It’s been a decade since Thinkbox’s ‘Ad Nation’ study and back then, the research highlighted a chasm between media professionals and the wider UK population.
Like Ad Nation, the latest ‘Adnormal Behaviour’ study explores the reality of media consumption versus industry perception, and whilst a gap remains, there is an overall improvement.
The study is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,158 people and a separate survey of 216 media professionals. Both the original study a decade ago and the update in 2016 highlighted the gap between the perception of the media industry and actual measured time and reach of TV.
The latest findings reveal media professionals expect people to be watching two hours and 33 minutes of live broadcast TV per day, whereas the survey findings suggest the general public watch one hour and 53 minutes. It is worth noting though that in 2016, media professionals underestimated the figure by over an hour.
The estimate this time was also more in line with BARB data for TV viewing for the first half of 2022, putting the figure just nine minutes out (at two hours and 24 minutes) which is encouraging.
“Adland’s job is to understand the audience, and this new study shows that we’re heading in a better direction,” Thinkbox Research and Planning Director, Matt Hill, commented.
There is a gap when it comes to social media perception
Most media professionals estimated that the general public spend two hours and 55 minutes per day on social media, whereas UK consumers claim to spend less than half that time (one hour and 21 minutes) per day.
Likewise, the UK public claimed to be spending 40 minutes on YouTube per day, but the industry predicted consumption to be much higher at one hour and 24 minutes.
Media proffesionals overestimate SVOD
The surveyed media professionals assumed the public watched nearly four times more SVOD content than BARB data shows, predicting that adults spend an average of two hours and three minutes a day consuming SVOD, whereas we can see that BARB data reports 35 minutes of viewing time per day.
Perception of TV remains positive
The study looked further into media professionals’ opinion on different channels, and it’s clear that the public and media industry were aligned on picking TV as their most trusted source of advertising.
TV remains the leading channel for advertising that “resonates” with viewers, and comes out as the highest-ranking channel almost across the board in terms of things like trust, emotion, entertainment, helpfulness, and attention.
The study presented TV as the best advertising channel for “drawing attention” to a new brand, product or service, with almost half (47%) of surveyed consumers agreeing with this statement. This is closely followed by social with 39%, then 18% search and 17% print.
“This study reminds us not to look at the world through the prism of our own behaviour,” Hill added.
What do we think?
It’s encouraging to see the perception of the media industry getting closer to measured time and reach of TV. It’s not surprising though to see that the SVOD number is so heavily overestimated. Whilst we’d like to think that most planners are using the industry tools to determine reach and efficiency of TV stations, there will inevitably be an unconscious bias at play which, if left unchecked, can lead to bad decisions.
That’s why at All Response we rely heavily on performance data to inform our planning teams on how stations and media are really performing.
Anecdotally, when speaking with other media people and clients, I’m always surprised at how readily people admit that they don’t ever watch broadcast TV. Consuming the media is an important part of being able to plan it properly. This is even more true of newspapers and magazines.
When I’m interviewing, I always ask what their favourite TV station is, which radio stations they listen to and which newspaper they read. If a candidate says that they don’t do any of these (which is about 80% of them) it’s something that can put them behind other candidates that show interest in their trade.
Planning Director, All Response Media London
TV Advertising Agency London
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