Harmelin Media defines All-Screen TV as the viewing of full-episode TV content regardless of the device. For years, media agencies have been making the case for advertisers to embrace All-Screen TV (also called Cross-Screen TV, or TV Everywhere) as a part of an overall video strategy. The case to do so is logical, well-supported by research and most importantly, pretty much true. Generally, the case for All-Screen TV goes something like this:
All-Screen TV is needed to reach cord-cutters, younger TV viewers (Adults 18-34), and technologically savvy early adopters who are no longer watching traditional, linear TV.
In other words, it is about incremental reach, and connecting with the harder-to-capture millennial audience.
But the case has changed…
All-Screen TV is no longer just about reaching the previously unreachable cord-cutters, who are not as large a group or as ‘unreachable’ as some sources have made them out to be. An analysis of Nielsen Media Research data from December 2010 through 2017 indicates that penetration of pay TV households has decreased by about 8 million households or 9%1, not the 20+ million hyped by other sources. Furthermore, with many pay TV providers now offering lower-priced ‘skinny bundles,’ the rate of future cord-cutting is expected to decrease, since price is consistently said to be the main factor driving service changes. These cord-cutters also supplement their streaming video habits by adding digital antennas, allowing them to watch select over-the-air programming and thus making them far less unreachable.
Instead, All-Screen TV is now about recapturing audiences across ALL age segments. Yes, even those folks who are still watching traditional, linear television are fragmenting their premium or primetime video viewing across an increasingly wide array of platforms, devices and channels. All advertisers need to understand and accept this fact.
While many advertisers and agencies have begun to embrace All-Screen TV, they have done so only in narrowly defined situations. Wide-scale adoption has been limited by the misguided belief that the value of All-Screen TV ads lies only with connecting with the younger, early adopting viewers. Using this thought process, an advertiser could easily see All-Screen as an optional, or “nice to have” tactic that can enhance an existing linear TV buy, but not truly necessary unless targeting younger consumers as an explicit goal.
However, according to Nielsen research, All-Screen TV use is not merely a “young person thing.” For example, for Adults aged 25 to 54, daily live TV viewing decreased by roughly 10% (2.5 hours per week) from second quarter 2015 to second quarter 20172. However, during this same timeframe, overall TV content consumption (i.e. All-Screen) among this group increased by 3% (roughly 1 hour per week). The decreases in live, linear TV viewing were counterbalanced largely by the increased viewing of TV content on smartphones, as well as other multimedia devices which stream on televisions. Moreover, this change is not driven solely by the 20-somethings segment of the demo. These are also viewers in their 30s, 40s and 50s. This pattern of decreasing live TV viewing accompanied by increasing All-Screen TV consumption holds consistent as viewer age increases, even for Adults age 55+ during the same timeframe.
These findings are profound. The research and data demonstrate an indisputable shift from Live TV to All-Screen TV across all audiences – men and women, young and old. It proves that All-Screen TV is not about incremental reach with younger viewers. All-Screen TV is about recapturing ALL audiences who are now watching long-form, professionally produced TV shows through a variety of delivery mechanisms. To be effective, television advertisers must adapt their strategies to account for the expanding array of devices and platforms that viewers use to consume TV content. The same audiences who used to be reachable through a live, linear broadcast and cable buy alone now require an All-Screen TV approach.
People are still watching TV. They never stopped. They’re just watching premium TV content from more and different places. They are streaming on Hulu, Amazon and network TV apps like the ABC Live TV & Full Episode app. They are accessing through their smartphones, tablets or through AppleTV, X-Box or a connected TV. They pull up their favorite show on their own timetable through Video-On-Demand or a DVR. Yes, they still watch a lot of traditional linear TV. However, “they” no longer represent just young viewers, early adopters and those elusive millennials. “They” are just about everyone. “They” are regular people, watching TV content wherever they want, however they want.
For advertisers, All-Screen TV is an opportunity to achieve necessary reach levels among all segments of their target audience, both young and old.
- Nielsen, National Cable/Satellite HH Penetration Trends
- Nielsen, Total Audience Report Q2 2017