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Is TV dead? Long live the robots!

Before the digital boom of the late 2000s TV advertisement was deemed the most integral way of advertising a product or service. In the UK, this predates to 22 September 1955 with the launch of ITV, the first commercial channel and competitor for the BBC. The first commercial was for Gibbs SR toothpaste. Ever since then, the business of advertising on television has bloomed. With the creation of new channels and new and interesting ways to create entertaining advertisements. However now as humans, our source of media intake has shifted. So much so that you can now watch TV on different platforms to the television. Most media is consumed via online platforms where users use their phones, tablets, and laptops to watch content. 64% of advertisement is actually consumed on social media, subscription services, etc and only 36% is TV advertisement. And with the introduction of online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus, have we left our old boxy TV friend? Is there any point in advertising on a dying medium? Well, time to give a breakdown of the pros and cons of online and TV advertisements. 

In 2018 an article released by Vox stated ‘Online advertisers are expected to outspend TV advertisers by $40 billion this year.’ saying that 40% of the world’s ad spending is spent online. It is expected that TV advertisements will make up less than a third of all advertising budgets by the end of 2021. 

But even though you can’t scroll through Facebook with ads popping up or watch Youtube videos without influencers dedicating a 1 min portion of the video to selling a product, is it worth it to advertise on TV anymore? For that exact reason, consumers can access online advertisements from anywhere. For a business, this is a new and more personal way of engaging with consumers. Access to them at all hours and on many platforms. It allows advertisers to be more interesting and intelligent. Google has conquered this feat if a Google user searches for a bouquet of flowers, then Google retains this data and will put florist adverts in-between Youtube Videos or push flower-related video content on the Youtube homepage, and on the Google homepage suggested, they may advertise flower-related products or content.

Especially in this year 2021 and the year prior digital advertising has brought us together at times. In a time when people have been locked up bored and checking their phones and social media, it has allowed advertisers to capitalize on this and created digital and targeted advert content to encourage consumers to purchase products. For example, social media apps like TikTok in July 2020 are estimated to have 689 million active users. This new and highly loved app is a great way for brands to advertise their products. Influencers on TikTok as well have coined in on this. Websites like Pearpop allow TikTok celebs to charge people to feature them and or their products in their video for money. Noah Beck has a reach of 28.4million followers and charges $1,000 for a feature or shout-out. There is massive revenue in this new stream of advertisement and it reaches a larger audience and allows advertisers to creep into more niche and targeted markets. TV advertisement does not allow for this same extent of targeted advertising.

So that’s it. TV is dead, the robots have won! 

Well not really. TV is a key part of the advertising world regardless. Its introduction was massive because it was the first time that brands were able to advertise on a much larger and broader scale. Disadvantages are it’s intrusive and people find specific ways to avoid watching ads, like going on their phone in the ad break or waiting to watch shows on catch up and skip the adverts. Also, TV advertisement is still the most expensive form of advertisement and for brands and small companies starting up it does not allow a fair market against such large powerhouse competitors. During the last few years, due to digital advertisement, smaller companies have been able to find a place in the advertising world and it’s refreshing to see. However, the big pro of TV advertising is its tradition. It is resilient in a time when its competitors are technically stronger. A study shows that in Austria, the average amount of time spent watching TV on a TV set has increased in the last decade from 2h33 a day in 2009 to 3h16 in 2019. Also, people trust TV. It’s what they know best and known the longest. In a study in Canada, 70% of 18-34-year-olds named TV the most trustworthy compared to 12% for online video, and in the UK, 42% stated television is where they are most likely to find advertising that they trust in comparison to 6% for YouTube and 5% for social media. And most of all effectiveness. Advertisers know that TV adverts work, they’ve worked for years and they will work for a few more. In Italy, TV generates almost three times the brand recall of Web ads (60% vs 18%). Sharry Cramond a Marketing Director at M&S Food quoted ‘What better way to get into the hearts and minds of Britain’s families than to team up with the biggest family show on TV. This partnership brought us into the homes of over eight million viewers each week, telling more families than ever about our great value, great quality food.’ 

So in general, yes online advertisement is going to grow. Maybe it will reach a peak which could lead to the demise of TV advertising. However, if that day does come I think there will be a square TV-shaped hole in people’s hearts which online advertising will sadly never be able to fill.