Does social media mean we’re switching off from TV?

Social media evangelists love to shock and scare marketing folk by saying "TV is DEAD!" They point their finger accusingly at brand teams still using TV advertising, damning them as dinosaurs doomed to extinction. "People are switching off from TV and onto their mobile devices!" they shout, continuing by saying "And anyway, most TV will be recorded and played later, so your TV ads will be skipped past".

Well, new data from Thinkbox shows how deluded these doomsayers are. 

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1. Only 1 in 10 hours of TV is recorded and watched later

Back in 2000, Marketing Magazine ran an article called "The ad killer is on its way: The TiVo box and its effect on TV marketing". The author said "Such a box could mark the end of commercial television as we know it. Ad Armageddon is on its way."

Well, fast forward to 2012, and 90% of TV is still watched live. Only 10.1% of viewing in 2012 was recorded and watched on devices like Sky+ and TiVo. Thinkbox estimate record and playback TV to plateau at about 15% of total viewing.

2. TV watching is stable

Surely people are turning off from TV, given the plethora of other distractions such as video games, mobile phones, iPads and the like? Well, not really. Total TV watching in 2012 was four hours and one minute per day (that's a LOT of TV eh?). This was down vs. 2011… by one minute. That's only a 0.4% drop.

3. Multi-screen viewing

In reality, people are not watching less TV. But what around 80% of people are doing is watching TV AND also looking at their mobile or tablet, according to this article in the Guardian. Of these "multiscreeners", quite a lot are using their mobile device to interact with the TV show they're watching:

– looking for something related to the TV show  (between 37% and 52% of multi-screen viewers)

– browsing for products spotted in a show or ad (between 27% and 44%)

– chatting on Facebook or Twitter about the shows (c. 20%)

In conclusion, TV is alive and kicking and here to stay. Mobile devices and social media have not killed it. Rather, they provide exciting opportunities to amplify the effect of TV advertising.