It seems like all the headlines for the past few years have been screaming that digital has killed traditional media – TV, Radio, Print, Etc. While it’s true that digital media has steadily gained audience size and has created larger audience fragmentation, it has by no means totally annihilated other forms of media consumption. Most people use many different forms of media on any given day, such as watching the local morning news for the day’s forecast and traffic report, listening to the radio while commuting, sharing the latest TedX video with a coworker, binge watching the hot show on Netflix during the weekend, catching up on Facebook or Instagram, etc.
If you look at Nielsen’s Comparable Metrics Report for 2Q 2017, AM/FM Radio has the largest weekly U.S. adult reach (93%), followed by TV (88%), then smartphone usage (83%). As far as generations go, radio reaches 98% of Boomers, 97% of Gen X and 95% of Millennials.
TV watching is most quickly changing among younger adults, as they prefer to watch shows when, where and how they want, regardless of the networks’ program schedules.
Live TV has the largest audience in terms of time spent among the U.S. adult population; clocking in at 3:55 hours per day. Typically the older the person, the more time they spend watching TV. This is especially notable within the Millennial generation. According to Nielsen, the older, married-with-kids Millennials watch about 3 hours more TV per week than their single, childless cohorts. And Boomers watch more TV than Gen Xers. TV watching is most quickly changing among younger adults, as they prefer to watch shows when, where and how they want, regardless of the networks’ program schedules. This trend will continue to impact the live TV viewing numbers for the foreseeable future and should be monitored; however you should not yet discount TV advertising because of it.
Ironically, newspaper, the granddaddy of all media, has seen a spike with Gen Z and some Millennials since the last presidential election. The under 18-24 and 30-34 groups averaged a 37% increase in reading a traditional newspaper either in print or online. “There are a plethora of possibilities that could explain this trend, as well, from the idea that Gen Z share more in common with older generations than even close-in-age Millennials, to the younger generation’s dislike of digital ads. Traditional newspapers’ growth in the mobile space is presumably a major factor, as well.” (civicscience.com/genz-millennials-lead-national-trend-in-newspaper-readership/). While this overall audience size of readers is not huge, it is a somewhat surprising trend.
So while digital advertising is a given now when putting together a good media plan, really look at your target audience; and by that I mean your WHOLE audience. Are you still using traditional demo cells like 18-49 or 35-64 for some of your clients? If so, remember that an 18 year old and a 64 year old are going to consume media differently, so your media plan should reflect this. Digital advertising is important, but traditional media is still necessary for overall awareness. For the most effective buy, make sure you reach everyone in your audience by using a media mix that targets all age cells!