Digital Players Could Learn Usage Lessons From TV Industry

Digital content consumption is still rising -- but at a lower rate. Is that good? Bad? Or the democratization of media we always believed existed?

In looking at Nielsen DCR (Digital Content Ratings) data for November 2017, Pivotal Research Group says digital content consumption was up 13%, which is down from October 2017’s 25% spike, but similar to August and September data.

Google -- for all its platforms -- now has a 28.6% share of all time on digital media -- up from 23.7% in November 2016. Snap is also higher -- now with a 1.5% share, up from 1.0%.

Facebook and Twitter, however, are going in the other direction. Facebook is now at a 16.7% share of total digital time, down from around 18.2% the year before. Twitter is also down 14% in share year-to-year.



Yet overall advertising dollars for almost all these platforms continue to soar. Have we reached any inflection point yet?

In the TV world, traditional TV networks spent decades combating viewership erosion. But until recently, this wasn’t an issue.

TV was still the big media game in town. Networks could still raise prices and tally overall higher yearly ad revenue playing the “scarcity” game when it came to key and still valuable media/advertising opportunities.

Even with the recent movement of advertising dollars coming back to TV networks over the last two years -- evidenced by higher upfront dollars -- TV network-based media companies are far from being out of the woods. (Ad dollar return is due to digital media’s brand safety issues.)

Digital media players -- including Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon and perhaps Apple -- have growing financial power to create more disruption. These companies still have a goal — to pull more big brand national TV advertisers' budgets into their coffers. (They still have to calm the fears of these advertisers that things are on the up and up.)

This comes as traditional TV network media companies look to move even more aggressively into the digital space with their own premium content OTT services -- hoping to retain many of those same big brand national TV marketers' advertising dollars.

One wonders if any digital media player needs to take a lesson from TV networks in the late 1980s and 1990s. But it probably has nothing to do with finding the next “Seinfeld,” “Friends” or  “American Idol.”

1 comment about "Digital Players Could Learn Usage Lessons From TV Industry".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 21, 2018 at 1 p.m.

    Wayne, I have long agreed with you that digital media "players" need to learn some of the basic lessons about how content is used and how advertising, media planning and TV time buying/selling is done. They will soon find that they also need to bone up on how TV programming works and how to sell time to TV-style advertisers. Incredibly the digital "players" seem to have taken only very small steps in this direction, I suppose on the assumption---now proven largely false---that TV is losing most of its audience to digital so TV advertisers will have no alternative but to use digital on its terms. Not so, folks. As regards ad revenues on FB, Twitter, etc. rising while usage is down, since much of this spending is not of the branding variety I don't see a real contradiction here. For one thing, the digital capacity to generate GRPs is infinite, not limited as is the case with TV. Also, your typical search advertiser, who pays only if there is a response, doesn't care if overall usage is down so long as the responses keep coming.

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