“Stick it in TV” – five reasons why that might not be such a good idea

According to a marketing magazine report, Diageo’s white spirits marketing director Philip Gladman thinks that if you are not going to get a million Facebook fans you should take your budget and “stick it in TV.”

It’s a reminder for those of us who work in the digital / social space that we’re sometimes still fighting the battles of 3-4 years ago.  And though he’s since slightly qualified his remark in a response (posted via the journalist who wrote the original piece, Gemma Charles), the fact remains that this sort of thing does still have some currency.

As a result, its worth replying to the sentiment if not the individual, with five points showing that a strategy solely revolving around the Television may not be the best use of money:

1 – Scheduled, live TV has relatively low attention levels compared to other types of media.   By comparison, computer activity commands high attention, with surfing the Internet on mobiles and social networking being somewhere in between.

In fact, only listening to music on a music centre or listening to the radio has a lower attention rate than standard, scheduled Television

2 – Indeed, in the UK over a third (36%) of us no longer watch live TV.    Out of those, 42% use a PVR like Sky+ or Virgin Media/Tivo.   I wouldn’t think too many of them waste the opportunity to fast forward through the ads

3 – When asked last year, what their most essential form of media is, all UK adults still put TV top.  But compared to 2009, TV was chosen by less than half.    And the picture was even more pronounced for younger consumers.  For the first time, adults aged 16-24 put using a mobile phone (28%) and using the internet (26%) ahead of watching television (23%)

4 – When they are watching TV, the chances are they are on the Internet at the same time.   The whole ‘second screen’ and ‘social TV’ concept is fairly well known, and in the UK, 74% of consumers with a broadband connection surf the Internet while the TV is on

5 – Though the rate of decline is nowhere near that of newspapers – and won’t be – the TV audience is slowly getting smaller and older.   A US study showed that from 2006-2001, CBS’s average viewer age rose from 53 to 56.   ABC’s went up from 47.4 to 52.3, NBC’s from 48.5 to 50.1, while Fox’s went from 41.5 to a still relatively sprightly 45.4

Of course the real answer is that it should never be either / or.   Almost no one who works in digital marketing is so blinkered as to imagine that digital should live in a silo.

TV does still command tens of millions of eye-balls.   But those eye-balls are getting older, the way they watch TV is changing, and very often they are doing something else.   Cue the perfect opportunity for social and TV to work together.

Image – Bamcat

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