Principles Research

TV advertising - Is it worth it?

A few of our clients have asked us a simple question recently about our thoughts on TV advertising: is it worth it?

Our answer is fairly straightforward:

Yes, as long as you know who you’re targeting.

TV Viewership

Much has been made over the last year or more about the “death of television”. A variety of statistics are used to support the argument that TV viewing is in terminal decline in the UK. For example:

  • 47% of UK households now subscribe to at least one streaming service
  • There are around 5 million more subscribers to streaming services (like Netflix) than there are to pay TV services (like Sky)
  • Conventional TV viewing by under-25s has halved since 2010
  • 16-24 year olds spend more time watching Netflix than on the full BBC output combined
  • 16-34 year olds saw one-fifth fewer TV ads in the first two months of 2019 than in the same period of 2018.

The fragmentation of TV audiences is not limited to young people. Soap operas are significantly less likely to attract large audiences. In 2012, 422 episodes of soap operas attracted at least 8m viewers; by 2017 the number of episodes breaking the 8m barrier fell to 63.

Moreover, the number of TV streaming services is about to increase significantly. Disney and Apple are about to launch their own platforms and the BBC and ITV are joining forces to launch BritBox.

All in all, you can understand why people are starting to fear for live TV as a means of reaching large numbers of consumers!

Changing the channel

Are things really that bad? It’s certainly true that young people are consuming media in different ways. My daughter regards our TV as a portal for Netflix and Youtube (she learned that she couldn’t swipe it a couple of years ago, after a number of failed attempts).

However, while some key indicators are in decline, television remains the leading communications channel with unparalleled reach. Just because real-time viewership is falling does not mean that we should give up on it.

Here are a few facts from August 2019:

  • 88% of UK consumers watched some real-time television each week
  • Total real-time TV viewing was 2 hours, 46 minutes a day
  • The Great British Bake Off had its biggest audience share for an opening episode since moving to Channel 4

Television remains a great way to connect with a large number of consumers. Even though they are busy consuming other media, young people still watch TV: almost three quarters of all the video advertising 16-34s actually see is through live TV.

Should we really turn off TV?

In our opinion, television remains a vital channel to communicate with large numbers of consumers.

Given the fragmentation in the market we suggest “3 Ts” to ensure you optimise your spend:

  • Target: Be clear on who you want to target and their media consumption;
  • Test: Test your ads before launch to ensure they resonate with your target audience and deliver the intended outcome
  • Track: Track the effectiveness of your ad campaign amongst the target group of consumers. Gaining real-time feedback on what is working (or not) can help to optimise your investment.

How we can help

With over 30 years of working closely with our clients, we are specialists in media research and tracking.
If you’d like to understand how we can help grow your business, get in touch today!

Phone: 01132262266