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Figure 11-1 Top 10

network TV advertisers, 2001

Coverage and Cost Effectiveness Television advertising makes it possible to reach large audiences. Nearly everyone, regardless of age, sex, income, or educational level, watches at least some TV. Most people do so on a regular basis. According to Nielsen Media Research estimates, nearly 270 million people age 2 or older live in the nation's 106.7 million TV households, nearly 76 percent of whom are 18 or older.2 Marketers selling products and services that appeal to broad target audiences find that TV lets them reach mass markets, often very cost efficiently. The average prime-time TV show reaches 7 million homes; a top-rated show like ER may reach nearly 15 million homes and perhaps twice that many viewers. In 2002, the average cost per thousand (CPM) homes reached was around $14 for network evening shows and $4 for daytime weekly shows.3

Because of its ability to reach large audiences in a cost-efficient manner, TV is a popular medium among companies selling mass-consumption products. Companies with widespread distribution and availability of their products and services use TV to reach the mass market and deliver their advertising messages at a very low cost per thousand. Television has become indispensable to large consumer packaged-goods companies, carmakers, and major retailers. Companies like General Motors and Ford spend nearly two-thirds of their media budgets on various forms of TV—network, spot, cable, and syndicated programs—while PepsiCo and Coca-Cola spend more than 80 percent. Figure 11-1 shows the top 10 network television advertisers and their expenditures.

Captivity and Attention Television is basically intrusive in that commercials impose themselves on viewers as they watch their favorite programs. Unless we make a special effort to avoid commercials, most of us are exposed to thousands of them each year. The increase in viewing options and the penetration of VCRs, DVDs, PVRs, remote controls, and other automatic devices have made it easier for TV viewers to avoid commercial messages. Studies of consumers' viewing habits found that as much as a third of program audiences may be lost during commercial breaks.4 However, the remaining viewers are likely to devote some attention to many advertising messages. As discussed in Chapter 5, the low-involvement nature of consumer learning and response processes may mean TV ads have an effect on consumers simply through heavy repetition and exposure to catchy slogans and jingles.

Selectivity and Flexibility Television has often been criticized for being a nonselective medium, since it is difficult to reach a precisely defined market segment through the use of TV advertising. But some selectivity is possible due to variations in the composition of audiences as a result of program content, broadcast time, and geographic coverage. For example, Saturday morning TV caters to children; Saturday and Sunday afternoon programs are geared to the sports-oriented male; and weekday daytime shows appeal heavily to homemakers.

Figure 11-1 Top 10

network TV advertisers, 2001

Measured TV Advertising

Rank

Company

(millions)

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