A Guide to Competitive Media

RAB's new Competitive Media section gives you complete access to the latest information profiling 10 competitive media. Each profile contains a complete whitepaper as well as the advantages, disadvantages and plus Radio for each medium.

This section also gives you the option to build custom media profiles reflecting specific talking points in a colorful, street-ready one sheet.

Broadcast TV

  • The Nielsen Company predicts that in 2012, the number of U.S. television households will decline for the first time in 20 years, with penetration dropping from 98.9% in 2011 to 96.7% in 2012. The expected decline is attributed to the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, the economy, and the new video platforms available to consumers. (The Nielsen Company, 2011)

    By the late-2000s, television household usage had grown to an average of 57.1 hours per week, compared to 53.7 hours in the early-2000s and 49.5 hours in the early-1990s. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    The number of channels that the average American TV home receives jumped from 27.2 in 1990 to 135.0 in 2010, which includes offerings from networks, independents and cable. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Research by Media Dynamics revealed that the typical adult watches an average of 16.1 of the available channels on a weekly basis, 31.5 in a month and 42.9 in a 13-week cycle. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Across all dayparts, the combined ABC/CBS/NBC networks' share of total weekly set usage plummeted from 50% in 1980 to 14% in 2010. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Media Dynamics research shows that the big three networks' once formidable grip on primetime viewing, which was 88% in 1980, fell to 32% in 2010. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    As late as 1990, ABC, CBS and NBC owned a 71.6% share of ad revenues. But with the growth of FOX, along with the CW network and cable networks, the traditional big three broadcast networks’ share of advertising sales dropped to 32.9% in 2010. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    According to the Television Bureau of Advertising, network TV revenue increased 5.7% in 2010 to $24.968 billion, while spot sales jumped 23.5% to $15.560 billion. Syndication revenues slipped 2.8% to $4.111 billion. (Television Bureau of Advertising, 2011)

    Based on Television Bureau of Advertising figures, the top spot TV advertisers in 2010 (both local and national): 1. Political advertising; 2. Chrysler Group; 3. AT&T; 4. Ford Dealers Association; 5. Toyota Dealers Association; 6. Honda Motor Co.; 7. Verizon Communications; 8. Comcast; 9. General Mills; 10. General Motors Corp. (Television Bureau of Advertising, 2011)

    According to the Television Bureau of Advertising, the leading spot advertising categories in 2010 (both local and national): 1. Automotive; 2. Communications/Telecommunications; 3. Restaurants; 4. Political; 5. Financial; 6. Car & Truck Dealers; 7. Furniture Stores; 8. Insurance; 9. Government & Organizations; 10. Schools, Colleges & Camps. (Television Bureau of Advertising, 2011)

    Program genres accounting for the most hours of weekly TV set usage during the winter of 2010: 1. Newscasts; 2. Feature films; 3. Drama series (excluding daytime serials); 4. Children's programming; 5. Sports; 6. Sitcoms; 7. Talk/information programs; 8. Varieties; 9. Quiz/game shows; 10. Daytime serials. (Media Dynamics, 2011)

    Based on 2011 research by The Nielsen Company, the heaviest users of traditional TV are adults 65+, followed by adults 50-64. Teens 12-17 watch the least amount of traditional TV. (The Nielsen Company, 2011)

    Local TV stations saw online revenues increase an average of 14%, from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $1.4 billion in 2010. Revenues for 2011 are estimated at $1.7 billion, and are expected to grow to $2.2 billion in 2012, according to Borrell Associates. (Borrell Associates, 2011)

    The total number of commercial TV stations in the U.S., both VHF and UHF, totaled 1,393 in 2010, compared to 1,248 in 2000 and 1,092 in 1990. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Share of network TV commercials in 2010, by length: 60 seconds, 8%; 30 seconds, 53%; 15 seconds, 35%; other, 4%. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Share of spot TV commercials in 2010, by length: 60 seconds, 7%; 30 seconds, 72%; 15 seconds, 16%; other, 5%. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Average weekly cume for network broadcast affiliates in the fourth quarter of 2010: CBS, 74.3%; NBC, 71.1%; ABC, 69.6%; Fox, 68.4%; CW, 39.6%. (The Nielsen Company, 2011)

