For years now, experts have been predicting the demise of television advertising. Foretellers cited cable television’s decreasing viewership numbers, yet the prices for running an ad remained the same. According to the experts, television wasn’t worth the costs. Yet, here we are with television as a viable and relevant advertising medium in 2016.
Despite what marketers speculated, television advertising remains a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. It cost $4.5 million to run a single ad during last year’s Super Bowl. Businesses wouldn’t sink millions into an obviously failing medium. Something about television advertising works. It’s a practical method of marketing, and it won’t be going away anytime soon.
Viewership Is Still High
The evolution of the Internet has taken the world by storm over the past decade, and with it came some of humanity’s most glorious and distracting creations — Netflix and YouTube, for example. As a result, cable television viewership took a hit.
This was to be expected, of course. There is a set number of individuals consuming entertainment media, and the group of people streaming television shows and movies comes from the pool of people who pay for cable television.
However, the extent of cable television’s losses has been greatly exaggerated. Just over 20% of American households were without cable last year, meaning the almost 80% remaining households still have cable subscriptions.
So while it may be true that 1.1 million Americans cancelled their cable subscriptions last year, remember that nearly four times that number still haven’t given up on cable television. In addition, the majority of adults ages 35 and above still opt for cable television for their viewing pleasure.
Statistically, that means roughly 80% of consumers in your area still watch cable television, giving businesses a huge demographic to market to.
The bottom line is that an overwhelming majority of Americans still enjoy watching their favorite shows, movies and sporting events on cable televisions. The numbers back it up.
Print Is Falling Away
Television advertising can achieve success on its own, but it has enjoyed a boost from the decline of print advertising. Studies from the newspaper industry in 2015 revealed that the market is taking massive losses — the newspaper workforce has shrunk by about 20,000 positions in the last 20 years, representing a 39% decline.
Such a steep drop in employment numbers indicates that the industry is failing to generate the necessary revenue, especially from traditional print. In fact, out of Americans who read the newspaper on a daily basis, only 51% of them prefer to read a physical newspaper.
Revenue figures for the newspaper industry continue to decline — if a eulogy needs to be written for any advertising medium, it’s print. This has, however, created an opportunity for television to gain more revenue of its own.
Print media has always been considered one of the cheaper advertising options, but also one of the least effective. But without print as a viable option, more businesses are turning to television.
Print offered a visual component that radio couldn’t, and with fewer newspapers in circulation than ever, someone has to present that visual message. Why not television?
The Advantages Are the Same
Apart from the tragic, soon-to-be death of another medium, the biggest reason that television won’t die is that it still holds all the same advantages that made it an effective advertising medium in the first place.
Television, more so than any other advertising medium, offers the unique combination of a large audience, targeted audience and high level of sophistication. These three elements are the most powerful advantages of using television as a primary marketing tool.
Remember, almost 80% of American households still subscribe to cable television. Those people are all around you, and they’re tuned in at different parts of the day. They are potential customers who might see your ad.
People watch television ads for two reasons — one, they’re genuinely entertained by an inspiring or funny commercial. Two, they’re too lazy to change the channel.
Either way, their attention is a win for you and your business.
Additionally, television stations can use ratings statistics to tell you exactly how many people are watching during specific dayparts.
If you’re an outdoor sports shop, you can look into advertising on a sports channel or during the sports segment of the evening news. If you’re a nail salon, you can try running an ad during some soap operas.
Television allows you to target your audience in a way similar to radio and in a way newspapers never could, but with the combination audio and visual components. Viewers are loyal to certain shows, so the repetition of your ads will permeate the viewing audience’s mind.
Television’s combination of visual and audio components is much more sophisticated than any other form of media, therefore it reaches a different level of stimulation than radio, newspapers or even online advertising.
Advertising is all about persuasion, and the art of persuasion is centered in appealing to people’s needs. Their needs can be genuine or manufactured — it’s only necessary that consumers feel a strong urge to act on those needs.
Seeing a compelling call to action on television can encourage them to act, and that’s where television advertising has its greatest influence.