AdWeek: You might be surprised by how big TV still is

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Much is made about the rise of digital media and traditional television’s demise, but rumors of TV’s twilight years may be a bit premature.

In fact, reports Sam Thielman in AdWeek, you might not believe how colossal TV still is.

A survey conducted by the ad-targeting firm Simulmedia reveals a wealth of insights, with the most impressive being the relative sizes of each industry. Nielsen rarely gives the public an idea of the exact sizes of video and TV markets — it is, after all, the core of their business — but most estimates put monthly American television viewers at 283 million, for an average of 146 viewing hours.

Compare that to the population of the U.S., which is 313 million.

Online video viewers run about 155 million, with an average of nearly six hours a month on mobile and about 6.5 hours on the Internet.

That makes the TV audience nearly double that of online video, and the amount spent on digital only 5 percent of that of TV’s $74 billion.

Equivalency, writes Thielman, is the best way to bring up those numbers, according to Nielsen Global Media Executive Vice President Amit Seth.

ABC and Fox are working to close the gap by providing more digital options to ADUs (Audience Deficiency Units), through websites and providers such as Hulu. This will increase the “porousness” between the two media platforms—just in time for this spring’s launch of the long-delayed Nielsen’s DPR product to evaluate non-mobile streaming video.

This is only the latest effort for third-party “data miners” to produce measurable ROI information to marketers and advertisers.

“We have access to 90-plus percent of credit card transactions, anonymized through a third-party data provider,” Seth told AdWeek. “Do you shop home improvement? If so, do you shop at Home Depot or at Lowe’s?”

Soon, Nielsen will know.

Analytics may have become more involved, but normal business models will remain, at least for the time being.

However, an increasing demand for “granular data” will ensure that debates over “fuzzy” intermedia metrics will continue for quite some time.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.