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The industry has been predicting the demise of TV advertising for the last decade, or at least, that’s what it feels like. 

But despite the death knells ringing, perhaps from those in the digital industry who want it to be dead, new research from RTL AdConnect suggests that far from being on its last legs, TV is alive, kicking and evolving. 

The 2018 TV Key Facts study is RTL AdConnect’s in depth analysis on TV and advertising, due out in full in September.  The study has been completed every year since 1994 and this year it covers 39 countries including 35 European countries as well as India, China, the United States and Japan. 

Produced in collaboration with Europe's major audience and advertising data collection institutes, the study provides a wide range of statistical insight on international broadcast and digital media evolution and consumption. 

Ahead of the full study being published, we talked to Stephane Coruble, managing director of RTL AdConnect about the biggest learnings from this year and also, with the study covering the US for the first time, how European behaviour compares to our friends over the pond. 

The scale of the US advertising market is already phenomenal with a record of €174bn spent in the US last year, with Europeans raking up around 60% of that figure with a spend of €103bn. The share of TV has been remarkably steady over the long term in EU’s market and experts consulted as part of the TV Key Facts study expect both Americas and European key markets to grow in advertising investment this year.

When it comes to viewing figures, with an average of 5 hours of daily TV viewing time in 2007, Americans used to consume  much more TV than their European cousins, whose live TV consumption was “only” three hours 45 minutes.

Now, Europeans watch three hours 49 minutes of TV per day to America's four hours 15 minutes, offering a 72-75% reach.  Not bad figures for an apparently dying medium. 

“TV is still unrivalled when you think about its incomparable reach, quality content production, ad effectiveness, ability to innovate through addressable TV, new ways of programmatic buying, virtual reality, and most importantly its ability to adapt to all audiences” said Coruble.  Far from on its knees, he says “TV is a driver of innovation - it drives search and response better than any medium, due in part to the rise of the second screen. When you put on-demand services and mobile platforms in the mix, TV’s potential in the digital age is unique.”

Consumption habits are no doubt changing, and as a result TV has fully adapted, reinventing its content production and leveraging innovative technology – emerging not just as a screen but as a platform agnostic ecosystem. TV can be both broadcast and digital, thanks to VOD platforms, YouTube channels, broadcasting TV content – the list goes on and continues to grow. 

“The past few years have seen fresh, successful formats, major TV show comebacks such as Idol, addressable TV, VOD platforms and new ways of buying TV” said Coruble.  “It’s still the king medium – but enhanced and boosted by digital.  Both complete each other – they aren’t opposed.  I don’t think they ever have been.  There has never been more opportunity for TV advertising than in the current media ecosystem.”

There might be more opportunity but there is also more risk. In these times of transition, advertisers need brand safety, viewability and transparency – which TV is well positioned to provide. 

The full TV Key Facts study will be out in September 2018.