CAB Survey Reprise: TV Still Rules
By Stewart Schley -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/8/2007 11:00:00 AM
Memo from the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau to the advertising industry: Television’s death has been greatly exaggerated.
That’s the upshot of a reprised consumer survey commissioned by CAB to deconstruct some prevailing assumptions surrounding an explosion of alternate TV-viewing devices like video-enabled iPods and TV-capable mobile phones.
Preliminary findings from CAB’s second wave of research about viewing trends were unveiled May 8 at the trade association’s annual Sales Management Conference, held in concert with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s 2007 Cable Show.
Among findings presented by CAB president Sean Cunningham:
Viewing to traditional TV is at an all-time high of 31 hours per week, per person, despite an “explosion” of new viewing options and gadgets.
Traditional linear television remains the biggest driver of interest in video across all devices.
There’s still a broad acceptance of advertising as a quid-pro-quo for getting to watch high-quality television – a sort of “advertising contract” with viewers that doesn’t seem to prevail in equal measure with alternative devices.
Cunningham wants CAB members to use the findings to reassure advertisers that TV still works as a powerful marketing instrument, and in fact appears to benefit from growing interest in video consumption at large. “What no one bargained for…is that in all this bombardment, cable TV thrived. This is the message,” Cunningham said.
Whistling in the dark, the CAB is. DVRs are at 17 percent penetration and growing, while advertiser-supported programming is on the ropes. The CAB's "everything is fine" is strong evidence that they don't believe it, or why would they say it? And just look at the desperation of Mike Shaw at ABC. The Cox deal will fail because DVR users don't just want convenience of not missing a show; they want to miss all the commercials, too. DVR addicts will replace a non-fastforwarding DVR in a heartbeat, with a TiVo or similar device. (Shame on Cox for ignoring its primary revenue stream, i.e., happy customers paying confiscatory rates for broadband, for a secondary stream.). We've had our TiVo for 5 years and the whole family delights in skipping every commercial in sight (and skipping through boring stretches of the show, too). I am reminded of travel agents scrambling a few years back to hold onto their internet-threatened jobs. You can't stop a sea change. This is not a good time to comtemplate a future in TV ad sales. Time to cash out, Mr. TV Exec.
Doug Ferguson - 5/9/2007 8:34:00 AM EDT
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