That data is available on every allocator’s dashboard,” he said. “These aren’t exotic conclusions. There’s a lot of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Research out there.”email@example.com