A new report has found that most viewers believe their perception of what TV is has shifted over the past five years amid the march of digital, but ads from broadcasters are still more trusted than their streaming equivalents.

Thinking Inside the Box was commissioned by addressable TV finder Finecast, in collaboration with research specialists DRG, to better understand consumer and industry understanding of TV viewing habits and addressable advertising.

Finecast recently worked alongside Dipsticks Research Group to explore the medium of TV in the world today.

The research project entitled ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ seeks to understand what TV means to viewers, how they consume it, and how they respond to to the content delivered within the TV environment.

Outlined below are some of the key findings from the report.

Perceptions of TV are changing

• The report established that 60% of viewers feel their perception of what TV is has shifted over the last five years.

• Some habits die hard, however, and 85% are confident they will always have a TV in the house.

• A further 74% classify broadcast video on demand (BVOD) as TV, while 53% include streaming video on demand (SVOD) and 9% even include YouTube in the broadest of definitions.

What mediums do viewers trust most?

• TV, especially BVOD, remains the gold standard for high quality viewing for 74% – with online video respected as high-quality content by just 57%.

• These figures closely correlate to trust with 75 and 57% respectively willing to put their faith in what they see on BVOD and online materiál.

• Among all media channels, 59% of those open to advertising trusted TV the mot, way ahead of other channels such as Press (11%), Cinema (9%), OOH (9%) Radio (6%) and Online (6%).

• However fully 50% of respondents told Finecast that they did not trust any of these channels.

• A third of those quizzed said they would be more likely to give their time to an advert if it was relevant to them, highlighting the potential power of targetted addressable advertising to reach specific audiences.

• Addressable advertising is cited as a potential TV entry point for brands by enabling highly focussed investment targetting particular audiences and locations.

• Phoebe Casey-Miller, research manager at DRG, commented: “These changes mean exciting new opportunities to reach consumers in different states of need, viewing contexts and across different devices and platforms. However, execution is key.

• “Viewers want relevancy, creativity and TV ads that they genuinely enjoy watching rather than find annoying and intrusive,” states Casey-Miller. “There is a clear line between using data-driven advertising solutions to create relevancy and engagement amongst viewers vs making them feel as if they’ve lost all sense of control with creepy targeting.”

• Casey-Miller concludes: “Viewers might not be clear on ‘What TV is?’ but from having the opportunity to enter their homes and observe their viewing experiences, TV continues to play an important and evolving role in the lives of consumers in 2020.”



• Major new study reveals that media channels differ widely in their ability to communicate vital brand signals
• TV consistently delivered the strongest signals across all categories and audiences
• Social media and video sharing sites performed significantly below average
• Advertising on TV will deliver double the perceived level of quality & popularity than advertising on social media

A new study released today finds that TV is the medium most likely to help brands appear high quality, successful and popular in the eyes of consumers.
‘Signalling Success’ was conducted by research agency house51, commissioned by Thinkbox. Its findings are based on a quantitative study of 3,600 people in the UK.

The study is the first-known UK research dedicated to the behavioural science principle of ‘signalling’, which has been widely discussed by academics and behavioural scientists, including Rory Sutherland. The theory suggests that the perceived cost and scale of an advertising campaign translates to improved brand attributes.

The research methodology took the form of an experimental design, inspired by US academic research from Duke and Stanford universities. Each respondent was presented with a description of a fictionalised brand in one of four product categories alongside a brief outline of its launch advertising campaign. The respondent was then asked to answer a series of perception statements in relation to this brand, based solely on its description and proposed launch campaign.

In each case, all information was identical except for the medium being used in the campaign. This allowed house51 to isolate the ‘signalling effect’ of the media channel used, as all other variables were identical for each respondent.

house51 split the perception statements into three groups based on the type of signal communicated.

• ‘Fitness’ signals cover the perceived brand quality, financial strength of the company and the company’s confidence in their brand.
• ‘Social’ signals cover the brand’s perceived fame, popularity and success.
• Trust covers the perceived degree to which the brand will deliver against the promises it makes within its advertising.

