TV Dominates, But Digital Media Is A Fixture

On-demand TV -- when you want it TV -- sounds like a growing place we increasingly want to be. Hello Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and the rest. But what about what remains of real live TV? What is that value?

A new study from SmithGeiger, released during the NAB event, says TV viewers are spending an average of 3 hours and 13 minutes per day watching live TV. Live TV is up 26% from last year.

Streaming TV is up as well — 41%, averaging three hours and 15 minutes — some of which overlaps with live TV viewing. The company recently surveyed 1,007 U.S. TV viewers age 18-54 — comprising 87% of all adults — who either watch live TV or stream content on digital devices.

Now, all this would seem to embolden TV analysts that traditional TV  platforms — especially local TV — continue to have a future. Especially when it comes to local TV news.



We are told local TV news programming will have a big future — on traditional linear TV or perhaps more on digital media platforms — because of the value of live TV. Immediacy can be everything to new TV consumers, specifically trust in an age of “fake news.”

And there is this from the study — 53% believe local news programs are their most trusted source of news. But what about the other 47%? We still know that many Americans — around 60% — also get their news from social media, mostly all from Facebook.

Find new ways to determine “trust” and “value” now — and you’ll find your loyal consumers.

At the same time, Facebook has made big headlines recently — and not positive ones, pertaining to “trust.” Despite this, media consumers will continue to use the social network which delivers or distributes news.

And if you don’t think so, just follow the money. Even before privacy-data issues, Facebook has had continued measurement and other problems of concern to marketers.  

Would you think Facebook’s $40 billion-a-year take for some advertisers would be in jeopardy? Not yet.  Facebook’s advertising revenues rose 62% in the first quarter of this year.

If digital media continues to grow — as well as the need for live TV news — figure out where the intersection will be in, say, five or 10 years from now. And then maybe watch it happen live.

8 comments about "TV Dominates, But Digital Media Is A Fixture".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 17, 2018 at 9:25 a.m.

    When a study says that "live TV" viewing is up 26% from last year one has to question the validity of that study. Also, the time spent claims are questionable. One wonders why so many of these "let's ask some people" studies are being conducted when Nielsen publishes more exact----if not perfect---findings from its meter panel on its website on a regular basis.If you want to explore opinions about news or other matters, that's fine, but lumping such results with questionable information about overall TV/streaming usage rates makes one wonder about all of the findings.

  2. Jen Whalen from Samba TV, April 17, 2018 at 12:31 p.m.

    @Ed, while I agree with questioning the volume of these "let's ask some people" studies (largely because they all say the same thing, which is, "TV isn't dead!"), I argue that Nielsen's data is far from perfect when it comes to measuring audiences and viewership the way people watch content today, at scale. Analyzing more granular real-time viewership data sourced from ACR technology, combined with thought pieces like this would round out the findings with more accuracy and paint a more complete pictire of the viewer on the other side of the glass. 

  3. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 17, 2018 at 6:58 p.m.

    Jen you raise a good question.   I agree with Ed's caution regarding the quoted data.   Few people realise that if you are viewing TV via a PVR and pause it for just one second then it is no longer classified as "live" - this accounts for a proportion of the decline in "live TV".

    But Jen I think you are talking about video consumption rather than (traditional) TV consumption which I think is what Ed was referring to (correct me if I am wrong Ed).

    So, yes, Nielsen does a good (not perfect - but then again no research is ever perfect) job on measuring TV, but it falls short on measuring all video consumption.

    But working in both worlds of traditional TV and 'digital' TV research (i.e. streamed, OTT, on-demand, whatever you want to call it), I find that server side measures do a good job of measuring the video traffic, but a poor job of the actual audience.   ACR does a good job of measuring traffic to referenced traffic but not to all traffic (e.g. UGC on YouTube).

    If you dig behind the data that is collected by the TV ratings companies, you will see that in the sub-universe of connected TVs that the reported data (i.e. the ratings) is not the whole usage of the TV.   There are lots of unidentified usages that go into the "all other usage bucket.   A big chunk of that is unreferenced content.  Another big chunk is connected game usage.   We will never get to report everything but we need to report what matters and report it as verified audience and not just server-to-device traffic.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 18, 2018 at 1:12 a.m.

    John and Jen. Yes, I was primarily referencing video usage however as regards smart TV sets, even if these attain very high penetration levels, it will be some time before they capture enough set usage  to project national ratings for most TV shows as the average home has 3-4 sets, not one. Also, and more important, while using smart TV sets by the tens of milllions to provide "granular" audience breakdowns---might be feasible some time in the future---assuming that there are cost efficient methods of integrating such a masive data base, unless I'm mistaken, we are still dealing with device usage not viewing, hence the data will  mislead us. This is not a small point. Relying on set usage tallies as a surrogate for "viewing", one would think that TV's heaviest viewers were young adults and those with better educations and/or higher incomes when, in reality these are the lightest viewers. As a result, device usage ratings are decidedly seller-friendly ---even if they provide more detailed and "better"  findings---and this goes against the interest of advertisers trying to improve their audience targeting. If we are really to make a great leap forward, what is needed for all TV/video audience measurement is individual by individual viewing data. Perhaps when smart TV sets can "see"and report on what is happening in front of the screen, we can get to an "eyes-on-screen" measurement , but even that kind of information will require considerable study and interpretation.

  5. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, April 18, 2018 at 3:17 a.m.

    From an analytic view, it seems "odd" to bundle "live" TV data with streamed.  Seems clearer to report separate numbers...not "overlapped."

    Opinion on news. It would seem station groups and nets are missing some opportunities by not putting more news on various digital platforms.  Case: Why can't I see the 5pm local newscast in its entirety on the station's site at 8pm?  Are stations and nets overly protective of their over-air franchises? Is it a cost issue? Fear of potential lost "live" view ratings for over-air? Banking on DVR time-shifting? Please explain.

  6. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, April 19, 2018 at 11:48 a.m.

    While you all comment on the validity of the Nielsen ratings to measure all video on all devices (they don't do that, but we can let that go for now), what about informing the reader of the methodology of the research being reported as news? What happened to that? I am reading more and more pieces where no explanation of the research is given.  In Joe's piece he says....The company recently surveyed 1,007 U.S. TV viewers age 18-54 — comprising 87% of all adults — who either watch live TV or stream content on digital devices.  And that is all we know? That is not suffiecient.  Sorry.  Just sayin'.

  7. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 19, 2018 at 5:28 p.m.

    Fair point, Marshall. I, too, am sometimes puzzled by the ways that various surveys are reported  concerning their methodology and, often, findings that simply don't line up against what other research is saying. In this particular case, we are told---per the article---that adults aged 18-54 constitute 87% of the adult population---at least that what was written. But that's not close to being correct---a more accurate figure is 65%.

  8. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 19, 2018 at 5:41 p.m.

    I agree Marshall.   Sample selection is key in media research.   For example online will favour digital.   Face-to-face will favour TV, radio and print/press.   Inner-city biases will favour out-of-home etc. etc.

    But I would also like to point out that I said "So, yes, Nielsen does a good (not perfect - but then again no research is ever perfect) job on measuring TV, but it falls short on measuring all video consumption."  I thought I was quite specific that Nielsen (and in fact every TV research business in the world that I know of) fall short on measuring "all video consumption".

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