December 14, 2015

What's In Free Fall? TV Viewing Or Industry Credibility?

"No End In Sight For TV Ratings Free Fall..." blared a headline in Advertising Age last week.

Not surprisingly, this misleading story continues a decade-old narrative. Over ten years ago the chattering geniuses of the advertising, marketing, and media industries -- and their lapdogs in the trade press -- decided that the web was an advertising miracle and TV was going to die.

This created a narrative about the death of TV that has progressed unabated.

Anyone with an ounce of sense or perspective would be telling a completely different story. The story is this -- the astounding staying power of television despite the constant negative press and amazing new media options.

The trick that the press uses -- and particularly the advertising trade press -- is to ignore the big picture. They gloss over the overall strength of television viewing and focus on a particular aspect of the industry that happens to be weak at the moment.

Nielsen released its Total Audience Report last week for the 3rd quarter of 2015. Here is a chart I created from their data that compares video viewing on TV, online on a PC, and on a Smart Phone.

This is a chart you will NEVER see in any advertising conference, media "summit", or press report.
The bottom line is that consumers watch 95% of video on a TV and 5% on PCs and Smart Phones combined.

The truly amazing thing about TV is that after all these years of bullshit about its demise, and the introduction of umpteen new media options, TV still thoroughly dominates media habits. In fact, people spend about 4 times as much time per day watching live TV as they do online on a PC. And about 3 1/2 times as much time watching live TV as they do on a smart phone on line or in app combined.

Here are two charts that show what the hysterical "free fall" looks like in graphic form:

Pretty fucking alarming, huh? Has there ever been a less dramatic "free fall?"

The literature and the narrative of our industry have been hijacked by...
a) people with an agenda
b) people who are too stupid to see the big picture
c) people who are afraid to contradict the prevailing plot line
These people carefully "curate" the facts to select only the ones that bolster their narrative. Their credibility falls somewhere between zero and nothing.

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