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UPDATE October 31, 2018 — A twenty-second television ad used to be the most coveted product in advertising. Now, TV ads are becoming less relevant to viewers of all ages. 84% of surveyed viewers admitted that they want to fast-forward through TV ads, and 60% of surveyed viewers would make the effort to find and download TV shows to avoid advertisements. In response to audiences moving away from TV, marketers are looking at options in digital and social media marketing (namely ways to advertise on Snapchat, YouTube advertising, and Facebook video marketing), thus leading to incremental declines in TV advertising.
Below are the top statistics marketers need to know about TV’s decline:
1. Mobile ad spending is projected to pass TV in 2018.
2. The 2018 digital ad market is larger than the TV advertising market by $30 billion.
3. Traditional TV viewing has dropped by 10 hours per week for 18-24-year-olds since 2011.
4. 60% of Americans prefer online video to live TV.
5. 1 out of 10 18-34-year-olds is a “cord-never.”
6. 50% of viewers 32 and younger will not be subscribed to a paid TV service by 2025.
7. U.S. adults watched nearly 30 minutes less live & traditional TV in a two-year-span.
8. TV’s weekly reach to millennials declined by nearly 15% in 2015.
9. Businesses can boost advertising reach for broadcast TV by almost 60% using YouTube.
10. Millennials are watching half the amount of TV than adults 35+.
With the tremendous growth in mobile’s dominance, the advertising share attributed to mobile has thickened as well. According to eMarketer, mobile will take up nearly 70% of all digital advertising in 2018 and will grow more than three times the rate of total media this year (23.5% vs. 6.6%). Mobile currently accounts for 33.9% of total U.S. ad spend, passing TV as the most prominent advertising medium in the world’s largest ad market. Their projections show mobile expanding to 47.9% of U.S. ad spend by 2022, while TV is predicted to decline from 31.6% to 24.8%. This shift to mobile proves the importance of moving marketing dollars away from the dying advertising medium of TV.
In 2018, the gap between TV and digital advertising spending has already almost doubled, as digital advertising–at almost $100 billion–is close to a $30 billion larger market than TV advertising ($71 billion). Total U.S. digital ad spend reached a record-setting $88 billion last year, while TV advertising fell short of its $72.01 billion projection by reaching just $70.22 billion in TV ad spending. In contrast, digital spending was only estimated to reach $77.27 billion in 2017, and this record marks the first time digital marketing spending has exceeded TV advertising spending.
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Traditional TV viewing has dropped from 25 hours a week in 2011 to just shy of 16 hours a week in 2018. Nielsen’s 2018 Audience Report found that Americans 18-34 averaged about 2-and-a-quarter hours of traditional TV viewing per day (significantly less than the 3.5 hours millennials were watching in 2011). In just a five-year time span from 2011 to 2016, 18-24-year-olds watched TV one and a half hours less each day, averaging at more than 10 hours weekly and 20 minutes daily. By 2020, it’s estimated that 18-24-year-olds will be watching just less than two hours of TV a day. As TV is taking up less of the youngest adults’ time, marketers should look to advertise less on TV and more on the various social media channels that young adults gravitate towards.
While this figure proves decreasing favorability towards traditional TV, 44% of video viewers said they watch less live TV as a direct result of livestreaming. Live TV, once consumed exclusively on traditional television, held high appeal for advertisers looking to capitalize on the urgency of new content. Now, these live broadcastings can be streamed online on a variety of social media platforms, most significantly on YouTube and Facebook. This availability contributes to why 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms for live televised content over traditional TV channels. Marketers now have several pathways to advertise alongside live TV and should take advantage of the growing trend of consuming livestreamed content.
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Statista estimates that by 2021, 41 million Americans will be cord-nevers. Pay-TV penetration is expected to fall to 70% by 2020 from 83% in 2015, largely due to both an increase of U.S. households and a movement towards online content. Despite the growing number of households, the number of people adopting a pay-TV subscription is declining. Astonishingly, more than 1 out of 10 18-34-year-olds are “cord-nevers,” or have never had a pay-TV subscription. These statistics show that the newest households are not paying for subscriptions, ultimately leading to a decline in traditional TV penetration and TV advertising.
By 2020, 1 in 4 households will not pay for a TV Service. Since 2015, the number of Pay TV households has decreased from 99.7 million to 97.6 million and is estimated to decline to $95 million by 2020. The relevance of pay-TV is diminishing amidst online video viewing options. The majority of Millennials will not subscribe to a pay-TV service within the next 10 years according to a Forrester study of 32,000 U.S. adults published in Adweek. Additionally, “cord-cutters” (those who once had TV subscriptions and have since forgone the service) have now been surpassed by “cord-nevers” (people who have never paid for a TV subscription).
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The rest of the adult population in the U.S. is also dropping TV, albeit slower than the young adult generation. The daily TV minutes that the adult population views will continue to drop steadily as it has been for the past 3 years. In 2013, adults watched 24 more minutes of traditional TV than in 2015, and in 2014, adults watched TV 14 minutes more than in 2015. Time of traditional televised content consumed per adult viewer for any age is only expected to drop over time.
Not only are young adults watching fewer minutes of TV per view, but there are also fewer young adults watching TV per week. By the end of 2015, TV was only able to reach 75% of 18-34-year-olds as compared to the 86% average including all adults. The contrast in reach by young adults shows that TV is in declining by generation. Moreover, as the trendsetting generation, the decline of TV in young adults may also be an early indication of the decline in traditional television’s reach to older adults.
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Not only has advertising on broadcast TV been in decline, but it still has to be supplemented with advertising on online video. For instance, businesses that advertised on prime-time broadcast TV increased their reach by 59% in 18-49 year-olds in 2015 by also advertising on YouTube. YouTube’s reach to a younger, wider audience is unmatched by the reach of TV. In fact, YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-olds on mobile alone than any broadcast or cable TV network.
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Most of today’s social media platforms are pushing to create their own content to rival TV content. The availability of new content on a popular online platform has led to Millennials watching 47% less TV than adults over the age of 35. With a diminishing audience watching TV, advertisers should begin to look to other forms of media and other forms of content to promote their businesses.