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Media Comparison

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the major media formats? How does OOH complement them? Why is OOH advertising a good choice?


Since its introduction in the late 1940s, television has been widely accepted into Americans’ homes as a source of news, information, and entertainment. Light television viewers are a difficult demographic to reach, a serious concern given this group is characterized as being younger, more active, and more affluent than the general population. Television’s combination of sight, sound, and motion make it a formidable advertising medium.Television

Today, many viewers consume a limited amount of television while digital video recorders (DVRs) have shifted habits toward ad avoidance. Light television viewers comprise 40 percent of the total television audience, spending less than 90 minutes per day watching TV between the hours of 6:00 AM and midnight.

Big market stations remain critical to broadcast networks, despite an increasing reliance on digital and online content distribution. For dozens of major independent station group owners, local television is their core business and revenue source. With broadcast networks selling programs directly to cable and new digital media outlets, and as broadcast networks rely more on online sites, digital platforms and devices to distribute programs, local stations have faced a dilution of the affiliate brand.

The high capital cost, declining revenues, and tighter margins have become increasingly apparent among television stations. Local TV station owners are under pressure to modify high-cost legacy structures, leverage their unique local content and connections, and engage in new digital enterprises to collectively offset traditional ad declines.

Television Benefits

  • Wide geographic coverage
  • Broad audience reach
  • Perceived accountability with well accepted audience measurement metrics
  • Relative ease of buying and post-buy maintenance
  • Proven success record for promoting mass consumer products

Television Disadvantages

  • Audience share is generally declining due to fragmented audiences
  • Increasing use of DVRs diminishes the impact of commercials
  • Many television shows skew older and lower income
  • Typically high CPM costs and rising production costs
  • Primetime is no longer the preeminent reach builder with a large part of the viewing population not substantially reached by the primetime networks
  • Increasing ad clutter as commercial pods lengthen

Broadcast Television and OOH
OOH reinforces television messages when viewers are away from their homes during the course of daily activities.

OOH minimizes wasted coverage and improves an advertiser’s campaign by providing the ability to target ad messages geographically.

Television is expensive. OOH improves the efficiency of a television campaign buy by driving down CPM costs. OOH reaches light TV viewers who are younger, mobile, and more affluent than heavy TV viewers.

Cable Television

In 1980, cable viewing was minimal compared to network television viewing. Today, cable offers considerably more targeting capabilities than broadcast television, allowing advertisers to reach specific consumer groups according to their programming interests and preferences. The average cable home has access to 120 channels with nearly 3,000 programs available each week.

The cable industry faces new challenges. The growth in available channels and programming has lead to unprecedented broadcast audience fragmentation making it increasingly difficult for brands to effectively reach sizable television audiences without excessive ad spending. Direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) technology has captured millions of subscribers, significantly reducing the reach of cable advertisers. Moreover, digital broadcasting television has furthered audience fragmentation among cable operators.

Cable Television Benefits

  • Penetration of 90 percent of US households
  • Typically lower CPM costs compared to broadcast television with similar benefits
  • Greater targeting capabilities compared to broadcast television
  • Programming available in all time periods
  • Original cable television programming comprises 67 percent of all content

Cable Television Disadvantages

  • Smaller audiences than broadcast television
  • Excessive fragmentation producing relatively small audiences for many channels
  • A greater number of commercials per hour compared to broadcast television

Cable Television and OOH
The combination of OOH and cable television offers advertisers similar benefits to the combination of OOH and broadcast television. OOH reinforces television messages when viewers are away from their homes during the course of daily activities.

Cable television delivers relatively small but targeted audiences compared to broadcast television. OOH improves cable television’s delivery by improving the overall reach of a campaign.

OOH offers localized media reinforcement of cable television advertising.

Radio

Driven largely by the increase in the length of consumer commutes, the number of people listening to the radio has grown over the last decade. With varied station formats, listeners have a wide choice of options to satisfy their particular preferences. But, listener fragmentation requires advertisers to buy multiple stations and formats to accumulate a relatively large audience reach, offsetting the cost-effectiveness of radio. The introduction of satellite radio and MP3 technology has stolen audience share from radio stations.

While some technology has hindered the reach of radio listening, other technologies have enhanced radio’s appeal with consumers. Over 4,500 radio stations stream content online through local websites, providing a one-on-one connection with listeners.

Radio Benefits

  • Targeting capabilities
  • Inexpensive compared to other traditional broadcast media
  • Builds frequency quickly
  • Branded promotions offer advertisers appealing community involvement opportunities
  • No seasonal listener erosion

Radio Disadvantages

  • No visual component
  • Advertisers must buy multiple stations and formats to accumulate audience reach
  • Peak listening is during morning and evening drive times with relatively low audiences during other day parts

Radio and OOH
The combination of radio and OOH reaches a mobile audience, offering a balance of sight and sound.

