Data: Linear TV ad impressions falling in major markets

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Linear TV audience activity has declined in the first three months of 2021 and advertising impressions have been eroded in the UK, the US, Australia and German according to data from smart TV devices from viewership data company Samba TV.

The US and Australia saw the steepest decline among the four countries analysed, with minutes watched in Q1 2021 being 14 per cent and 13 per cent lower than in Q4 2020, respectively. Linear TV’s daily reach also dropped by 10 per cent in the US and 9 per cent in Australia.

Linear TV in Germany and the UK saw better performance but still registered decline, with the number of minutes watched falling 2 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.

This caused linear impressions to fall year on year in Q1 2021, with Samba TV saying that they fell 23 per cent in the US, dropped 16 per cent in Germany and were down 8 per cent in the UK. Australia’s trend was not reported by the company.

Although all four countries saw minutes watched decline in Q1, the rate varied significantly across dayparts. The decline in consumption was consistent throughout the day in the United States and Germany but the latest and earliest hours of the day saw the steepest decline in Australia.

The UK data differ somewhat, with the overnight segment attracting higher levels of consumption. The UK was also the only market to see some level of growth in linear TV advertising impressions when split by daypart, with prime access (+9 per cent), prime time (+8 per cent), late fringe (+6 per cent) and overnight (+10 per cent) all up from Q4 2020, though still down year on year.

Linear TV continues to take a larger share of video consumption than online formats but this lead is declining. However, WARC’s latest data suggest that following deep cuts last year, advertisers are investing more – TV marketing budgets accelerated their growth in May 2021. This has been helped by growing interest from digital-first brands that are new to TV advertising. TV campaigns often prove attractive to advertisers as the medium leads on both creativity and effectiveness metrics. Campaigns are also being supported by the incremental reach that digital video’s strong growth provides.


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