Thursday 31 January 2019 4:04 pm

Broadcast TV advertising ‘at the tipping point’ as viewers switch to streaming, report finds

Traditional TV advertising is approaching a tipping point as sliding viewing figures cast doubt on the cost-efficiency of TV campaigns, a new report has found.

A report by media consultancy Ebiquity has forecast a decline in TV ad viewing among adults of 15 to 20 per cent by 2022.

These figures increase to 30 per cent for the so-called housewives with children audience and 45 per cent for 16 to 34-year-olds.

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The widespread decline suggests the well-documented changes in viewer habits among young people will spread to older demographics, as the popularity of streaming services continues to surge.

Ebiquity said the trend is likely to lead to large cost increases, as marketers will need to spend more to reach the same audience, and will threaten the viability of TV as an advertising medium.

Despite the gloomy outlook, the forecasts are presented as a worst-case scenario, and the report states TV remains the strongest medium for building reach and generating profit.

But it warns traditional broadcasters must adapt if they are to survive the disruption caused by streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Improved audience measurement and a stronger presence in the streaming market are two of the strategies broadcasters could use to strengthen their position, according to the report.

Christian Polman, chief strategy officer at Ebiquity, said: “Our evidence suggests that as of today no other single media line is ready to ‘take the crown’ from broadcast TV, however advertisers should continue to review the evidence and adjust their marketing strategy when necessary.”

The authors of the report told advertisers not to withdraw from TV just yet, and said the brands that adapt to the changing marketplace will win out.

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Lindsey Clay, chief executive of commercial TV body Thinkbox, said: “As Ebiquity point out, broadcast TV continues to give advertisers the highest return.

“But TV is changing, and it is fundamental that advertisers now use a combination of broadcast and on-demand TV.”