Online video v TV

When was the last time you watched TV on a TV set? We all know, TV viewing continues to shift online. Online video is changing how video content is viewed and how the advertising experience works. Still, TV and online video consumption are linked and looking only at their isolated trends can prove misleading.  The main trend, though, is clear: online is where people want to watch – it is just what TV looks like now.

A new Nielsen report shows that TV is still by far America’s favorite entertainment past-time, but individuals are spending more hours surfing web and viewing streaming services. Overall viewers spend about 14 and a half hours watching video on their phones, computers and multimedia devices, or about a tenth of tenth of the time they spend watching TV. And with CBS and HBO offering an online-only option, these trends will likely continue to accelerate.

TV may still dominate the advertising market, but the audience for online video is soaring. Online video is changing how video content is viewed and how the advertising experience works. Unlike traditional TV, the appeal of the online version is that it does not require viewers to commit to a single piece of hardware. Consumer expectations have shifted and marketing budget should too. Online viewers are receptive to ads and that viewing is growing among hard-to-reach audiences like adults 18-34. According to Zenith OptiMedia, online video grew 34% last year to nearly US 11 billion.

But television itself is slowly starting to offer better targeting, so it is not time for video advertisers to forget about the fundamental advantage of internet-based targeting and tracking, especially across the multiple devices people use throughout the day. Traditional TV (and Radio) is far from being “dead” no matter the reports saying so. In fact, the use of TV (and Radio) still dominates media consumption. The Nielsen Total Audience Report (Q1 2015) comes to confirm that TV remains consumers’ medium of choice and the most effective and powerful marketing medium.

“It may seem that tens of millions of video views is a much bigger number than a few million persons in the audience of a TV program, but the TV number is expressing viewers in the average minute of the program,” Glenn Enoch, senior vice president of audience insights at Nielsen, writes in the quarterly report.

The fact is that TV still delivers a massive audience. And not just in prime time. Despite its recent, relatively minor, decline, TV remains by far the most popular of all media globally, attracting 183.9 minutes of consumption a day in 2014. Internet consumption came a distant second at 109.5 minutes a day. Television accounted for 42.4% of global media consumption in 2010, and 37.9% in 2014.

Sure, mobile and digital viewing is growing, but people, even Millennials, still prefer TV. Remember this about TV: the larger the screen size, the more people are likely to sit down for a long period of time. For one thing, the picture is bigger and better.

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