Key findings from ‘Signalling Success’

When participants were told that the ad campaign would run on TV, their perception scores for ‘fitness’ signals were significantly higher than average.

• 50% of respondents rated brands that advertised on TV as financially strong. The next best performing advertising channels at signalling financial strength were newspapers, magazines and radio, all at 32%.
• Brands advertising on video sharing sites and social media consistently scored below average in ‘fitness’ signals. Only 19% perceived brands advertising on social media as ‘high quality’. This compared with video sharing sites at 22% and the top performing medium, TV, at 43%.

TV advertising helps brands to be perceived as more popular and successful.

• 43% rated brands advertising on TV as being successful, slightly ahead of magazines at 41%. Social media and video sharing sites are least likely to signal brand success at 32% and 31% respectively.
• TV, magazine and press advertising all help signal brand popularity. 50% of respondents rated TV advertising as demonstrating that lots of people were buying the brand, compared with 24% for social media and 29% for video sharing sites.

Brands advertising on TV, magazines and radio are perceived as most trusted to deliver on promises made.

• 30% rated brands advertising on TV as trusted to deliver on promises made, making TV the most trustworthy medium, just ahead of magazines (29%) and radio (28%).
• Advertising on video sharing sites was least likely to deliver brand trust at 19%.

The perception scores varied across brand categories and age groups, but TV consistently delivered the most powerful signals.

• TV drives the strongest ‘fitness’ and ‘social’ signals for online retail, FMCG, mobile phone networks and home insurance.
• Social media and video sharing sites were the advertising channels least likely to drive ‘social’ or ‘fitness’ signals in any of the categories tested.
• Younger audiences had a more positive perception of social media and video sharing sites at driving ‘social’ signals than older age groups. 32% of 16-34 year olds rated brands advertising on social media as popular, versus 23% for 35-54 year olds, and 18% for 55+. For all these audiences, TV signalled the highest brand popularity at 57% (16-34), 52% (35-54) and 42% (55+).

Results overview

Implications for advertisers

These findings show that the medium is indeed the message. Advertisers need to factor in the relative ability of channels to deliver on these crucial signals, which have such a significant effect on brand perception and message communication.

Newer brands, with low levels of awareness, in particular need to pay attention to this study. They are yet to form their own reputation, and so need to borrow their brand credentials from the advertising environment.

Matt Hill, Research & Planning Director at Thinkbox:

“The ‘as seen on TV’ effect is a widely used phrase to describe the ability of TV to deliver positive brand signals; if you’re advertising on TV, then you must be a high quality, widely used and trustworthy brand. This simple, but powerful study from house 51 finally provides concrete evidence of the superior signalling ability of TV and offers a huge amount of depth to our understanding of how signalling works across different media channels, categories and audiences.”

Catherine Heaney, Co-founder and partner, house51:

“This has been a fascinating project to work on and we are delighted that our research has reinforced and expanded the literature on advertising signalling. The power is in the scale and subtlety of our design. Across 24 controlled experiments and 3,600 interviews we only varied the proposed media channel. This allowed us to prove that ‘as seen on TV’ provides stronger signals of brand fitness, quality and trust and that the effect is consistent across product categories and audience demographics.”

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK and author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense:

“Evolutionary biologists have known this for years. But this is further proof that there is a hidden trade-off between efficiency and effectiveness. The perceived size of audience and the perceived cost of signalling significantly add to the signaller’s power to convince.”



It is advisable to retain communication activity, especially in a recession, as it is important for a brand’s market share. This is a message conveyed to marketers by Mark Ritson.

Nobody is able to predict now when the current recession relating to the Covid-19 pandemic will come to an end. The situation will calm down with vaccination, which is likely to be available “later than we assume”. Recession thus does not have to end in the following year, said the marketing expert Mark Ritson in a webinar organised by the European trade association of TV & radio sales houses (EGTA) and provided by the Association of Commercial Television (AKTV) in the Czech Republic.

