How has your own television viewing changed over the years? Do you usually watch shows on your TV itself, right when they come out? Or do you watch shows on another device, after their release at a time of your choosing?
Recent years have seen a shift in the way that people take in their favorite media. In 2013, for the first time, more people reduced/eliminated their TV packages (21%) than increased them (19%). Most cited traditional TV’s limited use and its rising costs as being major factors in their decision to switch away from their old services.
The shift away from traditional TV reflects many broader trends in what is available and what people want in a content-delivery system, opening up many opportunities for new services to thrive.
What is changing?
Mobility. The old vision of the television as being the entertainment hub for a household still holds true, but a growing number of people are taking advantage of the flexibility provided by laptops and mobile devices. According to “TV and Media“, an Ericsonn report, “Since 2012, the average consumer globally has increased their viewing on mobile devices by 4 hours a week, while their fixed screen viewing has declined by 2.5 hours a week. This means that today they spend an extra 1.5 hours watching TV and video than they did 4 years ago.”
Scheduling – A majority of media viewers are now subscribed to some sort of Video On Demand (VOD) service. Some users still watch programming on fixed schedules, supplementing this with flexible VOD viewing, while other rely on VOD services entirely. Either way, the flexibility afforded by VOD services is tremendously attractive.
Multi-tasking – With the flexibility of space and time provided by mobile devices and VODs, many people are finding uses for programming that doesn’t involve focusing on them, putting shows on as background noise while doing things like cleaning their space, answering emails, surfing the web, or posting on social media.
User-Generated content – The rise of streaming video services, from YouTube to Facebook Live, has opened the door for the users of these services to generate content themselves. more people are watching content produced and distributed by non-professionals. According to the Ericsonn report cited above, viewing of short video clips produced by users has almost doubled over the past half-decade.
What is staying the same?
Cable bundle profitability – the continued presence of bundled, linear, fixed-time programming is easy to explain: it continues to make money. Until that changes, the old system will likely survive in some form or another.
Reliability of traditional cable – what it lacks in flexibility, traditional cable makes up for in reliability. Content is streamed consistently and in HD, something that can’t be guaranteed with newer methods of streaming.
What do people want?
Consumers want a lot of things – they want ad-free viewing, HD quality, a la carte content, simplicity of use, and reliability. The shifting media landscape means that they can actually get a lot of these things, meaning that the term ‘consumer’ is no longer entirely accurate. What we have instead is the rise of the ‘prosumer’, a user who mixes and matches the services they use to get the exact content they want in the exact way that they want it.
Finding the best way to give the prosumer all of those things is a very challenging – and very profitable – endeavor indeed.