The fat lady of TV and radio hasn't started singing yet


Television and radio consumption is down, but they still remain the mighty giants of advertising.

Wait a minute … What? How can that be, with online, mobile and tablet growing at such a tremendous rate?

Obviously, Internet usage is growing rapidly and technology today is impacting traditional viewing habits, but not as much as you might think.

The Nielsen Cross-Platform Report found that in adults over the age of 18, viewership declined year over year from five hours and 10 minutes a day to five hours and four minutes a day.

A six-minute decline.

A six-minute decline. (Sorry, it was worth repeating. But has it sunk in yet?)

Radio listenership was down as well – by four minutes over the year prior.

Let’s step back for a moment and stop focusing on the decline of traditional media. Let’s dig a bit deeper. Television viewership averaged five hours and four minutes in 4th quarter 2013. The next closest medium for the demo is terrestrial radio at two hours and 46 minutes per day. These two media by far are still the most consumed media for the audience.

All the buzz recently is how television viewership is declining and it is no longer an effective and efficient medium. So how does digital, the fastest growing medium, compare?

The same Nielsen Report found that Internet usage on a desktop or laptop also declined by four minutes to one hour and one minute per day. This decline is attributed to the penetration of smartphones.

Smartphone usage has grown significantly over the last two years, seeing a 10 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 and a 26 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. Usage rocketed from 53 minutes per day to one hour and one minute per day.

Another stat to take into account is that local news television viewership is also seeing large gains year after year, according to the Pew Research Journalism Project’s annual State of the Media Report. People are continuing to turn to local newscasts to find out local news about local issues and school budgets. Local morning news was up 6.3 percent in November sweeps and evening newscasts were up 3.3 percent as well.

What does this mean and how does it affect you as an advertiser?

Now it is more important than ever to really understand your audience and identify the goals and objectives of your advertising campaign. TV and radio consumption are still the most powerful media to reach adults 18 and over. However, if your target is teens or kids, TV is still king, but their time with alternative viewing devices soars rapidly. And definitely consider local news as part of your television campaign, since it has the smallest amount of time-shifted viewing.

Despite the decline, the traditional broadcast slope is very gradual and it will be a long time before losing its foothold on being the most consumed media for adults 18 and over.

So, don’t discount them yet.