To subscribe to the monthly C&E email newsletter and event announcements click here.

From social media and smartphones to TV and streaming, there’s no question that screens are an integral part of people’s lives. The real question advertisers should be asking is which screen is the best means for brands and politicians to effectively reach consumers?

While many in the tech industry will undoubtedly say that digital platforms – due to their popularity and rise in prevalence – are the best way to reach audiences in 2017, the statistics say otherwise. Many studies show that TV still remains the dominant platform, and there are plenty of reasons why.

The reason advertisers consistently look to TV to deliver their messages is simple: no other media platform can compete with TV’s reach and influence. Consumers spend more time with TV than any other medium according to Nielsen’s Q1 2017 Total Audience Report. The study shows that adults 18+ view video for almost five hours a day on a TV, compared to 19 minutes on multimedia devices.

A 2017 GfK study of the impact of advertising on purchase behavior cites TV as the most important influencer at all stages of the consumer purchase funnel – from awareness to making a purchase. That’s greater influence than all other media platforms combined – including for 18-34 year olds. And TV’s purchase influence doesn’t stop there – 65% of consumers said TV ads have influenced their online searches, according to the study.

Advertisers have begun to acknowledge and publically vocalize their growing discontent with digital’s unreliable ROI, measurement and problems with fraud. Many advertisers have been shifting their money from digital back to TV: “What savvy marketers are really doing is shifting their spending to reflect a better understanding of what drives actual purchase behavior, not just what ads get the most views,” said Andrew Appel, president and CEO of retail and CPG consultancy IRI.

Even companies firmly entrenched in the digital realm recognize the potency of TV. According to Kantar Media, Between October 2015 and September 2016, Google put $270.4 million into ad spending, and 68% of that was on TV.

Advertisers are also becoming acutely aware of consumers’ trust in content, and the impact content perception can have on advertising. The CMO Council conducted a survey of 2,000 consumers and found that 75% of them are worried about the growing number of fake or biased news sites, while 60% said as a result they are consuming more content from trusted sources and channels. Consumers also lost trust in brands that advertise near objectionable content; 37% say it changes how they think of the brand when making a decision to buy, 11% will boycott or not do business with that brand and 9% will be vocal and complain or raise issues about this.

According to the 2017 Purchase Funnel study conducted by GfK, local broadcast TV news is the most trusted source for news – 81% of consumers consider local broadcast news to be the most trusted news source and 68% trust news from local broadcast TV websites and apps. Social media was the least trusted at 40%.

TV has earned consumers’ trust over the span of decades – and the numbers prove it. Combined with its unparalleled reach, it’s easy to see why advertisers are second guessing their digital ad spends. Within the fragmented digital media landscape, transparency and effectiveness are increasingly questioned. Research shows that digital media platforms don’t even come to close to TV in terms of purchase influence, reach, time spent and trust. While we continue to add new technologies to the media mix, one thing remains certain: TV is not going anywhere anytime soon.