Linear TV versus YouTube London Media planning agency

Linear TV Versus YouTube

Nielson report reveals one may help the other in terms of both reach and engagement.

Arguably TV remains one of the most powerful weapons in an advertiser’s arsenal owing to its unique ability to reach the masses quickly.  Despite the advent of online viewing which has grown considerably, TV still reaches 92.5% of the UK population every week meaning an average TV advertising campaign broadcast in the UK will achieve 234 million views (BARB).  This makes it a very compelling proposition for brands looking to get noticed.

For traditionalists, TV could be regarded as the ‘original’ social media.  How often do you hear people discussing the latest show and engaging in an ‘offline’ dialogue?  Certainly, this has been amplified as conversations go online but the fact remains, TV gets people talking.

There have been concerns that online viewing may diminish the power of TV advertising as online channels compete with TV for the same eyeballs and in turn, advertisers.  However, a Nielson study commissioned by Google has concluded that YouTube and Linear TV actually help each other.  This report found that those who view a TV program on YouTube are then more likely to follow the show on TV.  As TV audiences increase, so too does YouTube viewership; a win-win, all round.

With digital advertising spending steadily increasing every year, some predict that it could surpass TV as soon as next year.  Conversely, Nielson’s study suggests that advertisers might want to consider both mediums owing to the symbiotic relationship between online and TV viewing.

The idea that YouTube can attract new followers to a show without alienating existing fans means great opportunities are at the disposal of advertisers and programmers alike.

As part of the study, Nielson evaluated 30 TV shows including genres ranging from drama, talk shows and comedy comparing it to historical YouTube and TV data held by Nielson’s own sources.  The results were compelling.  Leading TV talk shows for example, saw an 18% increase in viewing on TV from an audience that watched YouTube content of the shows.

Is this the dawn of a new age of amicable co-existence for two media that have historically fought for viewing and advertising domination or a temporary truce?  When you recall that YouTube claimed that it reached more mobile viewers between the ages of 18-49 than any TV network, it seems unlikely. For now, perhaps it’s advisable for advertisers to harness the advantage and make hay while the sun shines.

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Sanjeev Patel

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