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Money in Advertising: TV is Still Killin' It
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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If TV advertising was killed by the social web, as we have heard many of our thought leaders report, the media buyers in the industry didn't get the message. There are some preliminary numbers from 2011 and it seems that not only is TV alive and well, it is still the winning medium. And its victory is unquestionable.

Investopedia gathered data about the different mediums and ranked each one, noting significant changes. The findings are not very surprising, but when looking at the billions involved in advertising, it is hard to believe that the American economy is still struggling. But that's a different story. To the numbers!

Television Wins!

According to Barclays Capital, ad spending for TV this year could reach $60 billion. But advertisers should note the shift between network and cable stations; network advertising fell 7.6%, while cable rose 11.8%. Investopedia suggests that the shift in sports programming is a major factor in this change, so it is important for advertisers to look at where the shows and programming their consumers watch are going to be. 

Online: Still on the Rise

Though online is continually being hyped as the TV Killer, its total spend is predicted to reach $30 billion, just about half of TV. Don't worry, online evangelists; that shows a 15% rise based on 2010 estimates. And according to Kantar Media, display ad spending grew 12.9% and search rose close to 9%. The biggest categories for this rise include travel, local service, and insurance.

Year of Mobile? Maybe Next Year

Mobile grew significantly in 2011, but not enough to declare 2011 the year mobile became relevant. When it comes to the U.S., consumers are still having a hard time accepting and opting in to mobile. The numbers, though, suggest that will soon change. ABI research estimates that 29 billion apps will be downloaded by the end of this year. Gartner reports that ad spending on mobile will nearly double in 2011 to $701 million. Is there opportunity in mobile? Absolutely. The hard part will be molding it in a way that will be salient to the everyday U.S. mobile consumer.

Stay Local in Radio

Even radio isn't dead...yet. Local radio was up 2.4% compared to a year ago, and Nielsen reports show that buyers are investing in international markets, with emphasis on Latin and Asian populations. As communicators, we must remember that not all populations will follow the next killer app, or the hottest medium. Radio, though not as sexy as online, could still reap benefits.

Print is Hangin' On

Out of all the media out there, print seems to be struggling the most. The firm eMarketer reported ad spending for 2010 to be $25.7 billion, and there is no number estimated for the end of 2011 (maybe to help the print industry save face). The newspaper and magazine outlets, both online and off, reported no increase in ad spending. The only glimmer of profit came in the local newspaper arena, which saw a 2.5% increase. It looks like consumers are getting their information everywhere else, and the print industry is struggling to figure out how to lure eyeballs back to them. They got to figure it out, or else 2012 is going to be another terrible year.

There you have it; TV still lures the most money, while everyone else fights for the scraps. Print is hanging off the cliff, while mobile is finding its footing on stable ground. Radio, the stepchild of the media realm, still finds ways to stay relevant. 

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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