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Marketing Matters: Hold the Eulogies

By: Donna C. Barson, MBA
Posted: December 5, 2006, from the December 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Another “traditional” media that seems to be rising from the grave is that good old reliable advertising medium: television.

According to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research, average American television viewing continues to increase despite increasing competition from new media platforms and devices such as video iPods, cell phones and streaming video.

The study found that the total average time a household watched television during the 2005–2006 television year was eight hours and 14 minutes per day—a three-minute increase from the 2004–2005 season. That total was a record high, as was the average amount of television watched by an individual viewer (four hours and 35 minutes, an increase of three minutes per day). During primetime, households tuned to an average of one hour and 54 minutes of primetime television per night, up one minute.

The study went on to break down viewing habits by age and ethnicity, but the big story is that despite being buffeted by more viewing choices, television viewers are remaining true to old habits. All of these new choices seem to just increase people’s appetite for traditional TV. Why? That’s hard to say for certain. But perhaps some of the answer can be found in what NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker recently noted. He pointed out that iPods, cell phones and the like were merely delivery systems for providing television content to people. In television, it’s not about the platform—it’s about the content. And traditional broadcast networks still have the content, so it’s a bit too soon to start counting TV out.

Good point. Until an Internet entity starts producing its own show, television equivalent Web sites will be dependent upon the traditional television broadcast networks for content.

And Finally…