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Published 7/29/2022

By Kimber Stewart and Grace Thoen

This month, we set out to better understand how summer seasonality impacts media trends. To ground us in the last several years (which have been unique media years to say the least), it is worth noting that overall time spent with media increased during the pandemic and has remained high, slightly leveling off over the last two years. Media usage was already trending toward a higher share of digital tactics prior to the pandemic, which persisted during the pandemic and onward. This trend is primarily driven by streaming, mobile usage, and other internet-connected devices. Opportunities continue to grow within digital streaming such as OTT/CTV and podcast usage space.

Nielsen recently posted an article about streaming’s share in summer reporting a slight decrease in broadcast and cable viewership with a slight increase in digital.  Consider this in tandem with “time spent” trends of streaming and connected TV in the eMarketer report. From this, we notice a clear pattern forming: The sweeping shifts of media usage year after year are rippling out into typical seasonality trends with traditional television and radio remaining stagnant during summer months while the popularity of digital streaming continues to grow.

TV viewing levels are usually higher during spring and fall, driven by the presence of first-run programming in non-summer months, seasonal sports broadcasting, and less favorable weather. Consumers also catch up on streaming content in the fall by “binging” episodes since streaming platforms tend to release high-profile titles during the summer (Stranger Things for example).

In summary, summertime marks a slight lull for traditional television and it could be an inflection point for the adoption of expanding streaming platforms.

Takeaway: This research reinforces why brands should continue to invest in the full funnel approach. While there are measurable micro-impacts to channel usage during each season, maintaining a diversified approach year-round allows for opportunities to create a touchpoint across the full reach of the funnel. This tactic ultimately moves each individual consumer through their unique consideration journey.

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