Are TV’s numbers really all that bad? Not exactly. But we still don’t have real concrete numbers to prove it.
Pivotal Research Group says that for the second consecutive month, “total use of television” was up 1% in April, but fell 3% for adults 18-49. This includes all digital TV platforms, connected TV and other over-the-top platforms.
Brian Wieser, senior research analyst, says: “Our interpretation is that while TV in its totality may be relatively stable, results remain negative for ad-supported national TV as a medium, consistent with recent trends.”
It’s all about measurement. And those mostly traditional Nielsen TV measurements -- virtually all to sustain ad-supported TV -- continue to show declines.
“Viewing of unrated programming through internet-connected devices and premium video on PCs, tablets and mobile phones are undoubtedly accounting for some of these declines,” says Wieser. But here’s the key about that “unrated” programming viewing: “[It] probably would bring year-over-year trends closer to flat figures if related data were included in standard measures of viewership.”
So what remains? Confusion and an unsettling environment where TV networks try to come up with new strategies to build up their advertising revenue, all as marketers lean toward “zero-based budgeting” for many of their brands.
Now do you want the bad news?
National TV commercial impressions delivered among adults 18-49 dropped 6.4% on a total-day basis in April 2018 versus the same month a year ago. There was a 3.3% decline for prime time. Average national TV commercial loads increased 2.4% to 11.1 minutes per hour from 10.8 minutes.
The question is: If measurement issues truly are resolved, will this result in more easily digestible (promotable?) viewer/user data to illustrate how well TV is performing?
Or will we just get a hodgepodge of each marketer’s set of “business outcomes” -- where advertisers find it hard to determine how they fared against their competitors on a media-buying-price basis?
We have plenty of data — and nothing but data.