During the first months of the pandemic in Europe, back in March and April 2020, the population was locked in their homes and needed something to do. I was looking for activities that would keep them entertained, but they also wanted to be informed at all times.
Television thus had historical audience records, in a break with the previous trend of declining viewers. It was a mirage, a kind of swan song. The latest study on linear television clearly concludes that not only are television audiences in general declining, the views and impacts generated by their ads are also falling.
That is, there are fewer people watching television and, therefore, the ads that serve in their advertising breaks are also reaching fewer ‘eyes’. In the first three months of 2021, the audience has been declining progressively. The study data, prepared by Samba TV based on data collected in four typical markets, also comes from smart TVs.
Consumers have been migrating quite massively in recent years to connected televisions, something that has accelerated during the year of the pandemic. Connected televisions, one of those spaces that advertisers are increasingly taking into account, are not used, however, as a ‘lifelong’ television. It may have access to the content of traditional television, but consumers are using these devices for many things and less and less for that.
The drop in minutes of content viewing on linear television has moved between -14% and -2% in the countries analyzed as a sample. In the two European markets analyzed, the fall was 3% (United Kingdom) and 2% (Germany), a very moderate fall compared to what happens in other markets (in the United States it was 14%).
As the time viewers spend watching linear television has dropped, so have the impressions of their ads. Here the range is much higher in average terms, moving between a fall of 23% and 8. European countries also register these setbacks.
Time is wasted in all time slots
Another interesting piece of information provided by the study is the analysis of the hours of content viewing and what they mean in terms of audiences. Is linear television losing viewers at specific times or is it sustained throughout all hours of broadcast?
Although the minute drops have been steepest in all time slots in the United States and Australia and more moderate in Germany and the United Kingdom, it can be said that there has been a setback at all times of broadcast.
The only moment that has growth is that of the overnight band, that of the early morning, which only does so in one country, the United Kingdom and with just over 5%. In the other markets and in the other time bands, there are drops in viewing time.
Even the peak moment of television viewing falls, prime time. In the United Kingdom or the United States, it is one of the bands that registers a greater fall. Therefore, it is not surprising that linear television is, right now, one of the players that continues to take one of the largest pieces of the advertising pie, but that that piece is getting smaller and smaller.