Advantages & Limitations of Television as an Advertising Medium
Television advertising is an exciting medium to showcase your products and services. It reaches people in their homes, and engages sight, sound and emotions. Yet, it has disadvantages, too. Producing a commercial is a huge commitment of time, resources and funds. Carefully weighing the pros and cons is important in deciding if television advertising is right for your business.
Television is the whole package as an advertising medium. It's visual like print advertising, and auditory like radio at the same time. While a newspaper or magazine must be picked up and its pages turned for an ad to be seen, television reaches out to its audience whether they want it to or not. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 95 percent of people age 15 and over watch 2.8 hours of television every day. That adds up to a huge captive audience that allows advertisers into their homes on a regular basis.
No other advertising medium reaches as wide an audience as television. While fewer people are reading newspapers and other periodicals, nearly every U.S. home has at least one television. With the aid of media representatives, it is also possible to target your ad to a specific audience by advertising on certain channels -- such as those watched by teens, preschoolers and their parents, or the golfing set. It's even possible to book time for individual shows and specific times of the day. Television ads can also be put onto television stations' websites to reach those who increasingly receive their news through the Internet.
The biggest disadvantage of television advertising is its cost. To a small business, the cost of advertising can seem prohibitive. It's expensive to produce a television commercial properly, including having a professionally written script, believable actors, experienced directors, and top production facilities. When advertisers try to cut corners in cost, the resulting ad's poorer quality is obvious, and can be more detrimental than helpful in the long run by causing potential customers to change channels and even avoid the company's products. In addition, ads need to air repeatedly to be noticed and remembered, and the more air time you buy, the more it costs.
Another major disadvantage to television advertising is how difficult it is to accommodate changes. Once a commercial is made, changing products or price points requires scheduling another shoot, hiring actors and directors again, and arranging for the production venue, a coordination process that can take weeks or months from scripting to final editing. Making such changes is costly, too. It is significantly more difficult to change television ads than print ads. Then, since television is such a high-profile medium, changes are much more obvious to viewers than in print media -- which can be positive or negative, depending upon how well the changes are received.