As the network television Upfronts come to a close, the battle for advertising budgets will begin. And with many networks premiering new shows and potential hits, there’s no doubt that advertisers will look to gain every advantage when trying to optimize their advertising dollars.
But while advertisers are looking for primetime ad space, they shouldn’t forget where the real opportunities lie—with the viewers, who continue to access and engage with TV content in a variety of ways. Knowing when and where to find consumers is crucial to reach them and ensure ads break through the clutter and catch attention.
When it comes to primetime television programming, gone are the days where the Friday night line up or must-see-TV Thursdays ruled our content consumption. With the addition of more networks that offer innumerable programming options, viewers can be more selective about when they turn on their tubes. According to Nielsen’s Advertising and Audiences report, Sundays ranked highest for primetime TV usage with an average of 125 million Americans using their TV set. Monday was not far behind as 120 million U.S. viewers had a TV set in use. Towards the end of the week, Friday and Saturday had the least number of viewers using their TVs–107 million and 108 million, respectively, during the 2013-2014 season through January.
TV still dominates viewers’ time. In the U.S., people watched an average of 155 hours of traditional TV a month during the fourth quarter of 2013. For perspective, that’s 21 percent, or five hours of your day! But it’s no secret that audiences are viewing more content across screens. Americans watched an average of 14 hours of time-shifted TV per month and spent an average of 34 hours and 27 hours using smartphone apps and the Internet, respectively, during the same period. Video viewing through multimedia devices, such as Apple TV and Roku, is also on the rise, with viewers averaging over an hour a month streaming to their TVs. And when it comes to online video consumption, Americans now average 7.5 hours per month streaming video on their computers.
Good content gets people talking. With social media now a routine element of the TV-viewing experience, audiences are moving seamlessly across platforms to view and talk about their favorite shows. According to Nielsen, a whopping 86 percent of U.S. smartphone owners say they use their devices while watching TV, and nearly half do it every single day. While watching, more than 40 percent of tablet owners are using their devices to look up information about characters, while others email or text (29%), check social media conversations (18%), or send in votes or comments about shows they are watching (12%).