For Brands Who Want to Grow: Is TV Dead?

TV died recently. It was sad, but expected. Which helps with the pain. 

Or did it?

Within most marketing and media organizations there are still two types of people: those who believe in the power of TV and those that believe TV is dead. It is a de facto badge of honor by many marketers to boast that they do not use TV in their media plans. For others there is a nagging guilt they are using too much of a legacy vehicle and not investing enough into hot, sexy digital tactics.

Stop it, you’re both wrong.


As with most stories, the truth is more complex than simple talking points like, “TV is dead.” Les Binet & Peter Field’s groundbreaking research Effectiveness In The Digital Age found that Linear TV is still the most powerful vehicle at driving “very large business effects.” And as you might imagine, “very large business effects” are a very good thing.

Americans still watch on average 2-4 hours per day of television, the vast majority of it live and unskipped.

In fact this is why 125 DTC brands used 2019 (not 2014) to increase their TV budgets into the billions combined. Brands who “grew up” on the Internet thought Social/Affiliate/Banner media plans were the most efficient ways to growth.

But a funny thing happened - their growth slowed.

Bigger guns were needed.

And when they tested Linear TV, it worked.

So why do I say TV is dead? Because the term “TV” no longer captures the consumer-led changes in media consumption reshaping our industry. Yes, traditional Linear TV is seeing ratings erode every year, but those ratings are still significant.

The power of TV was always sight, sound and motion on a large screen at scale. That has not changed.

As consumer migration reaches scale in OTT, VOD, Live Streaming and other formats, my team has officially shifted our use of the phrase TV to “LFV” or Large Format Video. We want to connect with the right consumers, at scale, in the most powerful and emotive place in the home: the big screen.

Using TV in combination with other tactics?

Streaming, VOD, Linear, Addressable, Programmatic and other forms of both consuming and buying video are combined into one bucket with many tentacles. And as consumers evolve each year, so does our recommended media mix.

As inventory increases in low-scale but digitally targeted channels like Addressable TV, we shift dollars away from increasingly fragmented Linear TV.

As new channels emerge to reach consumers on their couches, phones in hand, we will be ready with opportunistic testing funds. 


Passionate conversations around the death of TV and the power of digital audience targeting are important for our industry, but do little to solve the core question: How do I increase the visibility and sales of my brand, right now, without sacrificing the future?

TV is dead. 
Long live LFV.