Perception Is Reality -- And That's True For TV And Pokemon Go

We are about halfway into 2016. So how is the year shaping up against some of the predictions for this year?

Well, many are proving to be true. The ANA report that came out is as damning as expected, but agencies so far seem unaffected.

It was the wise Rishad Tobaccowala (chief strategist, Publicis Groupe) who once compared the agency business to roaches because agencies “have proven themselves to adapt and persevere regardless of what is thrown at them.”

VR has arrived on everyone’s phone over the last week in the form of a highly addictive game. If people weren’t walking into each other already while Snapchatting, texting or Facetiming, they now have even more opportunity to crash into each other, literally, thanks to Pokemon Go. The first horror stories have emerged of people falling into manholes, and even getting shot at while playing.



And the first advertisers have already found a way to engage with Pokemon Go players out on the street. I saw a sign from a pretzel place offering a free pretzel if players could show they had found a particularly rare Pokemonster. That is, if they hadn’t walked into the sidewalk sign while trying to find said creatures.

What is also fact in 2016 is the continued decline of TV viewing among younger audiences. Recent Nielsen data compares each quarter of viewing data since 2011. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, TV viewing in the first quarter of 2016 is about one hour less compared to Q1 in 2011. All previous quarters show the same downward trend.

Loyal readers of the Monday Online Spin know that I am neither a TV hater nor lover. I am a communications planner, and as such am interested in how to best reach audiences. “Best” is defined as a combination of a whole bunch of criteria. I certainly look at how much time people spend with certain media, as it is a good proxy to determine if people show an increasing or decreasing passion and/or connection with a medium.

But time spent in itself does not mean the medium is not to be considered for inclusion in a plan. So while the loss of young viewers is a concern, and TV sellers should certainly be worried about the trend, it does not mean advertisers are going to abandon the medium with immediate effect.

What is undeniably happening is that this kind of trend data (just like the slow increase in people cutting the cord) is fueling a narrative that other media are perhaps more relevant and important for consideration before allocating budget to TV advertising.

In another piece of research, marketers this year were asked which budgets they expected to grow, and which budgets would pay for that growth.

It won’t surprise you that print has been fueling the growth of many online budgets over the last couple of years. But 2016 is the first year that more marketers state that they are decreasing TV budgets in favor of anything digital, versus marketers who state they are increasing TV budgets.

In marketing, as in life, perception is reality. The perception now is that “TV is losing.”  Whether or not that is factually true does not matter. As a result, the lofty perch once occupied by TV is more and more challenged in the media mix.

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