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TV Ads Reach Most Affluent Consumers

Television remains the advertising medium that reaches the most affluent Americans.

According to the 2012 Mendelsohn Affluent Survey released last week, more than 50 million adults from households with incomes of higher than $100,000 reported seeing or hearing advertising on TV in the past six months. Among those, about 60% said they had considerable—or, at the very least, some—interest in the advertising they saw or heard.

“We look at reach and receptivity across 37 [different media] touch points. The change we found is that more people are seeing advertising through smartphones and tablets,” says Steve Kraus, senior VP, chief insights officer, audience measurement group, Ipsos Media CT, which conducts the Mendelsohn study. “But otherwise, television has been a consistent No. 1 on both reach and receptivity.”

To do the study, Ipsos talked to 13,794 adults and asked questions about 98 different TV networks and 51 different programming genres. Viewing among the affluents was down 4% to 16.9 hours in a typical week. The study also found that high-income viewers were watching fewer cable channels, 15.7, down about 6% from the 2011 survey.

“One could speculate it’s the growth of things like Netflix or Amazon Prime” that caused the drop in viewing, Kraus says. But he downplayed the shrinkage, noting that there was not much change in viewing of the most popular programming genres.

The top programming genres among affluent viewers were: local news, seen by 69% of respondents; movies (68%); action and adventure (67%); comedy (63%); drama (57%); national/international news (55%); and sports (53%).

The networks with the most affluent viewers were led by the broadcasters, with ABC on top, followed by NBC, CBS and Fox. Among cable networks, ESPN had the most affluent viewers, followed by Discovery Channel, History, CNN, A&E and Food Network.

The networks whose viewers had the highest median net worth were Bloomberg TV, Fox Business Network, Golf Channel, Tennis Channel and Ovation.

Krauss added that affluent individuals continue to invest money in TV. “Their televisions continue to get bigger, they get better in quality, they continue to get more connected to the Internet and to hardware like Blu-rays,” he says. “So there’s still a very strong enthusiasm for TV among them.”