There is no shortage of news and research about the effect that streaming is having on TV viewing behaviors. Most recently, U.S. streaming usage hit a new high in April, capturing more than 30% of audiences’ total TV time. For advertisers, this time of massive viewership fragmentation has considerable implications, yet many have remained focused on traditional TV, steadily increasing their ad spend since their COVID-driven pullbacks in the middle of 2020.

Streaming boom aside, the upside of traditional TV remains very high. In fact, audiences still spend twice the time with live TV than they do with content they access via their connected devices. From that perspective, TV remains a key channel for brand awareness, marketers’ top objective for the year ahead. And in the U.S., TV ad spending is very reflective of this goal, as brands allocated nearly 50% of their ad budgets to linear television last year.

There’s no discounting the importance of reaching the largest audience possible, but doing so requires more planning and strategy than it did when our media choices were far more finite. And while traditional TV remains a media mainstay, Nielsen Scarborough data shows that 47% of U.S. adults are either light or zero TV (weekly broadcast, cable) viewers. And those light viewers spend less than two hours each day watching traditional TV. This fragmentation of audience time can present challenges, but when advertisers have a clear understanding of channel usage, they’re better positioned to balance their spending for optimal returns.

It goes without saying

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