Big News! The Small Screen is not Shrinking

Despite conflicting opinions and research, millennials continue to watch a lot of Television. Yes, TV viewership among young adults has lessened over time…but the decrease isn’t significant enough to warrant widespread panic. There’s also no need to compete for advertising dollars, thanks to a new technology that syncs the two screen consumer experience.

But first things first.

According to Deloitte, in March, 2013, 54 percent of leading millennials watched TV on any device.

During the last quarter of 2013, Nielsen reports that TV viewership among young adults isn’t fluctuating as much as people think. (Source: MarketingCharts)

“Nielsen’s most recent study indicates that Americans aged 18-24 watched a weekly average of about 22.5 hours during Q4 2013. That was a 47-minute drop-off from Q4 2012, which in turn had been down more than 2 hours from the year before.”

Other highlights from MarketingCharts reveal:

  • In the space of two years, Q4 TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds dropped by three hours per week
  • Most of that decline came between 2011 and 2012
  • The decline in viewing between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013 amounted to less than 7 minutes per day
  • Percentagewise, traditional TV viewing among 18-24-year-olds in Q4 2013 dropped by only 3.9 percent year-over-year

Clearly, Nielsen has a vested interest in TV viewership numbers, so we must seek balanced and fair research from numerous and non-biased sources.

Stop Fighting for Ad Dollars

How can the chase for billions of TV advertising dollars come to an end?

Andy Nobbs is CMO at Civolution, a technology provider that manages and monetizes media content. He writes on TheGuardian.com that syncing the consumer experience with automatic content response technology can benefit both TV and digital.

“ACR technology and content triggering allow applications running on second screen devices to automatically recognize the content being played on the television screen and synchronize the displaying of a digital ad unit in real time. So the man in the city who wants to drive the exotic car can locate the nearest dealer and even schedule a test drive right at the moment of piqued interest – just as the TV ad has been viewed. The marketer doesn’t have to go through the costly process of re-locating this potential buyer on the internet—and the potential buyer doesn’t have to “remember” that empowering feeling of theoretically rocketing the sports car through the doldrums of the daily commute. What applies to the sports car can also apply to everyday consumables as well – anything from a pizza meal to video-on-demand.”

Nobbs goes on to explain that everyone can win because advertisers and brands ensure their content is seen rather than skipped, content providers can sell ads more effectively and appropriately, and viewers can move that much more quickly to act on that stirring instilled emotion: aspiration.

I have to agree with Nobbs when he says Television can make people take action unlike any other medium.

There’s no small screen shrinkage here.

“Always On” Media and What it Means for Marketers

Multi-tasking is the norm these days. Especially in media usage. Consumers view two to three screens at a time when consuming media. People watch TV, interact with shows using their tablets or smart phones and react via Facebook and Twitter.

This has never been more pronounced than during the 2012 Presidential campaign. A report by Forbes stated that 39% of US adults used social media to discuss politics. President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention sparked 2.5 million online conversations alone and during the record-breaking first presidential debate, more than 10 million tweets were sent. ABC reported there were more than 6.4 million tweets about the election and there was an average of 3,000 tweets per minute from people declaring they “voted!”  Expressing views while watching TV is becoming popular whether it be about politics, entertainment or anything in the news that affects people’s everyday lives.

At the start of 2012, I wrote here on my blog that advertising is not dead and it was just a matter of adjusting to technological innovations and consumers media habits.  I thought it would  be good to see how consumers are behaving in terms of media consumption now that 2012 is drawing to a close. Nielsen recently released their cross platform report for Q2Let’s look at the trends and the impact on marketers.

TV is Still Ahead in the Number of Screens in Use

According to the Nielsen report, Americans spent over 34 hours per week in front of their TV sets watching traditional TV, DVDs and playing console games in Q2. There is also a growing amount of content consumed via the Internet connection through services like Hulu and Netflix.  Americans also spend another five hours on average in front of their computers consuming online content including streaming video. Smartphones now have a market penetration of more than 50% and tablets are already in almost 20% of US TV homes.

Consumers Want More Content at Their Finger Tips

Consumer behavior has changed tremendously over the years. From being tethered to the desktop computer to access online content, they now want the flexibility of being able to access their favorite social networking sites, connect with friends, check emails and shop online anytime and anywhere.  Smartphones and tablets are the devices that give consumers that flexibility they’re demanding. More so since data plans have become more affordable.

The Second Screen Phenomenon 

Data from Nielsen reports that 40% of Americans use their tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day, and twice as many do it at least once a month. In the past, it was through their computers and laptops that consumers connected online, but now with the emerge of tablets and the smartphones, accessing online content is easier than ever before. No waiting for boot up, faster connectivity and on-the-go capability is what makes the latest tablets and smartphones more and more people’s favorite device to get online.

It’s also noteworthy to point out that because these devices are now in most households, connectivity and the adoption of new technology is no longer limited to the young and tech savvy. According to the Nielsen report, “while watching TV, 36% of people age 35-54 and 44% of people age 55-64 use their tablets to dive deeper into the TV program they are watching and nearly a third of tablet users age 25-64 check sports scores.  Across the board a majority of users use apps while watching TV”

A New Connected Community 

According to Dounia Turrill, Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Practice Lead, “when we now talk about this growing connected community, we really are talking of a group comprised of multiple generations, crossing ethnic and racial boundaries and breaking down socio-economic barriers.  With these trends pointing to continued increases in media consumption, it could be said that consumer choice is driving more than watching, it’s also creating stronger bonds with audiences of all sizes and in all places.”

What Does This Mean For Marketers?

It is imperative more than ever advertisers understand the correlation between TV consumption and Internet consumer behavior using portable devices as it opens doors for brands to create a dialogue and influence purchasing behavior to happen instantaneously.  Advertisers must take advantage of social media because of the huge impact it has in terms of increasing consumer interaction. Forty four percent of 18-24 year olds and close to 50 percent of 25-34 year olds visit social networking sites on their smartphones during both commercials and programs while watching TV.  Ads on TV must also match the advertiser’s online marketing message and their products or services be readily available for consumers to buy on their mobile devices as 29% of 25-34 year olds shop on their smartphones while watching TV.

Not only do marketers and advertisers need to focus on their message, it is also crucial to make their website content mobile and tablet ready. To get a better picture of how mobile friendly your website is, you can test it’s mobile readiness here or view your site as it might look on a  multitude of devices here

One can also choose to employ a responsive design on their site. The idea behind this concept is instead of using mobile sites or themes, the design utilizes media queries to determine the best way to display the content based on the user’s device.

Whatever option is most compatible for your marketing budget and time, it is imperative to do it now. Consumers are not waiting, they are adopting mobile at record speeds.  Consumers want access to more content at their finger tips. Is your brand ready? How are you adapting to the changes? I would love to hear your thoughts.