Television is healthier than ever, just a little paranoid


Photo Credit: Science Museum, London

Why does everyone feel so compelled to come to the defense of television?  From blog posts to editorial columns it appears that the old guard is jealous (at best) and petrified (at worst) of all the attention the new stuff is getting.

In a recent MediaWeek column, Chris Rohrs, the president of the Television Bureau of Advertising took advantage of another “dead” medium – in this case a magazine – to come to the defense of the industry that pays his salary by reminding us that Nielson just reported that TV viewing is higher than it’s ever been.

Mr. Rohrs even made sure to rub it in (just in case an social media enthusiasts were reading) relating in no uncertain terms that the American male watches on average four hours and 49 minutes of TV a day.  Of course I’m not sure reaching someone who watches nearly five hours of TV a day has any value to an advertiser other than beer brands and Lazyboy, but that’s another story.

But it gets even better,  because guess what?  The advertising on TV works.  Really it does.  According to a just released Yankelovich report, those :30 interruptions elevate awareness, interest, purchase consideration, not to mention store and website traffic.

Personally I have no doubt that TV and TV advertising are here to stay.  What other medium allows us massive reach in no time?   What other technology allows us to imbue a brand with as much emotional power?  What other screen lets us disguise a sales pitch as entertainment and stick it right in the middle of your favorite live sporting event?  TV will always have its place in the media mix.

But when I see all the TV advocates waving their research reports, crying “See, look at this, TV’s not dead,” I actually start to wonder.  If it weren’t diminishing in influence would everyone have to work so hard to convince us otherwise?  What do you think?  Does all of this posturing sound overly defensive to you?  Will TV as we know it continue to dominate?  Do you believe the numbers?

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