A Random TV Thought

This tidbit crossed the wires here at the world headquarters yesterday and I want to bring it to your attention:

A new study from Altman Vilandrie says just 1/3 of 18-34 viewers in the U.S. now watch TV during normal broadcast slots, preferring instead on-demand programming via Netflix and Hulu. The study also makes a connection between increased control over when video is watched to how it is watched with nearly 1/2 of respondents saying they prefer smartphones to TVs.

“Oh sure – another TV death story,” you think.  Probably not – a lot of the content on Nextflix and Hulu comes from the TV nets who are actually more than just distributors these days.  But it brought to mind Internet Explorer, the web browser with a 90+% market share at one point which is now down substantially thanks to the growth of Firefox and Chrome.

It’s also interesting that the broadcasters are increasingly relying on retransmission consent fees (payments cable guys make to carry the broadcast networks as they do true cable nets such as ESPN and Discovery) as the means to growing revenues and profits.  I think they’re entitled to every nickel but I also think the mentality of making those forecast numbers while not aggressively figuring out how the changes in consumption among young folks the above study highlights can be a dead-end.  Ask Microsoft’s browser team.

I have many friends at the nets who are working on that.  The issue is that they seem to be divorced from the day-to-day operations of the television networks themselves, and in some cases they’re perceived by the network folks as a threat.  They’re not, although they reflect the threats that are out there.

I find myself using the DVR a lot more as well as Hulu and Netflix, the latter across several devices, which I find an astonishingly good experience.  It’s always been about the content and long ago, as Jack Benny, Milton Berle, and others migrated from radio to TV, the technological channel became secondary.  Here we go again!

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