A new poll shows that only 46% of respondents watch what’s known as linear television, or live television as it airs. As supplements to television, a majority of the 4709 polled have added DVR-watching and streaming services of various kinds. This change of behavior is seismic — a sea change in just a few years of habits formed over seven decades.
While the way we consume content has dramatically changed, old habits die hard when it comes to the type of content consumed. Current-season TV shows remain the favorite type of program to watch, no matter on which device. But 37% US adults are also using online services to revisit shows that are no longer on air or past seasons of current shows.
The rise of online video among the youngest and steadily more influential generation of viewers could read like the script of a disaster movie for broadcasters.
Though the study doesn’t seem to touch on the subject, my guess is that a lot of this has to do with wanting to avoid commercials. Which is why I’m not sure I buy this:
Once more broadcasters change their commercial model to reflect consumer behavior, they will increasingly sell ads based on target audiences, offering more packages that spread across many different screens, rather than just booking airtime around specific shows.
The DVR is all about skipping over ads, whether targeted to the viewer or not. Except for Hulu Plus, the beautiful thing about the biggest streaming services is that there are no ads whatsoever.
The reasons to flee appointment and cable television grow by the day while the reasons to stay decrease.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC