Posting in Technology
Nielsen discloses 2% fewer households own TV sets. Is it the economy, or a shift to computers for information and entertainment?
There's been plenty of discussion about the rise of social media over traditional television networks as a conveyer of breaking news. Now, there is news that the actual number of television sets themselves within US households has begun to decline.
The New York Times cites a report from the Nielsen Company, which estimates that 96.7% of American households now own sets, down from 98.9% previously. Ninety-seven percent is still pretty high, but a drop of two percentage points is notable. The market research company surveyed 50,000 households.
Why? Two theories: economics, in which low-income households cannot afford the digital sets or converter boxes required to receive signals; or the fact that many people are turning to their computers for entertainment.
Nielsen says the economic factor may make sense, since television set ownership also dropped in 1992, immediately following the recession of that time.
But the shift to online viewing can't be ignored. Nielsen has additional research that confirms the growing shift from traditional television viewing to online activities, or part of what it calls "time-shifted" media.In fact, they estimate that in January 2011, the month the survey was taken, 143.9 million Americans viewed video online.
Traditional TV versus the Web isn't an either/or proposition, of course. "The audience overlap between visitors to network and broadcast media sites and social networking & blog sites is significant," Nielsen reports. "In January 2011 alone, 49 percent of social networking & blog site visitors also visited TV network and broadcast media sites."
If this trend continues, it will mark a shift unthinkable at any time in the past half-century: an actual decline in the number of televisions. But no one could have imagined the decline of landline phones either. And, importantly, information and entertainment is still being consumed, just via a greater variety of devices.
May 5, 2011
If you are in tough economic times, or, young and just starting on your own, it is not the cost of tv that limits you. Most broadcast tv is difficult to receive in many locatons without special antennas. Cable is the only alternative, which is getting more expensive all the time. You have a HD TV? That will be an extra charge. You want Hi Def? That will be another extra charge, plus a one time fee to turn it on. A cable box costs, a DVR box costs even more. That said, most household, except older people, have gaming systems that use a TV. The point being some young people may not associate their LCD TV with Television, but a gaming system or a movie system.
As has been said already, it's programming and not economics. CABLE - Channels Abound But Little Entertainment. Watch the People That Voted For Obama video. They didn't know who Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, or Harry Reid were, and they thought the Republicans ran Congress. This is speculation on my part, but I suspect they knew who won American Idol. They certainly knew more about Tina Fey than they did about Sarah Palin, and they knew more about Sarah Palin than they did about Barack Obama. One exceprt - "Did you vote for Obama because he's Pro-Life or because he'll continue the war in Iraq" Answer, "Oh, pro-life definitely".
Simple answer...lousy programming. I have cable that provides 60 viewable stations and 40 music stations. I watch 8 stations and no music stations. Of the 8 watcahables 3 are news, 1 weather, 2 sports and 2 general interest. The rest of the programming holds absolutely no interest for me. I kick myself every time I turn the beast on for being dumb enough to even have a TV set, pay for cable every month and waste so much of my time when every single thing on TV plus a pile of other interesting reads is available in the daily newspaper for about 1 buck. One last bit of info. Every and I mean every type of media is little more than an advertising tool. TV is probably the worst with anywhere from ten to twenty minutes of every hour geared towards selling you something. The media moguls learned this a long time ago but the guy on the street is still in the dark but TV is not about the programming, it is about advertising!
....at least in the way suggested above. Televisions have never been cheaper; with brand-new flat-panel TVs now being sold for less than $200, perfectly serviceable used tube-TVs can be had for a few dollars to free. And the government gave away TV converters for free. My guess its because computers and mobile electronics are making TVs redundant for a new generation of media consumers.
We're a disconnected family...no land line, no satellite or cable TV, but yet we're more connected than ever through Web and mobile. The total bill is higher, so the economic value to someone is even greater, but can't be measured in the traditional ways. With the exception of a Laker game (and that maybe be resolved very shortly), we don't miss anything and actually have more time and less of a schedule dictated by the outside World.
My only wish is that I could purchase my cable programming a la carte, and only pay for the dozen or so channels that I actually watch out of the 100-some-odd other channels of psychic waste that I am forced to subsidize. Every time the rates go up, I get a bit closer to killing it and going all over-air and Internet. A few years ago, media mogul Barry Diller wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, stating his belief that traditional broadcast media was dead, and it was his goal to see it replaced with a monetized pay-for-all-content model. What Barry doesn't get is that most of what is spewed forth on broadcast TV, cable & satellite is total crap, and the only reason people consume as much of it as they do is because it's basically free. Start charging for it all on a program level, and you'll find that there will be a relatively small audience for a relatively small portion of it. It will be a very shallow demand curve indeed. Seriously, would "Two and a Half Men" still be the #1 show on TV if people actually had to shell out money for it? But then again, they fight a la carte tooth-and-nail, so perhaps deep inside they do get it...