Is TV Dying? Does Anyone Care?
If cable television died would anyone care? Recent stats show that over the past few years there has been a sharp decline in the number of new cable TV subscribers, and more and more individuals are abandoning their current subscriptions altogether.
Jim Edwards wrote an interesting article several days ago detailing this shift away from cable and even broadband, with a large number of individuals accessing video content on their smartphones through utilizing free wifi.
He begins by explaining the current state of cable television;
“Aside from a brief respite during the Olympics, there has been only negative ratings growth on broadcast and cable TV since September 2011, according to Citi Research.”
This is not a promising report. It shows what many have known for some time, but cable executives have been in denial over.
So what does this mean for video content producers? It simply means that we need to find different avenues to reach these audiences. The decline in cable viewers does not mean that those audiences are done with video content. On the contrary they actually crave video content more than ever. They just do not want it in a traditional format.
“We’re at the beginning of a major historical shift from watching TV to watching video — including TV shows and movies — on the internet or on mobile devices.”
Why should we be told when to watch a particular show, when we can watch it online at any time that is convenient to our individual schedules. This is one of the reasons for the change, because our societies and thus lives have changed over the past decade, therefore our access to entertainment needs to adapt as well.
The move from cable to digital format (mobile, computer and tablets) is not only based upon scheduling but also location. With smartphones we can now watch our preferred content anywhere we are. It doesn’t matter if you are on the bus, at a coffee shop or waiting in line somewhere, content such as YouTube videos are very accessible and convenient to watch. With the way modern lifestyles are, and the fact that more and more video content is being reduced to several minutes in length, it is no wonder why 40% of YouTube traffic coming from mobile devices. It is easy, quick and always accessible.
While companies have known about this shift away from standard cable viewing to digital devices has been happening for some time now, the investment in ad dollars for digital versus cable hasn’t transformed the way one would expect. There is still more ad dollars pumped into commercials for cable TV then there is for marketing in the digital sphere. This is something that needs to be investigated and changed otherwise there will be missed opportunities.
One of the major reasons this is occurring is because even though TV audiences are declining, it is still a place where companies can reach a mass amount of people. In the digital sphere there may be larger audiences but they are currently more segregated and have thus proven difficult to reach. There are so many different avenues, due to different platforms, different social sites, and different devices. Due to this, there is no one ‘tried and true’ method like there was with cable TV. Advertisers need to be innovative and find interesting ways to reach these audiences, ways that have never been done or even thought of before.
It is quite clear that unless drastic measures are taken to make cable TV more accessible to the digital culture we now live in, it will slowly die away or at least, like radio, have much less of an impact on society and thus the ad dollars that it brings in.
Tells us what you think! Do you still watch cable TV? Would you be mad if it disappeared, or would you just turn to your phone or tablet for your video content?