At the moment, communication activity is impacted by different positions of individual advertisers. They include three major groups: advertisers who put a freeze on their marketing activities (such as airlines); firms that had to respond and adapt their strategies to the current situation (gastronomy); and companies generating profit from the pandemic and becoming stronger (e-commerce).

Despite deteriorated conditions, Ritson recommends continuing marketing communication, predominantly in a recession. He considers the excess share of voice (ESOV) to be the key indicator representing the difference between the share of voice and the share of market. If advertisers do not stop their communication, they may increase their market share. “If other brands in the category reduce investments by 50% and our brand keeps the investment it has a positive effect on growth in our market share,” described Ritson. Using an illustrative example, he showed that if the existing investments are retained and other brands’ investments are reduced by half, the increase in the market share is ten percentage points.

The growing time spent by users with the media is specific to the Covid-19 pandemic. In some situations, you can benefit from a more favourable price for ad placement. “There is a great opportunity for brand building,” said Ritson. He is aware that the recommendation is easy to give but more difficult to implement. Data on positive effects of communication activities in a recession is, in his opinion, demonstrable and may be supported by examples of major economic recessions in the past century.

An example of ESOV growth during recession. 

Ritson believes that TV should always be included in the media mix because TV screens account for the largest portion of the total daily time spent watching video. According to the UK research data provided by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) for 2019, the linear TV (live TV) has approximately a fifty-percent share in the total time dedicated to watching video. TV’s position is even stronger in terms of ad videos seen, with its share exceeding 80%. TV in combination with other channels, mainly online video (and specifically YouTube) is also supposed to be effective.

A similar recommendation for active communication even in a recession was given by Peter Field, another marketing expert in communication effectiveness who delivered his speech in EGTA’s and AKTV’s webinar in spring (



Comcast’s ad sales division, Effectv, introduces a new appeal to the advertising community this week. If any of your campaigns solely use commercials on YouTube, Facebook or other social media, they’ll be more impactful when you distribute them on television services, as well.

That’s the big takeaway of “Digital Loves TV,” a study of consumer behavior from Effectv and independent research lab MediaScience. A white paper documenting the study is available to advertisers, ad agencies and media buying firms today. One key finding: consumers are 35 percent more likely to purchase a brand, product or service unknown to them beforehand after watching a commercial for it on TV and digital, compared to exposure on digital alone.

“What we found is, as video consumption habits have changed, advertisers naturally follow their audience to digital experiences,” said John Brauer, executive director of advanced analytics at Effectv. “But we know TV’s a trusted, brand-building mechanism for our advertisers. We started with the question: How effective is a digital-only campaign at building a brand, relative to those that combine digital with TV? We found that across the board, all of your brand metrics improve when you combine digital with TV.”

More than 140 adults age 18 and over participated in the study, taking place at two of MediaScience’s lab facilities. During the study, participants watched a set of commercials on digital services (YouTube/Facebook/mobile apps) and TV networks. The sequence of commercials and where they showed up was juggled throughout the test period, so that the entire sample base did not experience the same presentation order and platform.
Some of the messages were for well-known brands, while others were for products unknown to the viewers — imaginary and created just for this effort. MediaScience technicians used biometrics, eye tracking and other procedures to monitor the test period.

Brauer maintains the study’s sample size, at 140-plus people, was appropriate “to get statistically significant results.” He declined to name the advertisers with commercials running in the test, and acknowledged a variety of categories were in play, including retail, home improvement and autos.

“There’s a level of legitimacy that TV creates for a brand, as opposed to if you’re only advertising on digital” Brauer continued. “The intent to purchase doesn’t carry through at the same level as those campaigns that had the audience exposed to both TV and digital. The effect actually stands for both known and unknown brands.”

Other conclusions of this study:
— A digital/TV combined campaign improves that campaign’s total performance.
— Popular brands, products and services consumers know and trust by heart benefit from commercial exposure on both platforms, and brands, products and services people don’t know or use benefit more.
— Viewers pay attention and spend more time watching commercials on digital services when preceded by TV exposure to those ads.

