Television advertising offers the benefit of reaching large numbers in a single exposure. Yet because it is a mass medium capable of being seen by nearly anyone, television lacks the ability to deliver an advertisement to highly targeted customers compared to other media outlets. Television networks are attempting to improve their targeting efforts. In particular, networks operating in the pay-to-access arena, such as those with channels on cable and satellite television, are introducing more narrowly themed programming (i.e., TV shows geared to specific interest groups) designed to appeal to selective audiences. However, television remains an option that is best for products that targeted to a broad market.
The geographic scope of television advertising ranges from advertising within a localized geographic area using fee-based services, such as cable and fiber optic services, to national coverage using broadcast programming.
Television advertising, once viewed as the pillar of advertising media outlets, is facing numerous challenges from alternative media (e.g., Internet) and the invasion of technology devices, such as digital video recorders (see more on technologies impacting advertising see the Advertising Tutorial), that have empowered customers to be more selective on the advertisements they view. Additionally, television lacks effective response tracking which has led many marketers to investigate other media that offer stronger tracking options.