What Advertisers Should Know About Broadcasters: Part 1

Viewership data and local TV are key to the broadcaster-advertiser relationship.

The nature of Sorenson Media’s business makes it so we have equally close relationships with both advertisers and broadcasters. This gives us a unique vantage point in the industry. With that special point of view, we have published Parts 1 and 2 of “What Broadcasters Should Know About Advertisers.” This post is the first in a set of the reverse perspective.

The relationship between advertisers and content owners is a critical one. One can’t succeed without the other. I recognize that content owners could include digital and social media companies, cable TV, national networks, and so on. But for this post, I will focus specifically on broadcasters or local TV stations.

Local broadcasting is powerful

The first thing I think advertisers should know about local broadcasters is that they’re powerful. As an industry we’ve gotten starry-eyed about the national players. We think that’s where all the good stuff is, where we’ll find the most advertising success. But the viewership data keeps telling us local content outperforms national content.

A recent TVB article summarized the data best:

By far, local news reaches more adults than both national broadcast network news and cable news. In fact, in an average week in the first quarter of 2017, local news reached 40% of persons 25- 54. This compares to 32% for national broadcast news and 17% for cable news. In the same time period, adults spent two hours and 22 minutes watching local news, which is more than double the amount of time spent watching national broadcast news.

Want a more specific, recent example of how viewers prefer local news? During hurricane Irma in early September 2017, 85 percent of Floridians turned to local broadcast TV news as their information source.

Here’s how I see it, broadcast TV is not dead, and it’s not going anywhere in the near future–mostly because of local content. If you’ve moved your broadcast spend to digital or national advertising because you thought you could get more by getting away from local, then you’re missing out on some of the most viewed content out there.

With advanced viewership data, broadcast TV is already more addressable than you think

Addressability equals ad dollar efficiency, and our industry is desperate for it. Digital ads offer targeting, and cable has some scattered addressability options, but what can broadcast TV offer? More than you might think, actually.

The assumption we often hold of broadcast advertising is that it can only be effective in broad, untargeted campaigns. Perhaps that was the case years ago, but viewer data has made big strides in the last few years. Thanks to advances in data collection, broadcasters can map highly accurate viewer trends on a second-by-second basis.

The data comes from software embedded in smart TVs. That means broadcasters can track device-level viewership data. Nearly 200 stations accounting for more than 575 channels and 89 US markets now use this technology. And that number will continue to grow.

Stations with this rich data can work with advertisers to get spots that will have the highest return. Essentially, you could take a specific target profile–age, income, gender, and marital status, etc.–to a station. The broadcaster would review the station’s advanced viewership data (they receive this data in near real-time) to find the programs your target group watches, and get you the spots you want.

True addressable broadcast TV will come in time. I’m certain of it. In the interim, advances in TV data have brought valuable elements of addressability to local TV that advertisers should not overlook.

Look for part two of this set next week.

Sam Petersen
Sam Petersen
Content Marketing Manager
Sam is a conflicted marketer. He loves being creative, but also thrives on numbers and analytics. Sam has worked in several messaging-focused roles during his career, including journalism, PR, product marketing, and now, content marketing. When he's not stewing over his conflictual identity, he heads to the mountains to hike, ski, run, etc.