January 17, 2013

The Triumph Of Disinformation

In the 3rd quarter of 2012, television continued to dominate video viewing.

According to Nielsen's 3rd quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report...
  • Video viewing on a television (live plus time-shifted) came to 97% of all video viewing
  • Video viewing online accounted for a little over 2% of video viewing 
  • Mobile video viewing was about half of 1% of total viewing. 
Here's how it breaks down:

One of the fascinating aspects of these numbers is how out of touch many advertising people are with reality. These numbers should not be a surprise to anyone. They have shifted very little in the past few years. But the constant drumbeat of web zealotry has left many in the ad business believing nonsense and propaganda.

Last week I was at an advertising function. I was sitting at a table with a group of young people who worked at agencies. In the course of our discussion I asked these people to estimate how much video viewing was done on a TV and how much was done online. The consensus was that 60% was done online and 40% on TV.

These were not students, these were people who worked at agencies.

I don't blame them for their ignorance. I blame an industry that survives on hype and baloney; that has leaders who don't lead; that refuses to re-examine its biases and assumptions.

Several years ago when the web was shiny and new, and television was "dying," those of us who were prudent and judicious, and refused to be stampeded into wasting our clients' money chasing digital rainbows, were accused of being slow to adapt to the "new realities." We learned how to adapt all right -- not to any new realities, but to the drumbeat of criticism.

Now that the hysteria of the false prophets has turned out to be substantially misguided, the ad industry is still confused about what is going on around it.

And A Little Poetry...
There was a young fellow named Lance
Who became a big hero in France
He did himself harm
Having junk in his arm 
But not quite enough in his pants


Luke said...

It always amazes me how people shape their opinion of the world based on their wn habits. So I would imagine those young people do watch 60% of their video's on line, but they are not representative of the majority of viewers...

mum and employed in the short term said...

They might not know the real numbers, or they may work somewhere you either adnmire the emperor's wardrobe or console yourself in your unemployment that you're better informed than the stupid people making all that money.

Anonymous said...

One of the best posts you've ever written... in my opinion. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the "Well, you're just slow to change" argument from people who have done nothing significant but drink the kool-aid. Thank you for continuing to scream "Bullshit!" when it's needed.

-- Chip Haskell

Chris Seiger said...

Cite facts and let them stand for you. It's the best way to silence know-nothing nitwits who want something to be true that isn't.

Penn Gillette just did the exact same thing on one of those hen-pecked talk shows and it was hilarious to watch.

Facts are not slaves to trends. The opposite, in fact, is true. Any trend that does not follow facts is not a trend – it is a lie. Simple as that.

JA said...

Fine, but who pays Nielsen to do these studies? I'm guessing the networks and/or their ad buyers. In other words, folks with an interest in people watching live TV.

Given the potential for conflict of interest, isn't it important to look at Nielsen's method, rather than arguement from authority?

luis g de la fuente said...
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luis g de la fuente said...
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luis g de la fuente said...

I think we live in a somehow 'Geek Nation', where IT early adopters are driving all of the marketing efforts of big companies.

Among this people, online video probably accounts for a much bigger share.

Marketers are just so scared to miss trends, and trends are made by Geek-Freaky Nation.

Unknown said...

Bob, I agree with all but this: "I don't blame them for their ignorance." I do. They are paid, and handsomely too, NOT to be ignorant. Fact is, too many agency people engage in "me-search" rather than research or make silly accusations like the one that Nielsen is cooking the books. "The truth is out there," but many practitioners are too lazy to go get it or can't bear to admit it when they see it.

InStadium said...

We agree and just posted a response to this post, titled "The Emperor Has No Clothes, but If He Did We Would See Them on TV," on our blog at instadium.com.


Marklondon said...

Dear old people: get over it.
Yes, the vast majority is Live TV. But people living in trailer homes don't tend to have DVRs. I'm being crass for a reason: no middle-class person OF ANY AGE in America is not using a DVR of some sort.
Also, given that the big ratings winners in Live TV are sports events, that also skews it.
So to get that response, you asked people who work long hours (so DVR or Netflix everything) and may not give a toss about sport. Big whoop.
Aren't you always campaigning against anecdotal bias??

TV will have majority reach for a long time to come. But the trend is that it will not be live, and that the amount consumed on other devices will explode.

There are times when you sound like a climate-change denier. Its not pretty.

And yes, I'm old too. My DVRs work great. And I watch at least 50% of my "TV" on things that are not TVs. I don't do it to be fashionable - I do it for convenience. I also know I'm an outlier. Do you know you're a luddite?