    According to research by The Nielsen Company, adults ages 35-49 watched the most timeshifted TV per week during the fourth quarter of 2010. (The Nielsen Company, 2011)

    Based on a study by The Nielsen Company, TV commercials that air during drama/adventure shows generate the strongest brand recall. Reality shows follow, with relatively stronger brand recall than sitcoms. (The Nielsen Company, 2011)

  • Mass Appeal: In addition to the 98.9% penetration rate among U.S. households enjoyed by television in general, 83.7% of these homes are multi-set households. (Nielsen Media Research, 2011)

    Reach Vehicle: TV reaches 92% of the population on a daily basis. (Television Bureau of Advertising, 2011)

    Big Events: Programs such as the Super Bowl or popular series finales can reach a large mass of audience.

    Visual appeal: TV has the ability to capture attention through sight, sound and motion.

    Water-cooler appeal: Broadcast has the ability to generate next-day conversation about nightly programming, especially popular programs.

    Credibility: Perceived accountability with well-accepted audience measurement metrics.

  • Fragmentation: Marketers distinguish between Broadcast TV and Cable TV because of the differences in the way they are bought. Broadcast TV is generally sold locally by one staff for one station. Cable TV is typically sold locally by one staff for all the advertising-supported cable channels. On the other hand, viewers do not differentiate between Broadcast TV and Cable TV channels. Time spent viewing Broadcast TV is being divided among Cable TV channels.

    Diminished: Consumers' broadcast television time is being further diminished by Video On Demand (VOD), video games, Internet video downloads, and Internet browsing.

    Commercial Avoidance: As many as 38% of all U.S. TV homes are now equipped with digital video recorders (DVRs). The commercial “zapping rate” when programs are seen on a delayed basis is 50-70%. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Commercial Clutter: Clutter, particularly on network TV during primetime hours, has risen almost 60% over a 40-year period. In the early 1980s, 19% of TV content was devoted to commercials. By 2010, it had climbed to 25%. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Escalating Costs: According to Fox, one :30 commercial in the 2011 Super Bowl cost an estimated $3.0 million. Apart from one-time programs or large special events like the Super Bowl, one average :30 can cost double or triple the amount of one :30 in Radio.

    Production Costs: According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, production costs for a national :30 commercial averaged over $300,000 in 2009. Producing quality commercials significantly impacts ad budgets.

    At-home Medium: TV is primarily an at-home medium.

    Lack of Recency: According to TV Dimensions 2011, peak viewing hours occur in the evening from 8-10 PM, when consumers are less likely to be making purchases.

    Seasonal: TV usage is greatly affected by vacation and weather cycles and the effects these have on viewer interest and availability. Usage is highest in the colder winter months and lowest during the summer months. (TV Dimensions, 2011)

    Demographics: Many TV shows skew older and lower income.

  • Personal Relevance: The Radio Ad Lab (RAL) study on Personal Connection, Personal Relevance shows consumers connect with Radio stations, saying their Radio station plays commercials personally relevant to them. The study shows consumers do not feel a connection with a television channel nor the commercials played on the channel.

    Efficient Schedules: According to the Trade Promotion Management Association, more than 75% of consumers recall TV ad images after hearing a Radio commercial with the same or similar audio.

    Quality Production: Quality Radio commercials can be produced for a fraction of the cost of a quality television commercial. Most Radio stations offer free creative and production for advertisers.

    Mobile Medium: Radio is listened to at home, work and in-car and reaches people closest to the time of purchase intent.

    Recency: Consumers are most influenced by advertising most recently exposed to before making a purchase. Radio is most often the medium used before making daily purchases.

    In Conjunction: Radio reaches 82% of adults who watch primetime TV and 81% of those who don't.(Radio Marketing Guide, 2011)

    Increase Brand Recall: The Radio Ad Lab (RAL) study on Synergy shows replacing one of two television commercials with two Radio commercials increases brand recall by 34%.

Other Competitive Media Resources

In this section, you'll find links to information profiling media OTHER than radio. Below are links to Weekly Sales Meetings, Whitepapers, special reports and other articles that you can use to help your advertisers understand the important role of Radio in supporting ANY marketing effort.

Please make your selection from the lists below and don't forget, you can always call RAB's Member Response Helpline at 1-800-232-3131 for more information.