Channel Changing: Is Mobile Madness Ushering in the Death of Television?

Not quite, but recent AMA resources remind us that the mobile movement continues to drive everything.
When you think about the American Marketing Association (AMA), what likely comes to mind are chapter events—the education-driven networking opportunities in which we take part perhaps on a monthly basis. And this is a good thing. Programming is of major importance, especially for the Cleveland Chapter, and is an integral part of what makes the AMA a valuable resource to marketers. But compelling networking opportunities is not all the AMA offers—for members, there exists a plethora of educational materials being produced every day, too. From podcasts to AMA TV episodes, from whitepapers to eNewsletters, the AMA produces regular content to keep marketers up-to-date on the very latest industry news and trends… And it’s pretty solid material, too.

One such resource is Marketing News, a monthly magazine members receive as part of their AMA membership. As I flipped through it during lunch last week, a couple of articles caught my eye in a trends section called “The Buzz”. First, a research recap entitled “Television ‘Cord-cutters’ on the Rise’ stated that, “In 2013, 6.5% of U.S. households ‘cut the cord’ dropping their cable or satellite TV service and retaining only high-speed internet, according to a recent study by Experian Marketing Services”. The number of cord-cutters has increased 44% in the past four years—an increase likely driven by the fact that 48% of all U.S. adults (and 67% of young adults) now stream or download TV shows within any given week. Clearly, the article points out, mobile is increasingly becoming the screen of choice for television consumption.

Another article I found in Marketing News seemed to drive the point home that the mobile channel is hugely impacting media consumption. The title alone speaks volumes: “Internet Ad Sales Outpace Broadcast TV Revenue”. It seems that for the first time, online ad sales have exceeded broadcast TV ad sales, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Their recent report, “The IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report”, states that internet advertising revenues hit $42.8 billion in fiscal year 2013, a gain of 17% over the previous year. This eclipsed broadcast TV ad spending ($40.1 billion), which grew at a nearly static rate of 1% over 2012 numbers.


Now there are a couple of points worth clarifying here. First of all, broadcast TV is not ALL TV… it does not include cable channels, which, when combined with broadcast TV ad sales, bring the TV advertising expenditure number for 2013 up to a whopping $74.5 billion. And no matter how you look at these TV ad rates, we are talking tens of billions of dollars, which hardly spells doom for the age of TV advertising. But clearly there is a major shift taking place regarding how ad dollars are being allotted related to the growth of the Internet and people’s willingness to “cut the cord”, yet stay active online.

It is not exactly news that the mobile channel is changing the way we all live, but here we have two different studies definitively showing us what we may have suspected… and in stark numbers. It is still important to maintain a diverse media mix when allocating advertising and marketing budgets, surely. But this emerging research shows that we, as marketers, would be remiss not to keep in mind the ever-important trend toward mobile/online consumption.

This also shows that you may also be remiss to think that the AMA is only about events. Look a little deeper, and you’ll find thought-provoking articles and job-simplifying resources continuously created and curated by AMA’s international headquarters.

To learn more about the latest marketing trends from Marketing News (and other publications), visit AMA.Org.

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