TV: Same As It Never Was

628736088It’s hardly a breakthrough observation that the nature of TV viewing has changed dramatically. As a child of the 60s, I remember watching our black & white TV, with the Mediterranean cabinetry naturally. TV was all “appointment viewing”, though no one called it that. You knew when the Man from UNCLE, Bonanza, Ed Sullivan etc. were on. And sports were far more limited though I remember watching my Yankees back then regularly on Chanel 11. BTW, home NFL games for the local team were blacked out. Even into the 70s TV was still dominated by 3 networks (PS: It’s a hoot to see Elvis’ TV room at Graceland where he had 3 TVS—and shag carpet– so he could watch all the networks simultaneously)

Fast forward to today, the impact of technology has decimated appointment viewing except for the highest rated live events, and the nature of what one views is not dictated by “the networks”, broadcast or cable. This is a bigger issue than DVR time shifting, the key phenomena of last decade.

In fact, the more recent explosion is in streaming. Nielsen, the ultimate voice of all issues video and audio, recently issued a report, the Nielsen Total Audience Report February 2020: The Streaming Wars Edition. Here’s what Peter Katsingris, SVP Audience Insights said:

“Make no mistake, the proliferation of on-demand streaming services is the most profound media disruption of the last half-century. And this disruption is driving real, actionable opportunity across all facets of the industry. Direct-to-consumer streaming hasn’t just changed the way consumers engage with, choose, and pay for content. It has also upended the type of content they yearn for, lean into, and champion. Streaming video and audio has altered deeply ingrained habits and helped prompt consumers to do something unfathomable just a few years ago—expand their time spent with media.”

According to Nielsen 19% of Total TV usage was streaming in the 4th quarter of 2019, and the trends are increasing rapidly. And which streaming platforms?

1) Netflix - 31%
YouTube - 21%
Hulu - 12%
Amazon - 8%
Other - 28%

Furthermore, the Number of paid streaming video services according to Nielsen was increasing particularly among younger viewers.

1) Zero - 8%
One - 32%
Two - 30%
Three plus - 30%

And 93% of viewers planned on an increase or no change in their streaming viewing, so the beat goes on. Furthermore, it’s clear these numbers will be increasing based on new streaming platforms:

1. Disney+

2. HBO Max (Warner Media)

3. NBCU (Comcast)—Peacock

Of course there’s not a unlimited appetite for streaming and consumers will hit the ceiling in their willingness to pay for multiple streaming services. But TV has changed forever. Same as it never was.

PS: Watch Hunters, new series on Amazon Prime Video. A must see. And love their ads using song Psycho Killer from the Talking Heads.

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