December 10, 2014

Charts, Graphs, Facts, and Fiction

Well, the eagerly awaited death of tv and radio is just gonna have to wait another quarter.

Last week, Nielsen released its "Total Audience Report" -- which used to be called the "Cross Platform Report" and before that was called the "Three-Screen Report" (I sure hope they're better at counting than they are at naming.)

The results are surprising, even to an old cynical bastard like me. You'd have thought that with all the new apps, websites, streaming options, and set-top boxes for watching video, the people who have been yapping about the death of TV for ten years would have a lot more to point to.

But time spent with TV just keeps chugging along. And to a surprising degree, so does radio.

There are a few interesting developments. People (adults 18+) spent about 12 fewer minutes (3%) a week watching TV than they did last year at this time. There's no doubt that all the new options are causing some erosion in live TV watching, but it is much smaller than I would have guessed, and not even close to anything like the hysterical death cries we've been hearing from the same people who've been dead wrong for ten years.

To get some perspective, we're still sitting in front of the box over 5 hours a day.

Here are some charts I made to simplify things. This first chart shows overall media consumption. As you can see, we still spend far more time with TV and radio than other media. We spend over 4 times as much time watching live TV as we do on the web with a computer.

Time spent on a smart phone now exceeds time spent online on a computer.

 Correction: The above chart should be Minutes Per Day, not Minutes Per Week

(It should be pointed out that a significant amount of time spent online particularly by young people is spent doing things that are not usually considered media activities -- checking email, talking, texting, watching porn, etc.)

The next chart shows the relative amount of time spent by adults consuming video on different devices.
Despite the very impressive growth of smart phone usage (up 25% compared to last year) watching video on a smartphone is not very popular, with only one half of 1 percent of video watching done on a smartphone. As mentioned above, I suspect a large amount of online smart phone time is spent doing "non-media" activities.

The next chart shows the relative amount of time spent watching video on a TV (traditional + DVR) versus a web-connected device (computer + smart phone.)

The next chart shows that people spend more time listening to the radio than they do with their cell phone and connected computer combined.
One of the questions I'm frequently asked is whether Nielsen's numbers are reliable? Not being a researcher, I have no idea. But I posed this question to a stock analyst who covers media and who used to be the head media research honcho for one of the world's largest media companies. His answer: No, but they're less unreliable than anyone else.

In other media news, last week Google came out with an astonishing admission -- that 56% of display ads paid for by advertisers are never seen by a live human being. We have been reporting on this for almost two years now, but to have Google cop to it is truly astounding.

And yesterday, the Financial Times reported on a study done by the Association of National Advertisers which determined that online display advertisers would lose 6 billion dollars to criminal fraudsters next year. Although this number is astounding, it is actually low compared to other estimates I've seen.

Of course, none of this will have any effect on marketers. You could tell them that display advertising causes their dicks to fall off and they'd still keep buying the stuff.

It's an amazing world.


Cecil B. DeMille said...

It's all the same thing. Media consumption = wasting our time. As long as we like to waste time, TV will be king. Gotta run. My show is on. said...

And how often is the TV just on, while we're doing 100 other things? It's a comfort thing for many, and I don't think that's going the findings on radio. Now if clients would just once again let professionals write and produce great spots, instead of letting the stations do it, life would be better......

Stephen Eichenbaum said...

Amen Rock. The stations are as much competition for agencies as other agencies.

Charlotte said...

Just got my packet from Nielsen! This boomer is gonna skew the numbers. Wheee!

ChrisPollard77 said...

Some stations produce better material than a lot of agencies. Why? Because they're focused on selling the product instead of trying to win awards for the most wildly creative ads that never sold any product. Not saying all agency spots are garbage, because there ARE truly brilliant campaigns out there. And my hats go off to them. But if agency spots were judged the same way some local creative is, you'd be surprised how many of them never hit the 40% mark of effectiveness.

On the other hand, I've seen far, far, far, far, FAR too much disgusting garbage spit out by an account rep with no rights to scribe a grocery list, let alone a commercial. I cringe every time I hear those "compelling" and "realistic" two voice conversations as I travel about.

But your comment about stations not having professionals to "write and produce great spots" like agencies do is asinine.

ChrisS said...

Bob, you say about 5 hours of TV a day and yet your first chart shows just shy of 300 mins of TV a week. Which is it?

Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd said...

"You could tell them that display advertising causes their dicks to fall off and they'd still keep buying the stuff."

I love that premise because it is so true. But it is true across the board for the majority of humans as this same saying could apply to soda, cell phone radiation, sitting too much, viagra, etc., etc. etc.

Self Delusion is the norm. Self delusion says, "It may make that other guy's dick fall off but not mine. My dick is way more awesome than the average dick."

And of course, his dick falls off and he wants to blame someone else for "misleading him" into believing it wouldn't.

I am far from being immune to indulging in self delusion. But as a marketer, I can safely say that I don't advertise in any format that I can't track and that doesn't pay me back in leads or customers. But of course, I'm playing with my own money here as the owner.

"Marketers" who are "employees" are playing with other people's money in big dumb corporations. And it's no surprise that when it's not their money, not one fuck is given as to how effective a media, an ad placement, or even an ad is.

If you think your own money burns a hole in your pocket, you can rest assured that it doesn't just burn a hole, but burns the dicks off of the employees who are handed a big chunk of someone else's money to play with because they're job is to spend - not to produce results.

And it's no wonder that the dicks of advertisers with more money than brains are getting burned off en masse. :)

Matt Bowden said...

Really? I watched that show on catch up

Keaton said...

Bob, have you ever thought, that putting a TV spot on air is only the "chance" to see and of course 56% of the population will most certainly NOT see the ad.
Now putting an ad online such as a homepage takeover is the same, it is the chance to see.
There is a third comparison too, targeting a person and showing them an online ad based on the fact that they fit the target demographic, only for them not to see the ad is the same as buying a TARP. You got the TARP goal you were after, but how many actually saw it?