This month the marketing body for the main UK commercial TV broadcasters, Thinkbox, released A Year in TV, its 2018 annual review, with some eye-popping facts.
Though many people think TV is dying faster than characters on Game of Thrones, TV advertising accounts for 94.6% of the video advertising people see, and for 71% of the business profit advertising generates as a whole (Ebiquity/ Gain Theory).
UK TV ad revenue totalled £5.11 billion last year, matching that in 2017, with 867 advertisers either “new or returning” (ie after a gap of at least five years) to TV in 2018. This number was boosted by the increase of online brands, with companies such as Amazon, JustEat and GoCompare investing particularly heavily (to the sum of £760m over the last three years) to become TV’s dominant advertisers.
Research and strategy consultancy MTM’s Age of Television study found that whenever we watch TV video, we are doing so to satisfy one or more of eight different needs.
For example, live viewing such as sport, is driven by a need to keep in touch and experience viewing with others. On-demand viewing allows us to escape into content such as reality TV, while primetime dramas (more likely to be time-shifted) allows viewers to unwind and be distracted.
Though we watch as much TV as ever, how we watch is changing. 48% of the UK lives in a household with access to a subscription (SVOD) service such as Netflix and Amazon, rising to 62% of 16-34s.
These services may compete with broadcasters for younger audiences, but don’t directly replace the traditional platforms; only the heaviest 20% of Netflix users watch more Netflix than broadcast TV.
This change in habits emphasises how broadcaster VOD (BVOD) is seen as a necessity, not a luxury. Linear TV is still the largest video medium at 76%, followed by SVOD (9%) and BVOD (6%). Facebook video is flat, accounting for 1.1% of total viewing in 2017 vs. 1.2% in 2018 – compare this to 69% of all video viewing on television.
New forms of online video have brought new users: videos for practical tasks (such as “How-To DIY” videos) or distraction attract many views. TV viewing dropped overall among young audiences (16-34s) year-on-year (50.1% in 2017 to 45.1% in 2018) but it still dwarfs other platforms, with this 5% drop moving to BVOD, SVOD and YouTube.
Once again Thinkbox’s 2018 review highlights the important role television retains in the media landscape. As well as providing mass reach, TV drives fame and builds trust for advertisers, and an immediate short-term impact for brands – particularly those that rely heavily on digital marketing. It impacts our emotions, providing intrinsic benefits and an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
As our consumption habits alter, advertisers can earn incremental reach increase effectiveness by adding video-on-demand to a linear television campaign. As online video attempts to take the jewels from TV’s crown, it’s clear the latter is still sat on media’s iron throne.