March 23, 2010

TV Viewership At Highest Point Ever. And Growing

Being The Ad Contrarian isn't all merriment and high living.

Sure, there's all the money, and the women, and the parties...but there are also moments of loneliness and doubt. Okay, loneliness.

Once a quarter, however, I get to sit back and treat myself to a large pitcher of self-admiration. You see, every three months Nielsen releases something called it's 3-Screen Report. It shows us just how much time people are spending with their 3-screens -- TVs, computers and cell phones.

And instead of the infantile ramblings of web hustlers -- who have seized control of the marketing and advertising industries -- I get to read some actual facts.

Unfortunately, it seems that we -- you my dear ad contras and I -- are the only ones who pay any attention to facts anymore. Nonetheless, let's glow in the knowledge that while the marketing herd is louder than we are, we are quietly, stubbornly correct.

Yesterday, Nielsen released its 3-screen report for the last quarter of '09 and guess what? TV kicked ass.

Here are the highlights:
  • The average viewer watches 2,223 minutes of video in a week
  • 99% of it is on a traditional TV
  • 1% (22 minutes) is on a computer. That means YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, all the porn your kid watches, and every idiotic viral video combined amount to 1% -- which, if my math is correct, is pretty close to zero
  • About 5.5% of total viewing is time-shifted (DVR playback)
  • About 53% of viewers skip commercials when time-shifting, which means that, at most, 3% of total spots are being skipped because of DVRs
  • Mobile video viewing? Essentially non-existent (4 minutes, or about 1/5 of 1%)
It's 2010. TV viewership is at its highest point ever and continues to grow. Here are some questions:
  • Weren't TiVo and the web supposed to have killed live TV long ago? 
  • Where are all the geniuses who were predicting the death of TV 5 years ago? 
  • Why doesn't anyone hold them accountable for their stupidity? 
  • And, most important, why do agencies and the trade press continue to ignore the facts while acting as docile, gullible cheerleaders for the interactive industry?
And here are the correct answers:
  • Years ago the media decided that tv was dead and they always stick to their "narrative"
  • The Nielsen study took place in the real world, not the never-never-land of contemporary marketing
Thanks to Eric Mathewson

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