We may all be addicted to our phones, and we surely have NO IDEA how that is changing our cognitive functions, our relationship to our community, let alone how it will reshape our relationship to content in a long-term way. But here is something we do know, especially around Super Bowl time: TV delivers big numbers and big money, fast.

Consider these observations (made using data from iSpot.tv):

Half a Billion Online Views: SBLIII advertisers generated 74 million online views across YouTube and Facebook for the 93 ads, 54 brands that appeared during the game. And then you factor in all the ads, pre-teasers, and campaigns advertisers generated close to half a billion online views (491.9 million); 250.3 million of which were organic on YouTube.

That’s a huge organic haul, especially if you sell chips, soda, tax software, etc. When else are you ever going to get people to want to click on and watch your ad on a phone, tablet or desktop? You’re not, except in the two-week window when people are thinking about and for some reason open to, ads as entertainment.

Then, the context of TV happens, CBS delivered more than 10 billion TV impressions. That’s not estimated reach that considers co-viewing, that’s the number of times an ad popped on a TV screen. In 3 hours. That’s around 78 million ads per TV set, per customer, for 30 seconds for $5.2 million.

And while people would clearly rather watch movie trailers, ads for Hulu, XBOX or a sensory video for Michelob on TV (as so many did after it aired to experience it again), CBS delivered an egalitarian opportunity for those doormat companies that also made a calculation that it’s somehow worth $5.2 million bucks for 30 seconds of 100 million people’s time. OK!

Oh but that’s the Super Bowl you say? Advertisers are still getting millions of TV exposures every day for far cheaper, spread across the top 100 linear channels. But perhaps not in the right, younger demos.

But what about the shift?

While Jason Stein can put the Netflix vs TV and recent coverage of You by NYT in sharp and undeniable terms when he tweeted:

“‘You’ premiered on Lifetime. It averaged 650k viewers per week in September. It was canceled. ‘You’ was immediately picked up by Netflix. It was watched by 40m households in the first month. In case you still had questions about the future of TV…”

Taking the data above, I do still have questions about the future of TV, lots of them.

  1. As device-obsessed, mobile-native generations are formed what chance at attention do advertisers have when the TV is not on? No one is clicking those ads. Except once a year.
  2. Can the influencer economy make those TV-like numbers?
  3. Can premium content ever shed itself of advertising entirely when there is $76 billion worth of commercial pressure demanding it?
  4. Is highly perishable TV the only way to get viewers to deal with ads?
  5. How does OTT advertising help solve these problems and does it?