AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerWhere Did Nearly 100,000 Viewers Go?

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TV Viewership

Where Did Nearly 100,000 Viewers Go?

In 1996, I left a great job at KWWL because the entrepreneurial bug bit me. I have saved the Nielsen ratings books from 1996 when we started the agency and was looking through them the other day. I had remembered some of the ratings and shares, but I had forgotten the high number of real people.

TV ViewershipIn 1996 (M-F average), there were 92,000 people watching KWWL for the 6 p.m. newscast. KCRG had 69,000, and KGAN had 38,000. That is nearly 200,000 people watching news at 6 p.m. in Eastern Iowa. Some 20 years later (2020 May Nielsen), KWWL has 50,100, KCRG 52,400 and KGAN 11,300.

We know there has been an erosion in numbers of people watching broadcast television, but where did the nearly 100,000 people go? I’m guessing all over. They are on the internet live streaming, shopping on Amazon, interacting on social media (predominately Facebook), watching 200 different cable or satellite TV channels, and they are going to their children’s soccer games. (There are many more athletic and school activities that are running into the evening than in 1996.)

So is broadcast TV still a good media buy? Absolutely. Where else can you consistently reach a concentration of 114,000 people in a market with a single message and at the same time? You can build 100,000 views for a YouTube video, yet many of those views will be from outside the market and those viewers will take a lot of time and effort to build in a midsize market area.

Where did nearly 100,000 viewers go? All over. With more choices for our attention, all media is diluted. Yet TV is still a powerful medium with a large concentrated audience.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.