Get Ready for Ad Erosion – or Reinforcement


Some cable and broadcast networks are handling the multiplatform advertising migration very well, but all networks should be ready for accelerating ad spending on mobile and interactive systems, according to comScore media evangelist Eli Goodman.

In a Thursday presentation, based on the research company’s latest “Future in Focus” report Goodman focused on the “incremental audience from mobile access.” All of the TV-based networks in his top 20 list matched or exceeded the ratio of mobile-to-wired usage of the online titans (Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Amazon). Not surprisingly,, the music site, is the only digital property (#20 on the list) for which mobile access now represents more than half of usage.

Overall a quarter of the companies on comScore’s roster of “top digital properties” based on usage are TV-centric firms. Number 10 is Turner Digital, followed by CBS Interactive and a bit lower on the roster are Comcast NBCUniversal, Viacom Digital and The Weather Channel.

For cable and “old media” ad sales representatives, the comScore tally of top 10 advertisers offers important directional pointers. Four of the top 10 online display advertisers (based on millions of impressions) are new to the list this year: State Farm, Weight Watchers, Walt Disney Co. and Procter & Gamble – all long-time traditional TV advertisers. As such companies find online success, especially via e-commerce and mobile-commerce that Goodman cited as blasting off,  TV ad sales staffs may face new challenges in keeping accounts on their screen.

One solution is to create cross-platform ad campaigns, which Goodman and many other transmedia evangelists espouse. Their message seeks to encourage campaigns that serve viewers on whatever screen they’re using.

“Advertisers must come up with tactics that will play out across all devices,” Goodman said, emphasizing that media companies better be ready to sell mobile advertising.

“You need to understand how it plays out over different devices,” he said. “It will get to the point where [viewers] don’t think about whether the content is on a smartphone versus a tablet versus a TV set." He stopped short of predicting a target date when such device-agnostic viewing will be the norm.

As I described last month when the comScore report first surfaced, the viewing migration to online and mobile platforms requires quick thinking for cable networks.  

“Video ads are proving effective, they are [quickly] moving the needle,” Goodman said.  He emphasized that their effectiveness is growing and singled out the success of YouTube’s new channel partnership and especially its premium content.

“They are gathering up a young, strong audience,” he said.

Goodman also said that one of the surprising findings in comScore's research was that “30% of [online video] ads are never seen.”
For cable and TV ad sales staffs, that’s an important benchmark.  But only if they can show that traditional media delivers great viewership for linear commercials.