In the 70s and 80s up to the late 90s, television reigned supreme as the highest form of marketing. Companies who could spend the cash on TV ads found themselves grounding the competition to the dust. But these days there has been a shift in viewership due to the fact that 40 years ago, we had a few channels but now there are more than a thousand channels alone.
The Super Bowl slot used to be the Holy Grail in the advertising world but there has been a declining rate in viewership with sports, the latest in a long line of conventional TV genre to lose its appeal to a newer younger audience. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the void which is been created by the loss of TV appeal, will be gained elsewhere. And there is no other place that has seen more conversion than in digital entertainment.
Today there are whole lots of things to entertain the mind of an average citizen compared to the past with just a few good shows. And although sports has not totally lost its appeal on cable, people are now willing to pay for and engage with a lot of varied content on Internet TV or stream content through Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming giants. There are other consumers (and quite a lot of them) who prefer the drama of social media than sitting down glued to a show on cable TV.
The honest truth is this the forms of entertainment have shifted over the years and from the perspective of television advertising, this is bad news. Despite conventional TV trying to adjust its advertising methods to suit today's viewing habits, there is little or no improvement in viewership ratings with companies paying more money for little audience attention.
There has also been an adjustment to the type of ads created but this has no effect whatsoever. An increasing number of people are shifting from shows which have ads to shows which do not. And with the increasing popularity of Netflix and other streaming platforms, more people are willing to pay good money to eliminate ads from their content.
Although conventional TV may charge $5m for a Super Bowl slot, the viewers of today no longer have the patience or the attention span to sit through a 30 second ad. Even digital products like YouTube have had to adjust their strategy by taking away the compulsory 30 second ads situated at the beginning of their videos and replaced that with 6 second ads.
But does this signify the beginning of the end for the TV ad. It does not. The death of TV has been foretold for many years past and even though content and viewership are changing for the worse, TV viewership will not die anytime soon. Although the new generation is more in tune with digital content, the older generation who grew up with television still watches them today. But this is only a period of grace. As the old generation keep dying out, TV power and pull will keep on dwindling. Now is the time for TV to think outside the box if it wants to survive into the future.
Even TV makers like Sharp, Samsung, and Sony are beginning to realize the importance of catering to the younger audience by providing TVs that are smart, with the ability to access digital content such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
The TV ad is not yet dead. But it needs to find new ways to grow its appeal or it would perish forever.