I saw two articles in the last day that might not seem to have much to do with one another but in my mind point to the ongoing changes in the media world.
The first is from the Gartner folks along with IDC and it’s their quarterly report on PC shipments. Not surprisingly, the numbers aren’t good. They are reporting around an 11% decline in shipments which continues a downward trend from last quarter. There are a number of reasons to which analysts attribute this trend but the one with which I agree the most is the thinking that we’re now consuming media mostly on tablets. PC’s are something that are used for heavy lifting – video editing, lengthy writing, spreadsheets, etc. Families aren’t buying multiple units for the home any more (at one point we had four PC’s here for school work, business, and leisure usage among the family).
The second piece has to do with cord-cutting and comes from the folks at eMarketer:
Research company GfK surveyed US households with TVs and found that in 2013, 19.3% of respondents had broadcast TV only and did not subscribe to any pay TV service. That’s a 37.9% increase from 2010 when only 14% of households shunned pay TV services and relied solely on broadcast TV…The study suggested that while wider online video viewing and more internet-connected TV options may have boosted cord-cutting, basic cost savings is at the real heart of the move toward broadcast-only TV. The study found that 60% of those who cancelled their pay TV service cited cost-cutting as the reason.
I disagree with the notion that it’s the cost alone. I think it’s more the cost/value equation (the expense to get the programming live vs. the cost of other sources on a delay) coupled with the wider penetration of tablets as cited in the first piece. The market favors tablets over low-end computers, content producers are doing a better job of populating that channel, even to the detriment of their traditional distributors, and the business model (selling ads against an audience that’s viewing simultaneously) has been seriously disrupted.
I’m watching to see who moves to accept the new world and who denies that things are moving. It’s sort if a climate-change analogy in my mind. You can deny it right up until the ice pack mets and floods you out or you can take preemptive measures and move to higher ground. Which are you doing?