Headlines about TV viewership have not been particularly positive. Common themes lately have been: “TV ratings plummeting,” “NFL viewership in decline,” “Millennials unplug from TV,” or “Cord-cutting, cord-shaving growing.” Then there’s a big favorite lately: “TV can’t deliver reach like it used to.” While there’s some truth in all of these ideas, they don’t tell the whole story of TV viewership today.
First, overall TV viewership is not falling off a cliff. After four-plus decades of extraordinary growth, there is no question that the average amount of time Americans spend watching old-fashioned TV plateaued over the past few years and has now begun to decline. However, this overall decline is in the very small single digits annually.
Second, yes, it’s true that most marketers’ TV campaigns have been delivering significantly less reach quarter over quarter for years. But this is not a capacity issue.
TV has not lost overall reach. In fact, its overall ad-reach capacity has never been greater.