Tuesday, March 04, 2014

When Is Big Not Big?

The report out of Adweek this week regarding the fact that TV has twice as many viewers as online video is getting quite a lot of attention.

Consider the following:

There are 283 million television viewers monthly, each watching an average of 146 hours of TV.

There are only 155 million online video viewers averaging a little under six hours monthly on mobile and about six and a half hours on the Web.

These are big numbers, as far as numbers go.

But when is big not big?

In this case, I'm afraid.

TV is about breadth.  It's about how many.  It's about reach.

Online is about depth.  It's about how long.  It's about search.

The role of television is to deliver viewers to advertisers.  On TV, the advertisers are in control.  They're the ones that interrupt our programs.  Viewers succumb to the advertiser's intent.  (Or not, as is the case most often.)

The role of online is to deliver advertisers to users.  The users are in control.  Advertisers succumb to the users' intent.

On TV, spots are rarely longer than 30 seconds.

Online, spots are not limited to 30 seconds.

In fact, week after week, most of the spots on the most viral list, are longer than 30 seconds.  Most are sixty seconds, some longer.

So, what if we looked at TV versus online this way?

Let's be generous and say that of the 283 million monthly television viewers who are exposed to a commercial, half pay some sort of attention.  Not full attention, mind you, but some sort of attention.

Of those 141 million, let's say 20%, around 28M watch all thirty seconds.  Which means 840M second are consumed by users.

Again, we're being generous here.

Of the 155 million monthly online viewers, let's again say half pay some sort of attention.  Because it's online, and because the most popular (shared) commercials online are 60 seconds or longer, let's say this is a sixty-second spot.

Like TV, we'll say 20% or 15 million watch all 60 seconds.

Which means 900M seconds are consumed.

That's the difference between measuring how many versus how long.

With TV, share of voice = share of mind = share of market. 

Online is different.  With online, share of time = share of mind = share of market.

The online numbers will never reach the TV numbers in size.

It doesn't matter.

Online isn't about size.

Online is about time.

Isn't it about time that the industry starts to recognize this?


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