Trylon Communications  - February 2004

Screen Time

It used to be a no-brainer. To reach any demographic, a marketer would have to get screen time on television. The only decisions to be made were which show or news broadcast to target. Today it's a different story, with television losing its luster as more people spend time in front of DVDs, Playstations, Tivos and computer screens.

To many households, television is becoming the radio of yesterday. It plays in the background as attention is focused on other medias. There is a war about to be waged by media companies over Americans' time - not their money. Many industry experts believe that we are approaching the death of the 30-second television commercial.

As the public embraces new entertainment options, it is also gaining more control over the advertising reaching out to it. The ability to view television on demand also allows viewers to skip commercials. Advertisers are searching for new ways to reach their audiences, with sponsorships, product placements and "infomercial" type ads.

Cable and satellite television penetration have led to broadcast companies buying cable outlets in an attempt to maintain viewership. However, both broadcast and cable television must compete with Americans' growing appetite for entertainment via Internet and other alternative media such as videogames, DVD rentals, on-demand programming and the new entertainment options that are sure to come.

The abundance of media approaches to the typical American grows daily. Even radio, the old standby, is reaching new technological heights with the introduction of satellite broadcasting. The questions facing a marketing executive today aren't merely how to get screen time - they are which screens to get time on and how to effectively get attention while there.

For companies looking for exposure in the media, it is more important than ever to get the credibility of third party reporting, on-air interviews, and media appearances. With more opportunities for the public to opt out of watching commercials, advertising dollars would be better spent getting credible media time that is actually viewed.