Broadcast TV Maintains Media Dominance

Despite some small declines, national TV networks still have a dominating reach among all U.S. consumers, especially compared to digital media.

Pivotal Research Group says that during April 2017, national TV platforms reached 98.1% of all people. Among networks owned by the largest media owners, reach against all people declined on average by 2% per network.

By comparison, YouTube reached 73% of all people ages 13+ in April. (This excluded reach on mobile devices for 13-to-17-year-olds). Looking at another popular platform, Snapchat reached 24% against all people 13 and older.

Reach -- which refers to the total number of different people or households exposed at least once to a medium during a given period -- is an important metric for marketers because it can determine less duplication of customers.

Among all network media platforms, broadcast networks still command the best reach overall.

CBS reached 67.3% of all people during April, with ABC, NBC and Fox coming in between 64% to 58%. The CW and TNT were next, in the 40% range. These were followed by a number of cable networks including AMC, TBS, FX, USA, ESPN and HGTV in the low 30% range.

Looking at reach on the household level, 82.3% of homes watched CBS, followed ABC, 79.8% and NBC, 74.4%.

Going forward, as digital media grows, Pivotal Senior Research Analyst Brian Wieser, predicts “more focus on the volume of consumer time and reach associated with premium content on digital platforms. Today, there is relatively little.”

He adds: “With relatively little of the consumption on these [digital] platforms matching the relative quality of content found on TV today...  this helps traditional TV to sustain their relative importance to the large brands who dominate the medium.”

1 comment about "Broadcast TV Maintains Media Dominance".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2017 at 12:07 p.m.

    Wayne, from a media planning standpoint, a typical "linear TV" buy for a single brand probably reaches something like 60-65% of its target group in a month and considerably more over longer periods---assuming that the purchase is spread around to maximize reach to a reasonable extent. Larger budget brands can attain a  higher monthly reach of their target group if they chose, but the incremental reach attained, costs progressively more as each layer is added. Compare that to a digital video campaign and no matter how hard you try and how much you spend, and you would be lucky to reach 20%-30% of your target. Even if you wanted to buy everything that's available via every website, network, etc. you simply can't come close to TV's reach as a large part of the population doesn't even watch a digital video in a month. My point is that overall reach colpilations such as Brian cited for TV and comparisons with digital giants like Facebook in terms of total visitors/users may create the false impression that the two are fairly close in terms of video ad reach potentials---which is the type of advertising that most TV brands would wish to employ with their digital dollars. In reality, the two media are not close at all when it comes to an individual brand's planning options. That does not mean that digital video buys shouldn't be considered or used, but their main value is supportive to a TV campaign---targeting selective constituencies or mindsets, offering interactive benefits, etc.At this point, mass target group reach is not one of digital media's strong suits when it comes to video ads.

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