39 Percent

There are days when I’m really glad that I no longer work in the traditional TV business. I mean, what business (perhaps other than music) has been so thoroughly disrupted? A statistic I came across reinforced that notion:

photo by autowitch on Flickr

photo by autowitch

“Watch a show live when it is first broadcast” placed at #1 among favorite ways to watch TV; and viewing “live when broadcast” accounts for 39% of all time spent using TV content.

That is from a study from GfK MRI called TV Share Of Clock. You can get more information about it here. I came away with one thought: I sure as heck would not want to be a programming chief these days. After all, their mission is to generate large numbers of viewers to their programming. That programming used to have a few major competitors and now there are many more. Even when we exclude niche websites that deliver video, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and others comprise stiff competition.  The study reveals that 41% of TV viewers are “Digital Enthusiasts,” who subscribe to at least three digital TV services online, as well as maintain a traditional pay TV subscription.

Think about that 39%.  I wonder what the number would be if you excluded live sports and local news?  Probably quite a bit lower.  When a quarter (28%) of all TV viewing is now done via digital streaming, it’s impossible to think of the TV business in traditional terms.  This quote from a GfK MRI executive sums it up:

We live in a new type of video ecosystem, where online video and live TV co-exist amongst traditional cable offerings, apps, and digital streaming of live TV. These platforms are creating added demand for one another; viewers are checking out more – and different — content, and ultimately watching more. Even digitally savvy viewers still value time-honored TV experiences, like social viewing and second-screen experiences, thus keeping linear viewing strong in today’s digital world.

Read between the lines.  A business model built on selling advertising and charging distributors for the privilege of carrying widely viewed programming is in serious trouble.  Even ESPN is losing subscribers – almost unheard of until you begin allowing people who don’t care about sports the freedom of choice.  If you’re reading this and smirking, don’t.  This will happen to your business as well.  The world’s largest hospitality company doesn’t own a single room; the world’s biggest taxi service doesn’t own a vehicle; and the world’s largest retailer has no stores.

How are you making plans for when 39% of your users are what’s left?

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Filed under Reality checks, Thinking Aloud, What's Going On

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