For most of my lifetime, television advertising was considered the "gold standard" of marketing. For a Tampa Bay small business owner craving massive reach, TV used to be the medium that would deliver. Over the past few years, however, advertising on Tampa radio has become the dominant medium for achieving reach as television audiences dramatically erode.
Take last week for example. Almost 2,200,000 adult consumers tuned-in to their favorite Tampa Bay radio stations. This is significantly more than the 1.7 million consumers reached by area TV stations.
For the past 40 years, Tampa Bay radio has reached more than 90% of all consumers. But, look what has happened to TV's audience.
During the 1980 television season, "Dallas" was the top-rated program with 34.5% of the population tuning-in. The 30th ranked program that year was "The Waltons" with 18.6% of the population watching.
Flash forward to the 2017 season. The top-rated TV program was "The Big Bang Theory" with 11.1% of the population tuning-in. That means, the #1 show in 2017 had 40% lower ratings than the #30 show from 1980. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Based on TV's dismal performance, is it time for Tampa Bay small business owners who have been including television in their marketing mix to rethink this strategy? The experts seem to think so. Just look at these headlines from business and advertising publications from the past few months:
For Most Americans, Cable TV is Just Unaffordable, The Hollywood Report, November 1, 2018: A new Morning Consult poll suggests that many Americans simply find the cost of cable too high. As many as 56% of the respondents to the poll said cable was unaffordable, while almost half (47%) said the same about satellite.
Competitive Info: Netflix Overtakes Live TV As Preferred Platform, Hub Research "Conquering Content, November 12, 2018: In a game-changer for traditional TV networks and cable companies, Netflix has overtaken live TV as the choice where viewers access their favorite shows. 32% of respondents cited Netflix, while live TV garnered 26%.
As TV’s Fall C3 Ratings Crumble, Feel Free To Blame The Millennials, Media Post, November 14, 2018: The flight of younger viewers from traditional TV has sent currency ratings for the first full month of the 2018-19 broadcast season into a tailspin, as primetime demo deliveries among the Big Four networks were down nearly a quarter compared to October 2016.
The New TV Season: Reboots and Reality Shows Are Sinking, New York Times, November 25, 2018: Viewership for entertainment programming on the broadcast networks continues to fall as audiences flock to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Among adults under the age of 50, the number of viewers for network shows has tumbled an additional 10 percent this season.
Outlook for Traditional TV Goes From Bad To Worse, Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2018: By the numbers, more than 1 million consumers canceled cable TV or satellite subscriptions over just the past quarter, making it one of the largest seasonal drops ever.
TV Ratings Tip Further Down, New York Times, December 11, 2018: Two months into broadcast television’s fall season, viewership for non-sports programming is further eroding as audiences flock to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
Streaming Services Outpace Linear TV Production For The First Time, AdAge, December 13, 2018: Nearly 500 scripted series are available across linear TV, premium cable and streamers.
Ratings Bombshell: In Two Years, Network TV Demos Plummeted 27 Percent, AdAge, January 26, 2019: The big four networks have seen many of their demographically desirable viewers disappear.
Discovery Ad Sales Growth Softens As Ratings Sink, AdAge, December 11, 2018: Ratings challenges across the Discovery portfolio are beginning to have a diminishing effect on the company's advertising growth, as significant losses at the flagship network and other key brands in the fourth quarter resulted in a sequential decline in sales revenue. Flagship network's demo deliveries drop 25 percent.
Commish Says Shift From Linear TV Is Hurting NBA’s Deliveries of Millennials, AdAge, March 5th, 2019: The impact on the [National Basketball Association's] media partners is striking; in the last eight years, ESPN has lost north of 14 million linear subscribers, while TNT has lost its footing in nearly 11 million households.
Advertising On Tampa Radio Can Fill TV's Void
Radio advertising can help Tampa Bay small business owners who have been depending on television to reach their target audiences.
For instance, local businesses generally who use television advertising place a majority of their commercials during local news programming on Tampa TV.
As the chart below provided by Media Audit demonstrates, 80-92% of consumers, 25-54, do not watch TV when the news is on. Radio, on the other hand, reaches close to 80% of all those non-TV viewers.
So, for those advertisers who still want to include TV as part of their marketing mix, also utilizing radio advertising can help fill the audience void left by television.
In August of 2018, Deloitte, the world's largest business consulting firm, radio "should be a big part of the mix for those buying advertising."
"But," says Deloitte, "radio has commonly been underestimated. Radio is the voice whispering in our ear, in the background of dinner, in an office, or while driving the car. It is not pushy or prominent … but it is there."
Deloitte recommends radio advertising because of this. "Radio’s weekly reach—the percentage of people who listen to radio at least once—has been remarkably stable in the United States. Not only has reach hovered around 94 percent for the last few years, but that number is essentially unchanged from the 94.9 percent figure in spring 2001 (when Apple introduced the iPod)."
Furthermore, Dellotie found that, of those who report listening to live radio in the United States, over 70 percent say they listen either every day or on most days. A majority of radio listeners are tuning in as part of their daily lives.