With distribution of “Digital Loves TV,” Effectv is helping its clients to understand and find better ways to use their media budgets. “This evolution of TV comes down to how we as viewers program ourselves and have the content we want to watch at the right time,” Brauer asserted.

For small local businesses as well as new national advertisers on the scene, such as direct-to-consumer marketers, the study’s conclusions can be critical to their future existence. “We’re there to help them understand that (using TV) isn’t this big challenging mystery,” Brauer added. “It’s something that anyone can do, and it’s important for them to activate (TV elements in their campaigns) in order to make that next step with their brand.”

Expect a number of research initiatives from Effectv in the near future that further probe the viewer relationship between digital and TV messages. Chances are they are not necessarily two different islands of ad activity, Brauer noted. “We see this as one media ecosystem in that the resonance of your messaging carries across those platforms.”

Could the surging number of ad-supported programming ventures circulating through smart TV sets and TV-connected gadgets — including Peacock from Comcast’s NBCUniversal outpost — benefit as well over time from these studies? Over time we’ll find out, Brauer suggested.



A new framework aimed at giving advertisers a far greater understanding of their ads’ reach and frequency across all media is to be road-tested in the US and UK, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has said.

Accurate cross-media measurement has been a long-standing challenge within the industry, and the WFA has teamed up with global advertisers and platforms to put together both a framework and a technical solution.

This, it is hoped, will help brands ensure their ads are only seen the right number of times, wherever consumers are consuming content, and will stop consumers being excessively bombarded by the same ads. At the same time, advertisers will get a more complete picture of how and where ads are viewed.

The WFA has worked with national advertiser associations during the 18-month project in order to create the framework, which identifies advertisers’ cross-media measurement requirements along with principles that advertisers believe all solutions should be bound by.

Alongside the framework, the WFA is also publishing a technical proposal for cross-media measurement, which meets the principles outlined in the framework, including those covering transparency, neutrality and auditing.

The proposal, which was developed in partnership with digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, will now be tested in the UK and the US. Central to the proposal, says the WFA, is that it acknowledges that measurement is a local business and needs considerable local governance alongside the need for some global (or “common”) components to drive consistency and scale. Any parts of the proposal that need bespoke technology will be open sourced, says the WFA.

“Cross-media measurement is viewed as the ‘holy grail’ for marketers – as it optimises marketing decision making for driving business and brand growth,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

“Cross-media measurement is a global topic that needs to be answered locally, as every region has different starting positions and demands,” he added.

Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA, commented, “Advertisers have long struggled with poor quality data that doesn’t allow them to properly assess how best to invest their ad budgets across multiple platforms and media.

“This body of work provides a blueprint to build a cross-media measurement solution that responds to advertiser needs,” he stated.



This year’s TV advertising growth remains at 4% as in mid-year. Other media types are falling.

Lidl was the largest advertiser in July. At the same time, it started constructing a new store in Uničov in the Šumperská street in summer. Its opening is expected in the first half of the next year. Lidl operates 261 stores in the Czech Republic now.

c This is revealed by Nielsen Admosphere’s monitoring which calculates covered media space in combination with the price list costs rather than showing real advertising spend. The result is called the pricelist value of advertising space. The actual drop may be higher this spring, press publishers talk about up to 70%. The decline was caused by limitations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Pricelist value of advertising space, in CZK billion
January-July 2019 January-July 2020 Difference

Rounded. Excluding companies’ own advertising. Source: Nielsen Admosphere

In July, TV grew by 2% (in June by 4%) following the decline in April and May. In the first half of the year, TV was up 4%. Press, radio and outdoor advertising stopped the recent fall of tens of percents and grew year-on-year in July, albeit by single percents.

Pricelist value of advertising space, in CZK billion
Media type July 2019 July 2020 Difference

Rounded. Excluding companies’ own advertising. Source: Nielsen Admosphere

Retail chains Lidl and Kaufland remain to be the top advertisers with the Sazka betting office squeezing in between them.

Top 10 advertisers by pricelist value of advertising space, July 2020

In CZK million. Rounded. Excluding companies’ own advertising. Source: Nielsen Admosphere