As I prepare to chair a panel discussion on television advertising at this week’s Future TV Advertising conference
, I thought I would dip into our consumer surveys to see what people are telling us about their attitudes towards advertising. For reference, our survey was based on a weighted sample of 2803 online respondents across France, Germany, Italy and the UK, and was fielded between July and September 2010.
One of the issues often discussed at such conferences is the degree to which viewers enjoy advertising on television. Our survey found that only 7% of Europeans strongly agree that they “enjoy watching and listening to well produced and informative commercials on television”, and another 26% somewhat agree. But 23% strongly disagree that they enjoy watching commercials, and another 16% somewhat disagree. This gives a negative “balance” of -6% overall on the question of how much people say they enjoy watching TV ads; you are three times more likely to find someone who dislikes TV ads as someone who really enjoys them.
The irony is that Europeans do appreciate that advertising plays an important role, even if they don’t like watching the ads. 51% somewhat or strongly agree with the statement that “advertising plays a useful role since it pays for the cost of providing entertainment”; only 31% disagree.
There is even stronger agreement for the idea that all television should be “free” at the point of consumption: 65% of people somewhat or strongly agree with the statement “No one should have to pay for television; all programmes, including all sports and movies, should be available to everyone and supported by advertisements or public funding”. Only 24% disagreed with the idea that all television should be free. Not surprisingly (given that pay TV is most successful in the UK) the strongest support for this idea came from viewers in continental Europe, with 72% of French respondents in agreement. UK respondents are markedly different in their atttitudes towards free TV: 49% agree it should be free, but 32% disagree, giving a net balance of only 17%, compared to 58% in France.
We found similar love-hate attitudes towards advertising in online television. People are very resistant to the idea that they could pay in order to avoid advertisements, but they also don’t like the fact that they have to watch adverts before an online TV show starts, and they think there are too many short adverts in online video content.
So the challenge for advertisers appears to be the same as it ever was: getting a message across and engaging with viewers who are generally resistant to commercially motivated communications. Whether technology and innovation can help ease that process over the years ahead remains to be seen.
Client Reading: Global Advertising Market Forecast