Trust and Historic Television Viewership Equal Brand Sales | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Trust and Historic Television Viewership Equal Brand Sales

November 10, 2020

By Brad Seitter


The pandemic affects every demo, race, and religion. It has upended our world and caused many changes in both business and home life. To find any silver lining would be difficult, but for those of us in marketing we are fortunate to find one: increased media consumption, including historic television viewership and unquestionable trust in local broadcast TV. The trust that comes with TV station viewership creates a unique opportunity for every brand.

The latest TV viewership research and media trust studies demonstrate which media consumers trust and are spending time with during the pandemic. Recent data and case studies in the automotive and home improvement categories demonstrate how brands can translate these findings into sales.


TV Viewership During the Pandemic

While TV viewership is up in most dayparts by most demos, the most dramatic increase is with evening news. In the biggest buying demo of adults aged 25 to 54, evening news viewership is up an average of 44 percent over the seven month period from March to September of 2020 versus 2019. For the same time period, adults over 35 evening news viewership is up an average of 26 percent, and, notably, viewership for adults aged 18 to 34 is up on average an impressive 92 percent. All of these demos demonstrate a significant increase in impressions year-to-year and provide an opportunity for brands in every ad category.


Trust and Home Improvement

The pandemic has many people reevaluating their living spaces, and as a result funds have flooded the home improvement industry. Three out of four homeowners (73 percent) are planning renovations this year, according to a LightStream Pulse Survey, conducted by Wakefield Research. According to the Building Industry Association, there has been a surge during the pandemic for single-family residential building permits.

Merely reaching these home improvement customers isn’t enough to grow a brand. Another integral aspect that has to be present is trust. Without it, consumers won’t necessarily take the steps toward making a purchase. In a business development session at the TVB Alt Forward conference, Duane Charping, owner of Roof Fix in San Antonio, Texas, said that five years ago, his company averaged $5 million in annual sales. Today, Roof Fix has grown to over $140 million in annual sales and the only change the company made was moving their advertising to local broadcast TV. When asked what he attributed the life-changing growth to, Duane’s answer was simple: It’s all about trust.

Before advertising on broadcast TV, Roof Fix closed sales at no more than 30 percent regardless of the medium they advertised on. Once they moved to broadcast TV, their close ratio jumped to 80 percent and revenue grew exponentially over the next five years. Duane said that having built trust with consumers via broadcast TV advertising made the difference when it came to discussing advertising. This isn’t to say TV is the only way, but studies confirm its efficacy in building trust with consumers over digital and social. Often TV works in synergy with these other media to get optimal results.

According to a 2020 Engagement Labs study, 81 percent of consumers say they trust the news they hear or see on broadcast news, 59 percent trust cable news and 31 percent say they trust news on social media. In the same study, consumers were asked where they believe fake news is most prevalent. Fifty-nine percent said social media, while only 5 percent said it’s most prevalent on local broadcast TV. This is a useful snapshot of consumer sentiment that can help guide strategic advertising decisions. Ultimately, the combination of a trusted viewing environment and extensive viewer reach equals opportunity for marketers.



Former head of marketing for Toyota North America, Steve Sturm provided an analysis on how trust and viewership works similarly for the automotive category. The auto market suffered its largest decline in over 10 years with the impact of the pandemic. Monthly vehicle sales fell by 42.6 percent at its lowest point in April, but by September sales were only down 2.8 percent from last year. New vehicle sales are now forecasted to finish 2020 between 14 to 14.5 million vs. an original forecast of 16.8 million.

The key to this rapid recovery was aggressive marketing, offering 0 percent financing over 84 months, deferred payment programs, payment protection for job layoffs by the auto companies and their dealers. According to Kantar data on Tier 1 Automotive spending for January through December of 2019, the vast majority of the dollars spent to market these incentives landed on television.

The forecast for auto advertising in 2021 is $11.8 billion, up 7.9 percent from 2020. Local broadcast TV remains a large part of the advertising mix with 37 share of the spend. Overall, the top 14 auto manufactures will spend between 70 and 90 percent of their overall ad budgets on TV. In a 2020 GfK Media Comparisons study that looked at potential auto buyers, 78 percent of respondents said they trust local broadcast TV news. Sixty-three percent trust cable news and 31 percent trust social media. The same study also found that TV ads motivated potential auto buyers to go online to find out more about a product or service.

As advertisers and marketers plan media strategies for Q4 2020 and 2021, it’s important to appreciate the impact of TV advertising on consumers, and to recognize the effectiveness of TV ads combined with digital to reach and motivate consumers. It’s important to note, too that TV isn’t only linear – it’s OTT, apps, website and social. TV is an integral part of the media advertising mix, as it continues to be relevant, prevalent and trusted.

Brad Seitter is EVP of business development at TVB.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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