As the country begins to open up, so do Podcasts!

  • Up 4% for downloads and 3% for audience compared to the previous week.  
  • 4th consecutive week download growth has been flat or positive, and 5th consecutive week that audience growth has been flat or positive.
  • Podcast streams and downloads during peak weekday morning commute times were down an average of 16% for the week of May 11-17 compared to the week of March 2-8 across all Podtrac measured podcasts. 
  • On Saturday May 16 the peak hour was up 18%, and for Sunday May 17 the peak hour was up 27%.
  • Top Genre Categories: News continues to excel; Sports trying to recover; and Society and Culture continue to take the biggest hits.
U.S Weekly Downloads and Audience
U.S Weekly Downloads: Top Categories
U.S Weekly Downloads: All Genres


Nielsen: Connecting TV and Social Media in campaign performance is more important than ever

  • Not only are people consuming more TV, but now they are having more conversations about the programs they watch on Social Media
  • Total volume of TV and COVID-19-related conversations, on Twitter alone, reached nearly 9 million since the start of 2020 in the U.S.—a staggering 40X increase
  • 588% increase in Social TV Activity comparing Spring 2019 and Spring 2020 for Children and Family Movies
  • Interestingly Spanish-language entertainment is down 23%, but Spanish-language News & Talk is up 71%


Number of TV tweets mentioning COVID-19 or Coronavirus
Volume of Social TV Activity: Spring 2019 vs. Spring 2020
Volume of Social TV Activity: Spanish, Prime Talk and News
Volume of Social TV Activity: Children and Family Movies, Streaming Services
Shows Sports Fans are tweeting about during the pandemic

COVID-19: Why TV Ad Spend Will Fall. Sports and Political Ad Spend.

eMarketer: Why TV Ad Spend Will Fall. Sports and Political Ad Spend.

  • Previous reports called for a 2% increase in TV Ad Spend for 2020. Now, experts are estimating a 22.3% – 29.3% DECLINE in TV Ad Spend first half of 2020.
  • Political ad spend will be on hold in 2Q20. Candidates don’t want to be seen as being insensitive campaigning during the pandemic.
  • No Sports Content. Professional leagues have cancelled or suspended season.
  • Kantar estimated March Madness, the NBA playoffs and the NHL playoffs collectively accounted for about $2 billion in TV ad revenues last year.
  • NBCUniversal reported advertiser commitments for the 2020 Olympics amounted to about $1.25 billion and Moffett Nathanson Research estimated losses to ESPN, ABC and TNT ~$700 million due to the NBA season cancellation.
US TV Ad Spending, H1 2019 & H1 2020
US TV Ad Spending Growth, 2019 & H1 2020


Changes in Audience Trends for Adults 55+

iSpot COVID-19: Adult 55+ Audience Trends

  • The 55+ demo is seeing the most reach during Primetime on the 4 major broadcast networks (NBC, ABC CBS, FOX).
  • Of these top performing broadcast networks, NBC Primetime is the top performer for the 55+ demo with 35% segment reach in comparison to FOX which only saw 24% reach within the segment.
  • Of the 4 major broadcast networks, ABC is seeing the largest increases in WoW Average Time Viewed.
  • In particular, the Late Fringe PM daypart led with a 31% increase and Early Morning (+17%) and Overnight (+15%) followed.
  • Fox News Daytime is a strong performer among the 55+ demo, ranking top 10 in reach while seeing the second highest Average Time Viewed (115 min) and a 10% increase in WoW viewership.
  • While Fox News Daytime appears to be increasing in WoW viewership, CNN Daytime should also be monitored as it’s seeing the largest WoW increase in viewership (15%) compared to other cable news networks on any other daypart.

iSpot: Top 20 National Cable Networks by Adults 55+ Viewership

iSpot: Top 20 National Cable Networks by Adults 55+ Viewership

COVID-19: Is Podcast listenership up or down?

Podtrac: Podcast consumption is changing too. Adjustments to media placements are critical.

  • Podcast streams and downloads during peak weekday morning commute times were down an average of 29% for the week of April 13-19 compared to the week of March 2-8 across all Podtrac measured podcasts.
  • Weekends: On Saturday April 18 the peak hour was up 9%, and for Sunday April 19 the peak hour was up 20%.
  • Top Genre Categories: YTD Biggest hits in Unique Weekly Audience are Sports and Society and Culture. News peaked week of Mar 9.
  • All Categories: 4 of the 5 last 5-weeks have shown positive growth in the Fiction category of Podcasts.
Podcast: U.S Unique Weekly Audience: Top Categories
U.S Weekly Podcast Downloads: All Categories


Comscore: Surging levels of COVID-19 TV coverage driven by diverse audience

  • Several key age ranges are showing significant year-over-year viewing increases, with 18-34 up 38 percent, and 35-54 up 35 percent
  • Viewing among Hispanic households is up 42 percent, while viewing inAsian households increased 62 percent.
  • Analysis is Broadcast Television viewership and does not include OTT
TV Viewing Increases in Average Audiences by Age
TV Viewing Increase by Household Income
TV Viewing Increase by Ethnicity


This year, I attended the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas. This conference gave “Money Revolutionaries” the opportunity to meet and discuss many challenges, including the following.

