Why Kill TV, The Goose That Still Lays A Millennial Golden Egg?

Why is it that marketing gurus always want to kill off television, or at least inflict a flesh wound? FMCGs are today reporting that they would be spending less on television and more on digital if their retailers would play ball -- but instead, their "trade partners" expect brands to be supported with television advertising, and so buying spots watched by millions on their sofa carries on.

Thank goodness Warc came out with some interesting research today showing hat the trendiest of all marketing demographics, the beloved "Millennials" -- actually love television, and not just the sort they can stream on a laptop in their bedroom. The figures vary from country, but the result is that Millennials are watching either just under of just over two-and-a-half hours of linear tv per day in the U.S., Canada, UK and across Europe.

Across Europe, tv accounts for between 65% and 74% of video consumption. That traditional old dinosaur channel sitting in the corner of the living room accounts for 70% of a Millennial's video consumption in the UK, and two-thirds of that time is spent watching television shows, not YouTube clips and the like.

If you're still not convinced yet that there is life in tv, the research also asked Millennials what they thought of tv advertising. More than half -- 54% -- enjoy it, compared to 16% for ads on social media. In addition, 69% and 73% said tv ads made them laugh and were memorable, compared to 24% and 17% for social media.

The big takeaway, then, is that Millennials are watching plenty of television and can recall the ads being three or more times as entertaining as anything they have seen on social media.

Now, you may well say that television is suffering from people fast-forwarding to avoid the ads, but when you consider all the issues surrounding viewability, click fraud and ad blocking, you cannot exactly say that digital display has anything to brag about there, can you?

It's not only the figures that have repeatedly prompted me to remind the gurus that tv is far from dead, it's the experience of talking with brands -- from established names to startups -- that frequently express an ambition to sponsor a tv programme to get their name at the start and the end of the ad break that people may be zipping through. When figures tell your brain that what your eyes are seeing is right, it's usually a pretty good sign.

So, yes, some tv spend is absolutely going to go the way of digital, but can you think of a bigger, better medium to tell millions of people about your products and services in one fell swoop? Just look at what's going on. ITV is in great shape, despite England not making it out of their pool in the Rugby World Cup, Sky is launching a new multi-room, multi-device service called Sky Q, BT is forking out millions on sports rights and Channel 4 is being fattened up for a lucrative selloff. It hardly seems like an industry on its last legs to me.

So, let's leave the gurus to pontificate and just wonder what would happen if they were told there's a cross-device medium that has Millennials' attention for two and a half hours per day where ads are thought to be four times more enjoyable than on social media. They would probably jump at the chance to embrace it, right up until they heard it was called television.

1 comment about "Why Kill TV, The Goose That Still Lays A Millennial Golden Egg? ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 19, 2015 at 9:47 a.m.

    Needless to say, Sean, I couldn't agree least until digital gets its act together and becomes an ad medium.

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