How Changes in Media Viewing Habits Impact Advertisers

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It’s no secret that the way people consume video content is changing.  In 2010, Netflix had 20 million subscribers.  By 2014, they had over 50 million subscribers.  7   Sony owned “Crackle” says they have 18 million viewers per month.8  YouTube has over one billion users, and over 100,000,000 hours of video are being watched on the site every day. 9

When it comes to TV, three of the four big networks saw a decline in viewership for the 18-49 demographic between the years 2013 and 2015, with NBC dropping by 11%, CBS dropping by 4%, and Fox falling by 24%.  ABC was the only network to see growth in this demographic during this time, improving by 5%.2  But, the naysayers that postulate that broadcast TV is in it’s death throes are far from correct.  

Research completed by Symphony Advanced Media shows that the highest rated scripted show on a broadcast network (CBS, Big Bang Theory) pulls in an average of 10.61 million viewers. 4  In contrast, the highest ranked streaming video on demand (SVOD) show was Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix, which had 4.81 million viewers, placing the number one SVOD show well below even the number 10 broadcast show, which has 6.24 million viewers. 3

So what does this all mean to businesses that want to reach consumers?  While numbers are still strong for the traditional and cable TV networks, limiting yourself to only TV and radio buys will likely see decreasing returns on your investments over the coming years.  But this hardly means you should abandon traditional buys.  Consider supporting your media buy with additional channels, like YouTube, Spotify, and Crackle.

The old adage ‘With change comes opportunity’ should be an exciting idea!  For advertisers, this change means more opportunities to get your message out there to specific, targeted markets.  That means you can craft messages specifically for your primary and secondary audiences, and buy time on channels that have strong relationships with those consumers.

The changing market also provides opportunities to create not just advertisements, but to sponsor content.  For example, broadcast TV stalwart ‘Saturday Night Live’ announced in April of 2016 that they plan to reduce the number of traditional advertisements shown during their program, and instead offer in-show branded content. 10  Think of who your customers are and research what types of SVOD shows they watch.  Sponsor an existing show, or better yet, you can create your own content (Brainstorm Media, Inc. is happy to work with you on this!).  With so many options for dissemination, creating content that showcases your company’s products and expertise is a fantastic way to connect with consumers.  This content doesn’t have to be a 30 minute weekly TV show.  You can create short two to three minute videos that are released regularly on YouTube.

When it comes to media viewership habits, everything is changing, and for advertisers that’s great news!  Brainstorm Media, Inc is here to help you create just the right content for your media buy.  Give us a call and we’ll help you craft your message, record, edit, and create content, and even help deliver the content to the proper channels.


Author: Bruce Houtz, Editor/Producer at Brainstorm Media, Inc.



1. 2015, December 24.  Battaglio, Stephen.  Los Angeles Times.  ”How cable and broadcast TV news fared in 2015.”

2. 2015, May 22.  Crupi, Anthony.  AdvertisingAge. “The 2014-15 Broadcast TV Season, By the Numbers: NBC Wins a War of Attrition.

3. 2016, January 21. Lynch, Jason. AdvertisingAge. “Broadcast TV is Still Outpacing Netflix’ Top Shows by Millions of Viewers Per Episode.”

4. 2016, January 13. Lynch, Jason. AdvertisingAge. “NBC Says Netflix Doesn’t Yet Pose a ‘Consistent’ Threat to Broadcasters.  Her’s Why.”

5. 2016, Google,

6. 2014, January 30.  Mochari, Ilan.  Inc. “The History of Netflix and the Future of Television.”

7. 2017, July 21.  A brief history of Netflix. CNN.

8. 2015, July 22.  Lynch, Jason. AdWeek. Finally, a Big Streaming Network is Sharing Ratings Info.

9. 2016.  YouTube.

10. 2016, April 25. Killoran, Ellen.  Forbes. “SNL to Cut Commercial Breaks, Introduce Sponsored Content.”

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