Every time a new study comes out and it shows some erosion of share of broadcast or cable TV, we get hysterical headlines about the death of TV.
In fact, what is changing is not consumer behavior. What's changing is what we call it.
Consumer behavior has been remarkably stable -- sadly, we're all still sitting in front of a screen watching mostly crap for 5 hours a day. But these days we call some of it live viewing, some of it streaming, some of it time-shifting, and some of it OTT (Over The Top) viewing.
There are so many new ways of delivering crap to a TV, that we are confusing the delivery systems with the behavior.
I was at a conference recently where I heard a great quote, "TV isn't dying, it's having babies."
Although live TV is still hugely dominant, the incremental growth of new forms of video delivery are continuing to have two effects: 1) over the past few years people are watching more video than ever, and 2) live TV's share of total video consumption is declining.
Nielsen released its Total Audience Report for the 4th quarter of 2014 a few weeks ago and here are some charts I made that give you a quick snapshot of what's going on.
While the definition of what it means to "watch TV" keeps changing with each new video delivery system, it's interesting to note that among the four video options in the above chart, 96% of video viewing was done on a TV, 4% was done on a web device.
One of the very interesting things in the report is the extent to which mobile devices are surpassing time spent with "traditional" online devices, i.e., computers.
The fact that mobile time has increased 60% compared to "traditional" online time is very conveniently ignored by the online ad industry and agency doofuses. Of course, if TV was dropping in proportion to mobile as quickly as traditional online, we'd be hearing even more hysterical cackling about the death of TV. But no one talks about the "death of online."
Despite the erosion of viewership because of the proliferation of new "pipes", live TV and radio still crush time spent with online devices.
Since Nielsen released its Total Audience Report a few weeks ago, they also released another report called, Nielsen Television Audience Report. Here's a graph from that report that gives you some idea of how ridiculous the "TV is dead" knuckleheads are:
In fact, households with televisions have grown by 15% since 2000, when the digi-doofuses starting declaring TV dead. Additionally, the average household now contains, on average, more than 3 TV sets.
There are so many new ways of delivering video, that the language of what used to be "television" is now impossible to keep up with. It seems like every day new pipes, new arrangements, and new set-top boxes are making video delivery astoundingly confusing.
It's been 15 years since we started hearing the nonsense about the death of television. And yet every company in creation is now scrambling to own a piece of the TV pie.
Over time, TV's new babies will mature. Some will survive and some will die. While the business models of today's broadcasters and cable operators will certainly be challenged, consumers will not be abandoning video programming anytime soon.
Consumers will continue to consume video, and there will continue to be plenty of opportunities for advertisers.
People love television -- regardless of how it is delivered or what we choose to call it.