VAB Offers Way to Compare TV vs. Digital

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Comparing traditional TV with digital has long been tricky. While data about digital seems more direct and accurate, measurements like unique users and minutes viewed are like oranges compared to TV's audience of apples.

While measurement companies Nielsen and comScore compete to construct a cross-platform ratings regime that works, the Video Advertising Bureau, which represents broadcast and cable TV, has come up with a formula it says provides an accurate snapshot of the number of people using TV versus those using Facebook.

The VAB’s solution is to measure average audience per minute, which takes into account reach, frequency and time spent, the factors that are important to advertisers. The VAB multiplies unique audience by average minutes viewed per visitor to get total minutes viewed. Then it divides by total minutes in the time period to get an average audience.

Using this formula, the VAB said, TV’s audience in any minute averages 45.4 million people, topping 12.7 million for smartphones and 9 million for PCs.

Television accounts for 95% of video consumption among adults and 88% among those pesky, cord-cutting millennials. TV as a whole beats Facebook 7 to 1, Pandora 15 to 1 and YouTube 15 to 1 among adults, according to the VAB.


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.