TV’s still the king of media

Screen Shot 2012-02-11 at 00.23.33"The old TV advertising way of sending messages out AT a mass audience is dead!"

This sensationalist, scare-mongering message is a popular headline-grabber. And it was the order of the day again at a social media conference I attended this week. Of course, the people shouting this from the roof-top had a vested interest – they were selling, you've guessed it, social media servcies.

Well, another brilliant booklet from Thinkbox brings some much-needed data to the table. And it shows that when it comes to media, TV is still the king, despite the many, shiny new pretenders to its crown. Here's why.

1. TV delivers the best ROI

TV advertising is much more effective than radio, press, online display and outdoor according to an extensive econometric study by Ebiquity (3,000 ad campaigns across nine sectors). TV advertising delivered an average return of £1.70 profit for every £1 invested in the study, 2.5 x more effective than the next best performing medium, which was press.

2. TV is getting MORE effective

The doomsayers predicting the demise of TV advertising are, pardon the French, talking bollocks. The Ebiquity study found that TV’s profit ROI has increased by 22% in the last five years. According to Thinkbox, "This is largely explained by the reduced price of TV which is itself a consequence of record commercial TV viewing." In the last ten years, commercial TV viewing has increased by over 3 hours, 30 minutes a week.

3. TV amplifies other media, inc. social media

TV dramatically improves the performance of other "response-gathering" media, according to research by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA):

– Print response +92%

– Direct mail response + 96%

– Online responses + 164%

And the social media evangelists often overlook the fact that many of the online success stories were ignited by TV. Take the Old Spice Twitter/You Tube campaign we posted on here. This was ignited by the most conventional form of mass marketing: a TV ad in the Superbowl.

Screen Shot 2012-02-11 at 00.26.12
Indeed, many of the most viral online films were initially aired on TV, such as the John Lewis Xmas ad (4mill views on YouTube) and the Yeo Valley rapping farmers (2mill YouTube views). The latter was premiered in the most social of TV shows in the UK, the X-Factor. What better way to get people talking about a brand film than to air it on a programme being watched 10million+ people, many of them families and friends watching together?

4. The Sky+/PVR has not killed TV advertising

Another alarmist bit of scaremongering was the prediction that personal video recorders like Sky+ would kill TV advertising, by allowing people to record TV programmes and so skip the ads. Well, despite the rapid rise of such devices, guess what proportion of TV is "time-shifted" (i.e. recorded to watch later)? 50%? 30%? 20%? Nope. In fact, its only 9.4%. More than 90% of TV is still watched live.

In conclusion, the next time you hear the social media evangelists screaming that the days of mass media and TV advertising are dead, you have the facts at your fingertips to tell them they're talking a load of tosh.

TV is thriving not dying as a TV medium.