For a while now, people have been saying that television advertising, and television in general, is dead. “It’s a dead medium,” some will say. “Nobody watches TV anymore,” others shout.

Oh, really? Tell me, then. What is it you do when you get home from a long day at work, feet aching, back sore, and brain dead?

“Oh well I sit and eat dinner. I mess around on Facebook for a while.”

And the television isn’t on during any of that time?

“Oh. Well… uh…”



Where Does TV Stand?

You may think that in the digital world, television is past its golden age. People are consuming content in a variety of different media, like streaming services and YouTube. But, when looking at the numbers, these competing media formats are little more than a speck of dust on TV’s radar.

In 2015, TV ad spending made up 42% of total ad sales in the world. That’s $79 billion spent on television advertising alone. Digital advertising, on the other hand, made up almost 1/3rd of total ad spending at $52.8 billion.

Print advertising came in 3rd place with $28 billion in total spending.

So where does all this negative talk about TV advertising come from? You might think that the rise of streaming services, digital media, and smartphones has something to do with it, and you’d be right. But in all honesty, these claims don’t hold much merit.

TV viewership has actually increased in the last 10 years. According to a survey done by CBS, their viewership increased by 200,000 since 2004. It is even predicted that viewership in 2020 will go well beyond the current audience of 12.3 million viewers. But possibly the most interesting thing that CBS found in their study was how people were consuming television.


The Big Picture

The main threat to TV is the Internet, but not in the way you may think. Watching programming on your phone, for instance, cuts back on live viewership, but not on viewership as a whole.

Since 79% of US residents now have access to broadband Internet, they are able to easily access TV via smartphone or tablet. “TV is no longer the linear method of media consumption that it once was,” says Sylvia Treviño, Media Planner and Buyer for AMG. “We can’t just assume that people will see your ad a particular time. That’s why a combination of streaming and live TV content is necessary to get an audience with the consumer.”

The future of TV advertising is undoubtedly in both live and streaming content. That’s why services like Hulu and CBS All Access are using both subscription costs and advertising as a source of revenue. These services allow companies to hit almost a 100% target rate because they know who is subscribing and what shows they’re watching.


What about DVR?

Ah yes. DVR. The long sought after (by consumers) and much-hated (by advertisers) service that began blowing up in the mid-2000s. While this service does give viewers the opportunity to skip ads, only about 50% of individuals are using this feature, and that number is falling.

Think about it. When you’re watching TV, what do you usually have in your hand? No, not the remote. Your smartphone. Analysts have found that roughly 66% of individuals have a second screen when watching television. They’ve also found that these individuals are, much to no one’s surprise, too occupied to fast forward through commercials. So all it takes is an ad good enough to grab their attention away from Facebook, and you’ve got their attention.


Where Will TV Go?

TV advertising shows no sign of slowing down. Even in the digital world, individuals will still find time to kick back, relax, and enjoy hours and hours of TV programming, no matter the device. Ad spending will continue to increase. Viewership will continue to increase. The only thing that will change is how viewers consume content. No matter what services you use, chances are that advertisers will be right there with you every step of the way.