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Linear ad reach hit by viewer decline

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Linear TV advertising in the UK is being impacted by a faster decline in viewership than previously predicted.

A new report by independent marketing and media consultancy firm Ebiquity claims linear TV’s audience is shrinking as it continues to battle with the global VoD powers.

The report found that the number of younger linear viewers is falling at a faster rate than initially calculated in Ebiquity’s previous report, published in February 2019. This decline is expected to result in a 21% fall in overall adult commercial impacts for advertisers by 2025.

The study, titled Mind the Gap: A Closer Look at Video Advertising Reach in the Age of Increasing Media Fragmentation, draws upon audience measurement data from AudienceProject and Barb, and analyses 15 different advertising campaigns from the end of 2019 run by five of the largest advertisers in the UK.

Overall, Ebiquity’s analysis revealed that total linear TV commercial impacts were down by 4.4% in 2019 against predictions of a 3.6% decrease.

For the 18-24 viewing demographic, even with a predicted slowdown in the rate of decline, more than half (56%) of the impacts will have disappeared in five years.

Ebiquity’s report also shed light on the increasingly important role online video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are playing in the advertising spheres.

For the younger demographics – 16-24s, 25-34s, and 35-44s – advertising served on YouTube and Facebook was found to match the reach delivered by traditional linear TV advertisements. The report also said brands using YouTube to target younger consumers had the most to gain in terms of incremental reach.

Ebiquity’s analysis found that digital advertising alternatives could build reach more quickly than linear TV. At an impression level, digital platforms can reach 20-25% of younger audiences more quickly than traditional TV advertising can, the reported claimed.

However, for the older demographics, 45-54s, 55-plus and 65-plus, TV advertising remains superior in reach and impact compared with alternative online platforms. Nonetheless, the study claims digital platforms are still capable of delivering to these demographics.

The results from Ebiquity’s report echo the sentiments of industry measurement firm Ampere Analysis, which has predicted 2020 to be the year of AVoD.

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