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2016 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report—Winter: TV News, Sports Dominate among Drivers of New Vehicles

2016 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report—Winter: TV News, Sports Dominate among Drivers of New Vehicles

By Joseph Dobrian, January 27, 2016
News and sports—both live on TV and streaming online—remain the most popular programs among new-vehicle drivers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing ReportSM—Winter. The report indicates that drivers of new vehicles consume news and sports programs at rates similar to those in 2015, and, thus, sports programs remain a popular destination for auto advertisers.

The report, which J.D. Power has conducted since 1987, provides a comprehensive strategic perspective on the factors that influence new-vehicle purchases, as well as attitudinal, lifestyle, recreational, and media consumption behaviors.

Drivers of new vehicles most frequently choose news and news-related TV programs (46%), followed by sports (42%), sitcoms (33%), and drama (28%). Among new-vehicle drivers, 64% use streaming video services such as YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. Drivers younger than 35 are far more likely to use streaming video services (92%) than those between the ages of 35 and 54 (79%) and 55 years and older (49%). Nearly half (47%) of new-vehicle drivers use their DVR to record programs and fast-forward through commercials.

“Sports may be one of the last remaining juggernauts in broadcast advertising, because it is the type of programming that people have a tendency to watch live,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive, J.D. Power. “That is why automakers place so many commercials during sports programs—people are watching live and are likely to see the ads.”

The report measures new-vehicle driver interest in 23 sports. Of those surveyed, 42% watch professional football, followed by college football (29%) and baseball (20%). Drivers of U.S. domestic brands—specifically, drivers of Cadillac, Chrysler, and Ram vehicles—tend to watch pro football more frequently than drivers of Asian or European brands. Sargent noted that a 30-second advertisement on upcoming Super Bowl 50 may cost advertisers as much as $5 million.

“The Super Bowl is unique in that a large portion of the audience watches as much for the commercials as for the game itself,” said Sargent. “Many of the more memorable commercials we’ve seen during previous Super Bowls have been from automakers.”

Key Findings
  • Magazine readership has increased in the past year, and new-vehicle drivers spend an average of 13 hours per week on the Internet for personal use and 19 hours per week listening to radio.
  • Owners of certain vehicle brands are more attracted to certain types of TV programming than to others. For example, Scion and Mitsubishi drivers tend to watch adult animation shows; Porsche and Jaguar drivers prefer financial programs; and Chevrolet and Jeep drivers tend to favor reality/competition shows.
  • The top favorite regularly scheduled TV shows among new-vehicle drivers are "The Walking Dead," "NCIS," "The Voice," and "The Big Bang Theory."
  • New-vehicle drivers between the ages of 35 and 54 (54%) and those reporting a household income of $100,000 or more (57%) are most likely to fast-forward through television commercials.
  • Magazine readership is up, with new-vehicle drivers reading an average of 7.9 magazines, compared with 7.6 in 2015. Drivers of premium-brand vehicles read more magazines than drivers of non-premium vehicles (9.2 vs. 7.7, respectively), and women read more magazines than men (9.0 vs. 7.1).


About the Study
The 2016 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report—Winter is based on a nationwide survey of 27,308 principal drivers of recently purchased or leased new vehicles. The report is based on owners who acquired their vehicle between May 2014 and April 2015.

Additional Research:

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