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. However, 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 designed to appeal to selective audiences (e.g., TV shows geared to specific interest groups). Despite these efforts, television remains an option that is best for products targeted to a broad market.
The geographic scope of television advertising ranges from advertising within a localized area (e.g., small town) using fee-based services offered by cable and fiber optic services, to advertising nationally using major broadcast networks.
Television advertising, once viewed as the pillar of advertising media outlets, is facing numerous challenges from alternative media (e.g., internet, mobile networks) and from the invasion of technology devices, such as digital video recorders (DVR), that have empowered customers to be more selective when choosing advertisements to view. To combat this, many networks and local television stations now accept a broader range of advertising (e.g., 15-second ads, 30-minute infomercial).
Yet for marketers, one of the key concerns with television is that it lacks effective response tracking. This has led many marketers to investigate other media outlets offering stronger tracking options. In response, some cable and fiber optic services are experimenting with interactive advertising that enables viewers to gain more information on a product presented in an advertisement while marketers can collect data to measure customer response.