Broadcast and especially cable are squeezing in more
By Bill Cromwell, MediaLifeMagazine.com
October 9, 2015
Cable shows, such as ‘Duck Dynasty,’ are seeing bigger ad clutter gains than broadcast.
Ad clutter has long been one of the pet peeves of media people.
They believe, and studies have borne this out, that the more ads that are smashed into a commercial break, the less people will pay attention.
A client’s message can become lost amidst the noise as ad after ad unspools.
So it seems counterintuitive, at a time when TV networks are struggling to keep buyers’ attention amidst a flood of new media options, that TV clutter is going up.
Yet it is, to historically high levels.
Kantar Media reports that during second quarter of this year, both cable and broadcast saw significant gains in commercial time, which is as high as it’s ever been.
Minutes of paid ad time for broadcast networks went up 2.8 percent over the same time last year, while cable was up even more sharply, by 4.6 percent.
The decline in ad spending on TV has made the networks panicky. They’re stuffing more spots into programs in an attempt to offset lower ratings and avoid revenue declines.
And advertisers are suffering.
“For the advertiser, the impact of greater clutter is obvious: more noise, more messages and more people are out there, so potentially the effect of your message gets diluted,” says Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media.
Kantar says two-thirds of the networks it surveyed during second quarter increased their commercial load year over year.
And of those, five networks averaged more than 20 minutes of ads per hour, though that also includes their own promotional messages.
“We’re continuing to see big declines in linear TV audience ratings, and some of that has been attributed to competition for second-screen attention from OTT services or any of the other sources of entertainment that are available,” Swallen says.
“But let’s be honest– a more cluttered commercial environment makes TV less appealing to the viewer.”
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