May 12, 2014

Online "Dying" At Twice The Rate Of TV


Last week I was sent more "TV Is Dead" nonsense.

It came from someone I know (and like) in the ad business -- so I am not going to identify him.

But I am going to provide a little lesson in how otherwise intelligent people who don't understand math are easily mislead and manipulated by numbers and charts.

First let's take a look at this chart that was published on Business Insider.

If you click on it you can see that according to eMarketer (who created the chart) TV's share of total media consumption declined by 1% for 3 consecutive years and then by 4% in 2013. This was cited by the individual in question as evidence that TV was undergoing a slow, inexorable death.

Let's see why these numbers are misleading and why his conclusion is wrong.

To do so, I want you to imagine that you are part of a family of three. You represent 33% of the population of your family.

Then you have a baby. Now there are four of you. You now represent 25% of the population of your family.

You haven't died, you aren't dying, you haven't disappeared or shrunk or evaporated. You are exactly the same as you were before, only your family is bigger -- so you represent a smaller percent of the whole.

This is exactly what's going on with media consumption. There are more types of media being consumed. The amount of TV being consumed hasn't dropped -- in fact, in recent years it is at historical highs -- but the total amount of media being consumed is going up.

This is because of the new baby -- mobile. All you have to do is take a ride on any bus or train and it is obvious that there is a new place and a new way to consume media -- and a new baby in the family.

Consequently, TV (and every other medium) is seeing its share of total media consumption going down. It could hardly be otherwise.

If you look at the chart again, you'll see that as mobile adoption has gone up, all other media types have gone down as a percent of total use. That's because the new baby takes everyone's share of the family's population down. But it doesn't mean that the rest of the family is dead or dying.

Over the past few years, viewing of TV has actually stayed remarkably stable -- at historically high levels. And the effect of smart phone usage on TV has been essentially non-existent.

In the 4th quarter of 2013, the average American spent 2,216 minutes a week watching TV and 8 minutes a week watching video on a mobile device. In other words, between TV and mobile viewing, TV represents 99.6% of viewing and mobile represents .4%.

If you look closely at the chart, you'll see that the adoption of mobile media seems to have had a much greater effect on online's share of media consumption than it has on TV's.

According to the chart, in 2013 TV's share of total media consumption dropped from 42% to 38%, a drop of about 9%. But online's share dropped from 26% to 20% -- a drop of 23%.

So online's share of total media consumption dropped at about 2 1/2 times the rate of television's.

Funny, I don't hear any of the usual blowhard dimwits wailing that online is dying.


(By the way, I am using this graph as an example. I don't for one second accept the numbers as accurate. More about this later in the week)

8 comments:

DogMan said...

Bob, This is too easy. The numbers in this chart are not accurate. In no year listed do the totals add to 100%. With a catch-all category called "Other" this should be simple to ensure. But the totals are:
2009 : 107%
2010 : 108%
2011 : 106%
2012 : 105%
2013 : 99%

Doug Garnett said...

I'm hoping there's a good joke in the "BI" that comes before "Intelligence"...

Simon Price said...

All the work that we've done analysing sales data continues to show that television drives far more sales than other media. Indeed often it is so powerful it either drowns out digital display channels, or perhaps more realistically, they cannot be proven to have any sales effect at all.

smnbmnt said...

How are "Mobile" and "Online" defined? To a large extent they are the same thing, no? Explains the numbers. But Bob's point still hold's true - TV is resilient and critically important.

shackattack said...

aren't mobile and online essentially the same thing? If I stream video from a desktop or a phone, how is that different? And how is it different from TV? It's just a small TV that makes calls and texts and fits in my pocket. The transistor radio was still a radio after all.

Advertising Agency said...

They're very similar but there are differences. Since mobile users are using a smaller screen, they require marketing to be done differently. Viewing a website on your phone is different than on your computer, even if you view the same site.

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Integraphix

Chicago Marketing Firm

shakir said...

Bob, This is too easy. The numbers
Dunya News News

in this chart are not accurate. In no year listed do the totals add to 100%.

ali khan said...

The work that we've done analysing sales data continues to show that television drives far more
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sales than other media. Indeed often it is so powerful it either drowns out digital display channels, or perhaps more realistically, they cannot be proven to have any sales effect at all