Radio messages are susceptible to channel surfing. OOH can maintain the market presence of a brand featured on radio after listeners have switched stations. Radio is considered a frequency medium and OOH can increase the reach of a radio campaign by providing broad market appeal to radio listeners.

Newspaper

Newspapers play a functional role by providing news and information. However, for more than 20 years there has been a consistent and steep decline in the number of Americans who regularly read a weekday or weekend newspaper. Many consumers today use online sources to gather news and information rather than printed materials. Nearly 100 million homes have an Internet connection, offering almost everything found in newspapers, including national and global news, classified ads, opinions, entertainment, sports, comics and horoscopes. Many traditional newspaper advertising sectors, such as job ads and real estate, have also moved online.

Advertisers in big cities have plenty of options to reach consumers, and newspapers are one of the most expensive. Newspapers can charge as much as $25 for every 1,000 people who might see an ad covering a half page.

According to The Media Audit, those who spend more than an hour per day reading newspapers spend 3.7 hours per day online. Internet newspaper reading represents almost 30 percent of time spent with newspapers.

A survey by the Pew Research Center asked readers if they would feel the loss of either print or online versions of their local newspaper. Forty-two percent said they would not miss their city paper much, or at all. Twenty-six percent didn’t think the loss would hurt civic life in their communities, and nearly 30 percent said there would be other ways to get news if their local paper shut down.

Newspaper Benefits

  • Broad reach within a defined market area• Newspaper offers targeting capability with regional delivery and special advertising sections
  • Geographic selectivity is available in small towns
  • Marketplace for competitive price shopping

Newspaper Disadvantages

  • Decreasing market penetration and readership with many newspapers reaching less than 50 percent penetration
  • Low younger audience (18-24) readership
  • Costly frequency medium
  • Some ad recall studies show less than 50 percent of newspaper readers recall noting ads
  • Ad clutter

Newspaper and OOH
OOH can resolve some of newspaper’s distribution shortcomings by offering selective targeting. OOH penetrates newspaper zones that are too large for reaching neighborhood target areas.

Newspapers have a short shelf life. OOH can extend the life of a newspaper campaign by presenting ad messages in a marketplace 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Readership rates are declining and will likely continue due to increasing numbers of alternate news sources. OOH’s very nature is unavoidable and impacts consumers lost to other source options.

Magazines

One of the core benefits magazine publishers can offer advertisers is the opportunity to use high production quality to influence core demographic audiences. But as more consumers are obtaining information from digital media platforms, more titles fold, circulation drops, and newsstand and subscription prices rise, the opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers through magazines are shrinking. According to the Publishers Information Bureau, the number of advertising pages in top magazines has dropped 42 percent since 2000.

Magazine Benefits

  • High degree of selective targeting based on demographics, product affinity, or lifestyle
  • High production quality
  • Focused editorial environment
  • Regional editions offer localized targeting capabilities

Magazine Disadvantages

  • Specific issue audience data is not typically available
  • Magazines produce minimal short term (daily/weekly) reach
  • Broad market reach is difficult to achieve because of niche readership behavior

Magazines and OOH
OOH strengthens an overall magazine ad campaign by providing a constant presence in the marketplace.

Internet

Internet advertising began in the mid-nineties and since then has been the fastest growing media segment. According to Magna Insights, nearly 100 million US households have Internet access today and over 90 percent of those households use broadband. The average user spends over 25 hours online per week. As a result, the Internet represents one-third of daily media use, according to The Media Audit. While new Internet ad options continue to evolve, the value of traditional banner ads is debatable as click through rates stay low.

Individuals are using social networking platforms where users generally hold negative views of advertising and consider ads a distraction. It is difficult to quantify the value of Internet advertising based on traditional media measures, and viable integration of advertising within social networking enterprises has proven tough to achieve. 

Internet Benefits

  • Direct response and transactional opportunity are available to consumers in real-time
  • One-to-one marketing any time and any place• Long-term reduction of transactional business costs

Internet Disadvantages

  • Limited frequency across millions of websites with users able to access only a fraction of sites available
  • Privacy and security concerns

Internet and OOH
Internet and OOH advertising reach similar audiences. Both market to a younger, educated, affluent, and mobile audience.

OOH extends the reach and frequency of an Internet campaign when users are offline.

The brevity of OOH’s copy is ideal for driving traffic to a website.