ViewersLogic – a consumer analytics company – has released new data revealing the extent of our changing media consumption habits in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.
Overall, the data shows that just before the lockdown we were spending 45% more time on our mobile devices than watching TV, but that gap has now narrowed to only 28%. TV viewing went up by 32%, almost the double of mobile usage which increased only by 17%. Despite the steep rise in TV audiences many companies are still planning to make major cuts to TV advertising budgets and just recently for instance, gambling firms have announced that they will pull all TV ads for the remainder of the lockdown.
BizAsiaLive.com’s Raj Baddhan caught up with Ronny Golan, the CEO and Co-Founder of ViewersLogic about the new data published today and how the lockdown has changed our viewing habits.
TV is enjoying its biggest boom during the coronavirus lockdown, with record viewership, how would you describe the last few weeks?
In the past few weeks we can see the most significant change in consumer behaviour and media consumption in more than a decade. Both TV and mobile usage increased dramatically (which is to be expected as people have more time) but the gap between the two became smaller. In the past few years there was a consistent trend of increasing mobile usage on the expense of TV – this trend flipped after the lockdown.
Surprisingly, viewing on mobile phones, which has been rising in popularity in recent years, is facing stiff competition from television viewing, tell us more about this?
We can see that both TV consumption and mobile usage has increased (mobile usage is still bigger than TV viewing but less than before) but we can also see some shift from mobile to TV. For example, when you look at Netflix viewing, we can see that Netflix viewing on phones went down by 25% but on TV’s it doubled (e.g. people moved to watch Netflix from their mobile to the big screen). This supports other studies that showed that the TV is the preferred screen for all age groups and genders – it is just less available than the phone.
Another interesting thing to notice is that TV sales have increased significantly and we can see in our data an increase in searches for TV brands.
Does the rise in television viewing also indicate the return of families coming together to watch shows together?
We monitor individuals not families so we cannot say this from our data. The fact that people buy more TVs may indicate that they want to watch this individually and the living room screen is not enough for them.
What do we understand about the demographics of television viewing – Is it a mixture of young and old watching TV or are youngsters still sticking to digital platforms?
As mentioned in the press release, the trend is consistent for all age groups. Our data shows that people over 35 see more TV than people under 35 but for both groups the gap between TV and mobile narrowed.
We can see what people are seeing, searching and buying on and offline. We will continue to monitor this as it has a huge effect on how brands should split their budgets between TV and mobile.
How have South Asian families in the UK responded to television viewing despite a lack of original shows being broadcast due to the lockdown?
We can see that South Asian families also increased their TV viewing (by an average of 34%) and the gap between TV and mobile was narrowed by 10% for these families.
How long do you see the spike in television viewing to continue for?
Mobile usage is still higher than TV viewing but we should continue to monitor to see if the gap continues to narrow or that once the lockdown is over the trend is reversed. We measure individual’s viewing habits of TV viewing as well as online usage 24/7, 365 days a year. We can see what people are seeing, searching and buying on and offline. We will continue to monitor this as it has a huge effect on how brands should split their budgets between TV and mobile. One of the toughest questions’ brands face is how to split their advertising budgets between TV and mobile. The only way to answer this is by monitoring where their target audience spend their time. ViewersLogic’s single source technology is uniquely positioned to answer this.
As we face a gradual return to work, we see yet more new trends emerging. However, when stability returns, we do believe that some new habits will endure. From remote working to new patterns of entertainment, we don’t see a new normal yet but are monitoring it closely.
For example, as we mentioned above -in general, people prefer the big screen but, in many cases, cannot use it because someone else is watching TV. The fact that people bought new TV’s may increase the TV viewing going forward as more people in the household can view TV in parallel.
We could see that amidst this crisis, while TV closed the gap to mobile, brands cut their TV budgets more than the online.
Despite the rise in popularity for TV recently, broadcasters are facing an uphill task to cling onto advertising revenue, with revenues hardest hit in history, please elaborate on this?
TV media spend tends to be a significant component of a media budget. Yet, until ViewersLogic arrived, TV effectiveness, unlike online, could not be accurately measured. Therefore, TV budgets came under significant pressure.
Because, prior to the launch of the ViewersLogic platform, it was impossible to measure TV effectiveness (as opposed to Internet), brands tend to cut the TV budgets first. We could see that amidst this crisis, while TV closed the gap to mobile, brands cut their TV budgets more than the online. This does NOT say that online is more effective – it is just more measurable…
Only accurate, single-source, passive measurement of TV, online and cross media advertising will enable brands to optimise their cross media campaigns and make them work together towards the same goal and not treat them as 2 separate silos.
Having a good synced cross-media campaign on TV and online is a classic example of 1+1=3 – the problem is that before ViewersLogic this was impossible to do or to measure. More and more brands and agencies now approach ViewersLogic and start using our cross channel empirical data to optimise their cross-media campaigns. Our platform gives brands the confidence to make media buying decisions in a rapidly changing environment by knowing where to reach their actual customers.
In your projections for 2021, do you envisage much of a change in television consumption, and if so, what do you predict as the major gamechanger?
As we start the gradual return to work, schools and socialising, many of the regular patterns of behaviour will return. However, given the duration and extent of the lockdown, certain aspects of consumer behaviour may have changed fundamentally.
For example, when sports return, will fans choose to stay away from the grounds and watch it on TVs, interacting with their friends online via Houseparty or Zoom.
► Will remote and flexi – working permanently change the audiences of different day parts?
► Will content creators make content that more fully leverages and integrates the cross platform experience?
► Will users go back to the brick and mortar retailers or will prefer to buy online?
The above points and others may have a lasting effect on our economy.
ViewersLogic deals less with predictions but rather, we feel more comfortable with solid behavioural data that enables us to monitor consumer behaviour and identify changes within hours or days.