Traditional media holds its own in a digital world

For a medium pronounced dead so many times, TV is very much alive and kicking.
28 April 2017
woman tv
Rachel Gursky

Content Marketing Director, Kantar, US

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There is no question that online media forms play an ever-more significant role in our lives. But what does that mean for traditional media platforms? According to Kantar’s DIMENSION report, traditional media isn’t going away.

Indeed almost half of the “connected adults” we surveyed stated that while they access online media forms at least once a day, they are also reading, viewing and listening to media via their established formats.

The DIMENSION report is an analysis of 5,213 connected adults (ages 18+) across five of the world’s largest advertising markets: the U.S., Brazil, China, France and the UK. Connected adults in this study are defined as those who have access to the internet via both a PC/laptop (at home or work) and a personally owned smartphone or tablet.

TV, Print Still Attracting Eyeballs

For a medium pronounced dead so many times, TV is very much alive and kicking. 97% of our sample reported that they watch TV on a TV set, mirroring the dominance of the established format that is observed repeatedly in audience measurement studies all over the world.

This is not to suggest that our sample never view TV on any other device. 73% of them say they view TV online and 70% of them do so via a mobile device, but they also still access the medium through the TV set. It’s an ‘and’ not an ‘or’.

How TV is viewed

Print tells a similar ‘and’ story. Even though circulation and readership numbers confirm that print formats are read a lot less frequently these days, they still attract substantial audiences.

83% say they read news and articles in printed newspapers, while 84% read magazines in print.

These consumers are however also accessing news and articles online. Indeed, 93% read articles online and 84% on mobile devices – an indication of the ubiquity of smartphones and of their growing importance to advertisers.

How news is consumed

Digital Spend Growth Accelerates

Our DIMENSION study shows that consumer dissatisfaction with digital advertising has been on the rise and that consumers are still using traditional media with regularity. That hasn’t held back advertisers who are eager to reach audiences with precision and frequency. According to recent IAB figures, digital expenditures in the U.S. reached a record $72.5 billion in 2016, a 22% increase YoY. All this while 71% of consumers surveyed in DIMENSION agree that they sometimes see the same ad over and over again and that it gets too repetitive. In the U.S. specifically, 27% say they always use ad blocker software.

In comparison, 75% of those surveyed had positive attitudes towards offline advertising – agreeing that they like it generally and it can be enjoyable. While U.S. TV expenditures still exceeded digital spend, the traditional medium is not growing at nearly the same rate. In 2016, U.S. TV expenditures reached $78 billion according to Kantar Media data, an increase of 4% YoY which was mainly driven by the U.S. Presidential election and advertising during the Olympics.

Further, 80% of the connected adults surveyed say they tolerate or generally like ads within printed newspapers. Even with positive attitudes and high readership percentages, print spend continues to decline. Indeed, U.S. print expenditures decreased by 6% in 2016, reaching only $19 billion according to our data.

Despite the growth of digital, online has no monopoly when it comes to how connected adults are choosing to consume media. In the media world of the connected adult, online and more established offline forms co-exist, making it important for marketers to create compelling cross-media campaigns that mesh with consumer behavior.

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