When I was a boy, my parents said I was watching too much television.
And the people I now know who were ten years older than I, or for that matter, ten years younger, might say the same thing about their parents. Actually, until perhaps the last decade or two, television ruled, certainly among adults, but even among many children.
The kids are the trend-setters here. They were into the new technology first.
But new data indicate that adults in the US spend nearly four hours a day on their mobile devices.
Let’s put it another way: Americans spend more time on their cell phones and their tablets than watching television.
As recently as last year, a typical adult was spending more time watching television than looking at his or her phone or tablet.
And five years ago, the gap of TV over mobile devices was two hours daily!
Anyone in advertising remembers when Arbitron (radio) and Nielsen (television) were key — with their ratings that determined advertising rates, and the life or death of radio and television programs. They were dominant. No longer.
And, to reiterate, among younger people, the gap of mobile device over television is larger and growing.
Why is all of this happening?
Because with streaming services, the viewer picks what he or she wants to watch, and when. Whether it’s Amazon or Apple or Netflix or others, the investment is in steaming platforms.
Why is all this important?
Because it points up the very rapid change not just in technology, but in what happens because of the technological change. Smart phones do more and more, usage costs decline relatively, and the whole media production industry is also geared to streaming.
You hear all the talk about concentration of power, and the need for anti-trust and to regulate. Well, I’m old enough to remember in the US the “big three” ABC, CBS, NBC. Where are they now? And where are the big three in the auto industry – -GM, Ford, Chrysler? And what about the giant motion picture studios in Hollywood that supposedly dominated movies? We nowt only have all the independents (“indies”). Now we have Amazon and Netflix and others producing movies and series,.
As for Amazon or Netflix “television” — they don’t cater to advertisers who look for ratings. Instead, they need material that will keep their members or add to their roster of members.
The world is changing, more rapidly than we know.