We have analyzed trends associated with the use of television alongside commercial share trends for national media owners in the United States through the end of the calendar month of April 2017 (covering the period running from April 1 to April 30 rather than the broadcast month, which ran from March 27 to April 30 this year). Complete data including time-shifted viewing and commercial impression data for this period became available from Nielsen on Monday.
Notable observations for the calendar month of April include the following:
Overall, the industry-level results are negative for ad-supported national TV as a medium. Total day and prime time viewing of traditional TV programming among adults 18-49 fell by double digits for a third consecutive month, while internet-connected-device-based viewing – most of which is not ad-supported – rose by more than 50% year-over-year yet again. Viewing of premium video on PCs, tablets and mobile phones are undoubtedly accounting for some of these declines (and reported viewing might even grow if related data were included in standard measures of viewership). However, it doesn't seem likely that this data will be included in any comprehensive industry-wide total audience metric any time soon, aside from individual networks such as CBS supporting Nielsen's related initiative. We continue to believe in our maxim that television is the worst form of advertising except all those others which have been tried, at least for those advertisers focused on awareness-based media goals, and budgets are generally unaffected by changes in ratings in the short-term. Unfortunately, sentiment towards the medium worsens as commonly reported or relied-upon measures such as adults 18-49 fall, especially by the significant levels observed recently. Negative sentiment ultimately leads to advertisers' efforts to explore and encourage the use of alternative media vehicles, or otherwise establish marketing goals that are not necessarily awareness-driven.
Additional commentary and data covering share data for different types of TV consumption and commercial viewing shares for different network groups are included in the remainder of this note.
FULL REPORT INCLUDING RISKS AND DISCLOSURES CAN BE FOUND HERE: TV Update 5-15-17.pdf.
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