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United DMAs of America

One of the great enduring ideals that we hold about ourselves as Americans is that we are One. However, that’s just not entirely true. “One nation” is true – we all stand up for the same flag, struggle to hit all the same notes in the same national anthem, recite the same pledge. But in a practical sense, “America” is a very personal concept. It’s even right there in our name – the United States of America. We’re really a collection of localized differences.

There’s very little that’s unanimous about media, either. So it should come as very little surprise that Americans tend to use media differently depending upon which DMA they happen to live in. The demographics, economies, and social behaviors vary too greatly from market to market to make media “one size fits all.”

In their 2Q 2011 “Cross-Platform Report”, Nielsen shines a spotlight upon some of the differences in media behaviors that exist among people from the top 25 DMAs. Some are fairly intuitive – the fact that Los Angeles has the most Hispanic TV households, for example. Others, however, are somewhat enlightening:

  • Dallas-Ft. Worth is tied with Houston for the youngest TV household median age. It also has the highest DVR penetration.
  • Pittsburgh is tied with Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne for the oldest TV HH median age.
  • Miami has the highest mobile phone penetration.
  • Los Angeles has the highest percentage of Mobile Video users.
  • Minneapolis is somewhat split – on one hand, it has the highest A18-54 cross-platform behavior (TV viewing with web surfing), but it also has the most broadcast-only homes.

For an advertiser, the ability to recognize that these local distinctions exist will allow them to leverage these behavioral nuances on a market level. Without considering local usage trends, they sacrifice their potential to maximize spot market deliveries that might be lost by relying upon a national medium.

Like everything else, media has its own quirks, customs, and accents depending upon where you are. Local broadcast TV’s advantage lies in its ability to speak to consumers in their own uniquely local way – on air, online and on-the-go. It really is the United DMAs of America that you’ll find here – one similarity with many differences. And because we are a nation of nuances, that’s where the brilliance of local media truly shines.

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