Creating Momentum

The major insight I extracted is how difficult it is to communicate brand appeal in the financial Industry because let’s face it, mortgages, loans and account services apps aren’t as enticing as the material presented in the entertainment or travel industries. Additionally,the industry uses very specific lingo that may not be easy to understand for the common customer. Because of these two obstacles, the concepts involved aren’t typically appealing throughout the digital/social media ecosystem.

But what’s the solution to this? TV advertising, of course! And we have three very clear reasons to believe it.

First and foremost,these “Money Revolutionaries” need to face their traditional competitors within their branding realm with a big brand-awareness push, getting the message out to the massive audience and there’s no other medium that could offer such speed and scale than digital and of course TV.

Secondly, we know that the synergy between DRTV campaigns and download rates is strong without high ad spend.  Based upon the likeliness of the target market being a multi-screen user, the call to action response is more viable when the TV ad airs while having a mobile device in hand. These results are also more measurable. Having DRTV and Mobile within the marketing mix is simply a no-brainer.

Third, consumers have been losing the trust in the banking and financial sector throughout the years, and TV has been the king of media in relation to trust, giving these digital products/services the sense of reality.These new technology service providers offer new ways to manage finances, meeting the consumer’s needs and desires and moving away from the tarnished reputations of the “bad banks.” This evolution, or shall we call it FinTech Revolution, should be massively televised to build up trust!

Finally, the “cherry on top” for the FinTech data-rich and data driven industry, is that DRTV campaigns can be measured, analyzed and optimized as the “digital revolution” has brought to the marketing/advertising basics.

So for those Financial brands looking to create momentum, don’t wait anymore and contact us now! We will get your product/service where the high street banks are.

Sandra Valencia – Managing Director

Does your creative pass the Mute Test?

A lot of time is spent behind the scenes coming up with great ideas for TV spots: internal brainstorming meetings, long calls and presentations with clients, focus groups, scripting, various rounds of revisions…. the list goes on and on.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a fun process, even one of the main reasons I originally got into advertising. And, it is a vital process to make sure companies are putting the best product in the market to lure consumers into buying/interacting with their brand.

Unfortunately, many times, creative teams (and clients) get too caught up in the stories and aesthetics of the spots that they forget one simple element: Does the spot pass the Mute Test?

The mute test

The mute test you ask? That’s right! At the end of the day, your TV spot and/or video must pass the test! Why?  Because after all that effort, time, and money spent producing the spots, you need to make sure that, even with the volume down, viewers understand who you are (brand), what the story is about, and what you offer. Remember, viewers may be at home with their TV muted during the commercials, watching it on Social Media with their volume muted (default for most platforms), or at a bar or restaurant watching sports where, in most cases, only one game has the volume playing, and/or the crowd is so loud viewers may not hear the spot anyway.

Furthermore, it is crucial that your spots pass the test because you are paying for the media placements and impressions.  So instead of “wasting” those media dollars with spots that may not get your message across, make the necessary adjustments to deliver the best spot the first time.

Here is the test:

  1. Ask a person to watch your video for the first time
  2. Mute your volume
  3. Play them your video
  4. Ask them:
    1. What was the spot about?
    2. What was the brand?
    3. What product or service was offered?
  5. Publish or revise as necessary


An easy fix? Supers. Good ’ol supers that help tell the story; supers that highlight the main points of your message, and that are designed within your brand guidelines.

Then, put it to the test one more time.  Passed?

Want to learn more? Let’s talk! Contact us at



Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

How to Reach the Wealthiest Demographic: Television

Silent Generation

We see it and hear it every day, how do we reach Millennials? They consume media differently than other generations. But as you research how to target this generation, you may be missing out on what the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance states is wealthiest demographic with 23x the net worth of Millennials and 1.3x as Boomers. This wealthy group are the 75+ age bracket largely made up of the Silent Generation.

And this demographic is spending their money. A recent TD Ameritrade survey reported that grandparents spend an average of $2383 annually on their grandchildren and according to the Kenan Institute, Americans age 65+ are now more than twice as likely to be caring for a non-elderly family member.

