TV Content Generates 80% of Consumer Attention

At a time when Internet video is getting a lot of interest from advertisers, a new report from the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau finds that TV content still generates 80% of consumer attention.

TV websites are either the top sites in their genres or among the top five in key genres including news, sports, food, kids, weather, comedy, gaming, home, music and entertainment. And they get as much as Facebook and the four major internet portals—Google/YouTube, AOL, MSN and Yahoo—combined, according to the report.

"There's an attention paradox in video – you could call it Attention Definition Disorder," Sean Cunningham, CEO of the CAB, said in a statement. "The ad industry has been distracted into paying less attention to what consumers are focusing the bulk of their attention on. Consumers are clearly focused on multi-screen TV content – professionally produced, ad-worthy content with a mass audience and infinite targeting opportunities."

In the last upfront, there was a dramatic drop in the amount of money committed to TV advertising. Many analysts speculated that with TV ratings down, some of the money was moving to online video.

The CAB report says that according to Nielsen and comScore data, Americans spend 175 hours a month watching video on the Internet. Of that 80% is spent with multi-screen TV content. The other 20% is spent with Internet activity, including search, social, mobile, email as well as video.

The CAB attributes the difference in time spent to investment in content. TV networks spent $44 billion on original content. The Internet video companies spent $3 billion.

"Smart marketers will clarify their definition of Internet video as an extension of a Multiscreen TV buy," said Cunningham. "Using video to sell more stuff isn't about how many places you can technically 'reach' people for 1-2 seconds; and it's not about how many splintered impressions you can aggregate. It's about how much time and attention you can amass with audiences committed to the same content."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.