Tuesday 20 February 2018

TV ads slump as viewers move to Netflix

The Comreg report says 9pc of all households use Netflix (18pc in Dublin). Photo: Getty Images
The Comreg report says 9pc of all households use Netflix (18pc in Dublin). Photo: Getty Images
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

TV advertising in Ireland is facing a shake-up after new figures show a 25pc drop in viewership of ads on Irish television.

The figures, contained in recent Television Audience Measurement (TAM) ratings from Nielsen, show sharpest viewership falls in the key advertising demographics of 15 to 34-year-olds and housekeepers with children.

The TV advertising market is worth an estimated €200m a year in Ireland.

The figures measure the period between 2013 and 2015. They indicate that Irish people may be moving away from live scheduled TV to devices such as phones, tablets and smart video players in escalating numbers.

The figures come in the same week that telecoms firm Eir paid an undisclosed sum for Setanta Sports to boost its rivalry with Sky and Virgin in Ireland.

A spokeswoman for TAM said Irish people may have switched viewing away from RTE, TV3 and other "measured" channels to "non-measured" channels.

"Commercial impacts are based on a much smaller number of channels, those that sell advertising directly into the Irish market," she said.

"With the growth of fragmentation there is more opportunity for viewers to watch non-measured commercial channels."

Recent research from the Irish telecoms regulator Comreg shows that a majority of the estimated 150,000 new subscribers to Netflix have switched off scheduled television or lessened their viewing.

According to the TAM ratings, the average number of commercial spots seen per day on television has fallen by 25pc, from 40 spots to 30 spots, among those aged between 15 and 34.

It has fallen by an even greater amount, 26pc, among adults aged between 25 and 44, while housekeepers and housekeepers with children are also seeing 25pc less ads on television according to the TAM figures.

Among adults over the age of 45, the average number of commercial spots seen per day has fallen 16pc in the last two years.

Research from Comreg shows that 14pc of those who have subscribed to online paid TV services have stopped watching live or scheduled television, while 43pc say that it has caused them to watch less live or scheduled TV.

The Comreg report says 9pc of all households use Netflix (18pc in Dublin). On average, Netflix users spend seven hours per week using the service, it says.

TAM ratings measure audience viewership for Irish broadcasters such as RTE, TV3 and UTV. TAM figures claim that the viewership of live television compared to "time shifted" television on catchup players has remained stable in recent years, despite growing evidence that people are moving away from live, scheduled television.

International measurement company Nielsen, which is behind the TAM ratings, has released new research showing that TV audiences are declining in other countries relative to phones, tablets, computers and 'smart' video appliances.

Senior advertising executives told the Irish Independent that the figures reflect "reality" in the market.

"The TV universe as we know it is smaller now than it was before," said John Clancy, managing director of Carat Ireland.

Other industry figures said video ads are now spread across a more diverse range of media platforms. "If an ad is good it will be viewed on YouTube," said Orlaith Blaney, chief executive of ad agency McCannBlue.

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