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British viewers to watch 1 trillion TV adverts in 2012

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UK viewers are expected to watch almost a trillion television adverts in 2012, with the average person seeing 49 ads per day, according to new research.

In a report coinciding with the start of the Edinburgh TV Festival, Deloitte said that TV advertising has made the greatest impact of any medium in 2012 for the fourth year in a row.

The research indicated that 57% of viewers rated it as having the biggest impact on them, ahead of newspaper ads (15%), magazine ads (13%), search engine links (4%), website banner ads (3%), and mobile apps (1%).

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Using data for the first quarter of 2012, Deloitte calculated that TV viewers in Britain will watch almost a trillion ads this year.

This breaks down as 49 adverts watched on average every day, although that does not include fast-forwarded ads, those watched by under 4-year-olds, or online video advertising.

"The UK's willingness to consume adverts in such quantities and advertisers' continued eagerness to invest billions in TV advertising perplexes many commentators," said Paul Lee, director of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte.

"Some regard the traditional TV advertising model, based on the 30-second spot, as fundamentally broken.

"Deloitte's view, based on our research, is that the traditional TV advertising model is neither broken nor breaking. It has, for the fourth year running, maintained its ranking as the advertising medium with the greatest impact and by a clear margin.

"Advertising is multi-faceted and every campaign will have a different objective. At present there is no equivalent for companies to promote a new brand, product or service quickly and reach consumers across the UK."

Deloitte and GfK's research indicated that 17% of people had bought a product they had seen advertised on TV, while 16% had discussed an advert with other people also watching the programme and 16% had talked about the ad the next day.

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However, in homes with personal video recorder (PVR) services such as Sky+ or Freeview+, 80% of users said that they chose to watch recorded programmes as it allowed them to skip through the adverts.

But one quarter (27%) of 16 to 24-year-olds said that they stopped fast-forwarding if they saw an advert or trailer that interested them.

Deloitte said that the appeal of television advertising may drop in future. Among the 19 to 24-year-old age group, 56% of respondents felt that it had the biggest impact, compared to 63% in 2010.

Overall, the 57% of UK adults who felt that TV ads had the most impact was down from 58% in 2011, and 64% in 2009.

"The likeability of TV ads may dip over the next 12 months, partly due to the state of the economy. TV advertising's ability to entertain is a function of marketing executives' ability to sign-off budgets," said Lee.

"A big budget does not guarantee the popular appeal of an advertising campaign, but it can help secure the best directors, writers and acting talent as well as the most impressive visual effects and sets.

"In challenging economic times, companies may focus more on the tactical, manifested by a skew to promotions-based adverts and they are not as palatable in large doses."

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