Is advertising on television outdated? You might think since we’re a digital marketing firm that we would automatically say yes! But not so fast. We asked our KeyMedia Marketing Myth Gurus to do a little research and tell us if TV commercials are still a worthy investment.

We’re Still Watching

According to the American Time Use Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans are still spending at least two to three hours a day consuming television/video programming. The older you are, the more you watch. Those 64+ are watching on average 4 hours or more a day. Boomers are watching three hours per day and everyone else is watching two hours or less.

Based on this survey, Americans are still watching TV. But HOW they are watching might be very different.

The Rise of the Cord Cutters

eMarketer research shows us about 33 million Americans have stopped their subscriptions to a paid cable TV service, while subscriptions to Connected TV (streaming services) continue to rise year after year. In 2018, 55.5% of the U.S. population had and watched some sort of connected TV service. We’re watching but we’re watching on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

What about live sports and award shows? People are still watching linear television for that, right? Not necessarily.

According to Nielson, only 68% of U.S. households tuned in to watch the 2019 Super Bowl, one of the lowest-rated since 2008. You could argue it was the teams playing (Patriots vs. Ram) or you could look at the numbers.  People watched the game they just didn’t watch it on broadcast TV. Super Bowl streaming was up 20% and CBS’ own connected service – CBS All Access – saw an 84% jump in subscriber sign-ups for the big game.

It’s All In How You Define It

If you include Connected TV as part of the definition of television, then we can easily say no TV advertising is not outdated. If anything, it’s gotten better if you consider the highly targeted capabilities of streaming TV. The new age of television allows you to target by demographic, geography, and even past purchase behavior. No matter how you consume or define it, television and video ads are a great way to create an emotional connection with the audience and tell a visual story.

Advertising on TV is So 2019

We think TV, traditional and connected, still has its place in a strategic mix of traditional, digital, and out-of-home advertising campaigns. Remember, what you show is just as important as where you show it. Don’t skimp on production just because you’re showcasing your ad on a digital streaming platform.


Do you have a marketing myth you would like us to explore? Connect with us and let us know how we can help you reach more of your audience.