Recession Likely to Boost TV Viewing, Opines Deloitte

22 January 2009

LONDON: 'It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good,' to quote the old sailing metaphor - a view also advanced by the London office of global business consultancy Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu regarding the recession's beneficial effect on the UK TV industry.

And, if Deloitte's right, that effect could extend to TV worldwide, an unexpected benefit arising from the wreckage wrought by the global banking Mafiosi. 

Dusting down the firm's crystal ball for 2009, Jolyon Barker, head of Deloitte's technology, media and telecommunications practice, reveals: "This year's predictions show there could be a silver lining to a recession, if you are in television." 

His rationale? Viewing hours tend to increase in lean times as consumers stay at home, and are likely to be further boosted by the UK's phased region-by-region digital switchover.

The report notes that UK television viewing hours were already rising in the second half of 2008 and are projected to rise by an additional thirty minutes per viewer per week in the year ahead. 

And it also challenges the conventional wisdom – fuelled by Internet Advertising Bureaux' inspired worldwide PR – that Web 2.0 and user-generated content are set to usurp adland's crown.

Au contraire, believes Barker. Professionally produced rather than user-generated content is coming back into fashion, both online and in broadcast. 

Nor is it the ephemerality of fashion that might consign user-generated content to the trashcan of history.

The coup de grace will more likely be administered by the cost of storing data, estimated to soar beyond $100 million (€77.34m; £72.01m) annually for some of the main social media sites.

The British TV industry should seize the opportunity to "put some distance between itself and other media", the report advocates, urging investment in content, contracts, and updated infrastructure. This  funding should continue through 2009 despite the economic downturn.

Internet radio will continue to prosper, with audience growth of 20% predicted for this year, thanks to the spread of broadband and the increasing affordability of internet radio sets.

The growing use of wi-fi enabled smart phones will also contribute to radio listening growth.

And although global advertising revenue is in double-digit decline, the ubiquity of mobile phone handsets and a more mature understanding of mobile advertising is forecast to buck the general  trend.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff