TV easily wins attention battle

Internet video is getting interest from media and marketers, but multiscreen TV is where US consumers commit the bulk of their time, according to report called Get Real: Video Advertising 2015.

The report examines the major players in the growing field of video in the US – multiscreen TV, Google/YouTube, AOL, MSN, Yahoo and Facebook – on the basis of consumer attention, the most important currency in advertising. The finding: TV content garners 80 per cent of consumer attention within this universe. When TV and YouTube are compared side by side, TV comes out ahead on time spent by a margin of 95 per cent to 5 per cent. The balance shifts with younger adults – 18-24 – but the difference is still overwhelming, at 88 per cent to 12 per cent, respectively.

Importantly, Americans devote as much attention to TV websites and mobile as they do to the four Internet portals, YouTube and Facebook (including mobile) combined. In fact, TV websites either lead or have multiple places in the “top-5” across the most important content genres on-line – news, sports, food, kids, weather, comedy, gaming, home, music and entertainment. TV content also fuels top-ranked tablet apps in the 11 largest content categories.

“There’s an attention paradox in video – you could call it Attention Definition Disorder,” said Sean Cunningham, CEO of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, which issued the report. “The ad industry has been distracted into paying less attention to what consumers are focusing the bulk of their attention on. Consumers are clearly focused on multi-screen TV content – professionally produced, ad-worthy content with a mass audience and infinite targeting opportunities.”

Based on recent industry standard metrics – Nielsen and comScore 4th Quarter 2014 – the report shows that the TV/4Portals/YouTube/Facebook attention opportunity is 175 hours/month, which means Americans spend more time watching video and on the Internet (including mobile) than they work (140 hours/month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Of the 175 hours, 80 per cent is spent with multi-screen TV content, which builds audiences organically via premium, branded content, while 20 per cent is spent on all Internet activity (search, social, mobile, e-mail and video) on the four major portals, YouTube and Facebook combined.

This owes to a dramatic difference in content investment. In 2014, ad-supported TV networks invested $44 billion in original content, while Internet video players invested $3 billion. Of this total, You Tube spent $200 million on content.

“Smart marketers will clarify their definition of Internet video as an extension of a Multiscreen TV buy,” said Cunningham. “Using video to sell more stuff isn’t about how many places you can technically ‘reach’ people for 1-2 seconds; and it’s not about how many splintered impressions you can aggregate. It’s about how much time and attention you can amass with audiences committed to the same content.”

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