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Omicron is not engaging TV news audiences

Publisched on
January 10, 2022

Remarkable data from smart TV analytics platform Samba TV suggests that, just as cases caused by the Omicron variant spike, TV news audiences are weary of the whole subject. Samba TVs analytics capabilities are built into smart TVs and can be mapped to other screens. It creates content recommendations for viewers while offering data and metrics to content creators and advertisers.

The Omicron data comes from monitoring audiences for the three main U.S. cable news networks, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. The metrics show the greatest audience reach for the November 2020 election, but also spikes in viewership coinciding with the pandemic’s onset, last winter’s spike in cases and the Delta spike in late summer (comparable with the spike of interest that coincided with the Black Lives Matter protests in summer of 2020).

Read next: 2022 predictions on CTV and cross-channel advertising

Although numbers of Omicron cases have outstripped those caused by earlier variants, audience reach across the three channels has remained essentially flat from October 2021 through the beginning of January 2022.

Graphic courtesy SambaTV.

Why we care. There are a number of things to care about here, from that exponential leap in cases at the right of the above chart to the depressing sense that even cable news viewers can’t take much more news. But there’s a reason marketers should care too. Slowly but surely, audience analytics for smart TV are catching up with analytics for the rest of the digital eco-system. Smart or connected TV may not be the whole solution for addressability in the post-cookie world, but it’s set to be an important part of it.

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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