Having moved into our second suburban house a year or two before – this one an old farm-house – I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as the movie told the story of how a little crack in a wall is the first sign of a much bigger problem to come.
I thought of that as I read the latest version of the Nielsen Cross Platform Report. You can read it for yourself here and see if what I’m about to discuss reminds you of the same thing. Nielsen found that TV viewing hasn’t dropped much from last year at this time. In fact:
In Q2 2012, Americans spent more than 34 hours per week in front of a TV set. We watched traditional TV, DVDs and played games. Most of the content from these activities was delivered to us on the TV set in a traditional manner, over broadcast, cable, satellite or telco connection, and a growing amount was delivered by Internet connection. Americans also added another 5 hours in front of the computer screen using the Internet or watching video content.
No cracks there. Except as I read through the report, a couple of things stood out. First, Nielsen estimates tablets are in 20% of homes and rising. Close to 40% of Americans who have them now use their tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day. They’re still watching even if their attention is now shared. Crack?
Here is something else. The amount of time spent watching traditional TV is substantially lower among people under the age of 35. Those under the age of 25 watch roughly 22 hours a week while those over 50 watch twice as many hours. The missing hours are spent watching on game consoles and mobile devices. Given the desirability of the younger demos to marketers, this might be another crack in the house of traditional media.
Finally, the number of cord-cutters (homes with broadcast TV only and broadband internet), while still tiny (5.1 million homes) was growing while cable and broadband subs were shrinking (80 million to just under 78 million). That kind of reminds me how we used to view cable TV‘s small audience gains in the early 1990’s while we, the big broadcast TV networks, had huge viewership. That was a crack in the wall then, just as this might be now.
We’re still in that farm-house home, many repairs and a lot of money later. The big media businesses aren’t going anywhere, but they might need to be thinking about the repairs to come. The next few years will be interesting as they patch all the cracks.
How have your viewing habits changed? What does that imply for your marketing or for your business?