Getting off the couch

BLOGGER: JEFF BARAK

If you’re an American pay-TV provider, what do you want first: the good news or the bad?

The good news is that nine out of 10 American households have a TV subscription with operators like Comcast, AT&T, Dish or DirectTV, and that they get plenty of use out of it. In fact, according to the latest Nielsen report into US viewing habits, Americans are watching around four-and-a-half hours of television a day.

The bad news is that younger generation (the under 35s) is watching slightly less television (we’re talking an average of nine minutes a day) than they did last year.

While it’s too early to be ringing the alarm bells ‒ and increased television viewing by the over-65 age group is keeping the overall figures constant ‒ consumer behavior is definitely changing as the younger generation becomes more comfortable with viewing content over their smartphone and tablet than in front of the living-room TV.

The challenge for operators will be to make sure that they stay relevant for this younger generation. They can do this by packaging the over-the-top services young adults have become accustomed to on their mobile devices with their television experience (for example Comcast’s partnership with Skype to bring video chat services on their TVs), and by ensuring that the content they broadcast is watchable on any device, anywhere, at best quality.

As television viewing begins to move off the living room couch, pay TV providers will have to move with it if they are to keep their 90 percent hold on American households.

One Comment

  1. Raffi Davidow
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Very good food for thought… Good article.
    My little 3 year old is less interested in watching TV (especially with adverts) and more interested in watching what he wants, when he wants it either on my PS3 or his “iPet” (which is what he calls my iPad).

    An idea would be to make the content a little more interactive (for example on Diego Or Dora when they ask a question – have the ability to recognize the device type and if possible allow the kid to enter his choice before answering) and then sell these off as downloadable license (like an app but example you pay 25c to buy a Dora episode instead of getting it free with your monthly sub from Netflix).

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