With the new TV season underway, now’s a good time to reflect on some of the things we’ve learned about the vast changes in viewer behavior and how people find out about what’s on.

TV viewing has evolved in three central ways:

1.  DISCOVERY has evolved. Viewers are embracing new TV discovery methods. People are very active in how they seek, schedule and sample content. Viewing behavior is shifting from simply “watching television” to actively “managing content.”

2.  The SAMPLING PERIOD has evolved. Viewers are increasingly taking a longer time to sample new series. They are wary of investing time because they worry new shows will be cancelled. Plus they have a backlog of existing TV shows they want to see and catch up on.

3.  PLATFORMS have evolved. People prefer to watch shows live on best available platform. Appointment TV is an established habit. Social media helps the live viewing experience … people want to be in “the know” and avoid “social spoilers.” But when they can’t see what they want live, viewers are ready, willing and able to watch in other ways.

The evolution of TV MARKETING  

As an industry we’re adapting to the new show discovery process, the extended sampling period, and evolved platforms that let people watch shows wherever, whenever, however.  It’s a marked change for those of us who were accustomed to measuring success by one simple metric – the overnight ratings.

Now we’ve got to have patience and let the full story – including the results from time shifted viewing – play out. Those results are not available for many days after broadcast.   For example, the series premiere of THE CRAZY ONES averaged 15.5 million Live+Same Day television viewers, but with Live +3-Day results (those who watch within 3 days of the original broadcast either live or on their DVRs), its audience jumped to nearly 19 million. And when VOD and online streaming are added in, we estimate that figure will grow to over 24 million, which is a 55% increase overall.

What hasn’t changed? The fact that TV marketing is a game of contact and impact. You have to make contact with viewers and make impact with attention-getting ad creative. And to make effective ads, you first need great content. Great content is its own best selling point.

In this crazy world where people’s narrow interests are well fed by the Internet, the role of network TV is to find the larger, universal themes, characters and stories that connect us all. For us, the bigger the better. Big = good … and when it comes to promotion, enough is never enough! There is no such thing as too much marketing. Just when you are sick of hearing the same message repeated over and over, it’s JUST starting to break through to the audience.

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