The Guardian has an article from ThinkBox (the marketing body for the majority of the UK TV broadcasters) arguing that TV is in good health - people watching as much as they ever did - and more ads than ever before. The data supporting their argument comes from BARB, which measures peoples actual viewing in over 5000 UK homes.
Given how counter intuitive this is for many, it has inspired some heated debate - 49 comments when I looked (including a typically good one from James Cherkoff) - all of them saying they avoid ads whenever they can. Now it is the technology section of the Guardian, so it's hardly a representative audience - but I do feel they have a point.
My view is that TV may well be holding its own in terms of overall audience (although the big audiences that used to be fairly frequent are now rare) but it has lost the war for attention.
Some US work from BIGResearch showed that 68% of those watching TV use other media at the same time. Whilst laptops in the living room aren't mainstream (yet) we can see from correlating search with TV that people do have access to PCs whilst viewing.
And ask yourself how you use TV in your home - is it something you watch all the time or is it often something you merely see - moving wallpaper?
We know that advertising can and does work in this way - Low Involvement Processing is still a must read - but it's time to recognise that TV has changed and we need to change how we use it.
The huge rise in video viewing online - and with Hulu and Kangaroo working to accelerate this - give the industry an opportunity to rethink TV as NewTV and develop a holistic approach to video wherever it is delivered. Advertising is needed to fund this redefined industry, but the jury is still out on how advertising should work.
Its up to us to solve that issue.