So how do you reach the wealthiest demographic spending money? Linear Television. Adults 65+ continue to spend more time on linear platforms than digital. According to Nielsen’s 1st Q 2018 Audience report, 7:24 hours is spent per day watching Live-Time Shifted TV compared to only 2:28 hours on digital platforms (this includes TV-Connected devices such as DVD, Internet Connected Device and Game Consoles).

If you still are thinking you don’t need to target the wealthiest demographic, there are recent key findings on why television is vital for all demographics:

  • People are 44% more receptive to television advertising compared to 27% – 24% on digital advertising (online display, online search and video) according to Kantar Millward Brown August – November 2017 survey
  • Television is more effective than online banner ads in driving consumers to search, 57% versus 36%, according to a 2018 Nielsen report
  • 37% of the 11:06 hours of the daily average time spent per adult 18+ to connected media is being consumed on Live TV based on 1st quarter 2018 Nielsen data

Television continues to be a vital part of building brands, just ask the online retailers Purple Mattress, Adore Me, Uber and Stitch Fix who are now household names.

Want to learn more? Email us at and let’s connect!


Photo by Marisa Howenstine

Optimizing the Relationship Between Client and Agency

Optimizing Client Relationships


As it is often said, over a lifetime you end up spending more time with those you work with than your immediate family. Sigh. And just as those relationships with individuals you are related to via birth or marriage are not always a walk in the park, the most successful and satisfying unions get through difficult phases because they are built on trust, prioritize integrity and at the end of the day there is a general affinity for one another. Work relationships aren’t much different, trust, honesty and a general likability are all important – check, check, check.

Sometimes, however, you need to dig deeper – particularly when that relationship is between a client and an agency. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of the client-agency dynamic is a scene from the movie, Jerry Maguire and a related catchphrase and no, not “Show Me the Money!” (please). It’s, Help Me…Help Me Help You! So, with Cameron Crowe as my muse along with some help from Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. I offer up 3.5 ways a client can help their agency help them…


  1. Share as Much Data, Metrics and Company Information as Possible

Everyone can appreciate the value of information in this atmosphere where data is king, and analysis is critical. Most clients do endeavor to provide the key facts and figures to make the necessary decisions related to their campaign. That said, I would also encourage clients to provide some of the information that is beyond the database. Anecdotal, qualitative and industry stats can really provide needed context for the current campaign and inspire new recommendations for the quarters to come.

  1. Encourage and Facilitate Testing

As a media agency with decades of experience across multiple channels, we can certainly bring to the table a variety of scenarios to predict how your campaign will respond…but it will never be as accurate as a well-constructed media test. Testing can be considered a luxury because of the inherent uncertainty and the fear of wasted money. But when thinking long-term, in the end testing is a valuable tool that can set the foundation for a productive profitable roll-out. Testing also should remain part of the media strategy. New media opportunities worthy of testing are emerging at an accelerated rate due to the convergence of traditional and digital medias. Testing new platforms positions your company for future growth often at an efficient cost.

  1. Establish Boundaries with Respect to Budgets and Timelines

“Setting boundaries” is a term frequently used when discussing the management of relationships because it’s important to know where you stand. In this case I would like to encourage boundaries when it comes to the finite elements in a campaign – especially budgets and timelines. Budgets are admittedly hard to determine when it comes to media because there are so many different options to consider. For this reason, it’s vital to provide a construct, even if it is a broad range of what is affordable now. Scale is always an option. Additionally, having a sense of timing is key. What is your company’s business cycle? When would be the ideal time to launch a marketing initiative? What are your creative needs and how long will it take to craft a message that resonates with your customer? Answering these questions will significantly improve the development of a detailed and robust advertising strategy and plan. Without these guidelines, the resulting media plan can lack focus and end up generating more questions than answers.

       .5 Ask Questions and Push for Answers

I deemed this only a “.5” on this list because of course you know that asking questions is critical to a successful relationship, so why bring it up? Because many times there is not only a single answer in this complicated media space and when both the client and agency are collaborating and pushing to dig a little deeper – it’s amazing how this push and pull can lead to innovative solutions to what was originally thought to be a common question…and that’s when you feel good about your day as you head home.

At Modus Direct, we are lucky to enjoy some of the best client relationships in the industry.  Many of our clients have been with us for several years with a few closing-in on a decade and (by the way), that’s when we opened our doors. This list was compiled by thinking back as to how our clients have helped us become a better agency – and they certainly have, and we are grateful. When you are in a great relationship – everyone wins.

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