From somewhere out there in the
sticks… Mario was chatting with a
dog-walking buddy one day recently,
when said buddy advanced the opinion that
nobody watches broadcast television, or apparently
cable television, anymore.
Said buddy watches series programming
on DVD, and that is apparently the extent of
said buddy’s television viewing, at least to
hear him tell it. And he seems to think he is
typical. Well, Mario ain’t so sure.
Is said buddy typical? Don’t bet on it.
Has everyone abandoned broadcast TV and
cable for online viewing? Don’t bet on it.
From some recent news items we learn
that although the investment community
thinks broadcast TV is going away, there
is still growth occurring in the industry,
based on advertising revenues. Local
broadcast television is the historic cornerstone
of television viewing in these United
What does local broadcast television
still have that no other video medium
has? Local content, of course. Mario knew
you knew that.
LOCAL, BIG EVENTS
Local broadcast television also brings its
viewers some other highly valued content,
thanks to the affiliated broadcast networks.
Mario refers to “big event” programming,
such as the Olympics.
As we are aware, in addition to
broadcast and cable, much 2012
Olympics coverage was available
According to a report by
the Pew Research Center
titled “Eight-in-Ten Following
Olympics on TV or Digitally,”
for the period of Aug. 2–5,
2012, 73 percent of respondents
some Olympics coverage on
television; while 17 percent
reported watching some
Olympics coverage online
or digitally, and 12 percent
reported following some
Olympics coverage on social networking
sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Television,
broadcast or cable, still looks pretty dominant
Not surprisingly, the younger the respondent,
the more likely online and social
media were to figure into the equation.
About 31 percent of those aged
18–29 have followed Olympics
coverage on social networking
sites, as opposed
to 11 percent of those
between 30–49, 6 percent
of those 50–64,
and just 2 percent
of those 65 and
rules, even among
younger viewers. And,
online and social networking
appear to be
supplements to television
viewing, as 79 percent
of those following
the Olympics online
or on social networks said they were also
watching coverage on television.
Nor is Olympic coverage the only bigevent
programming. Far from it. Let Mario
call the reader’s attention to such extremely
popular events as the Super Bowl and the
Academy Awards? Or the plethora of college
and professional football games, baseball
games, and all the other live sports available
on television? Very little of this kind of
programming is available online. Why? Well,
for one thing, it’s expensive to produce. For
another, online does not provide the big audiences
required to amortize the costs.
What’s happening in online advertising
anyway? Online advertising forecasting
firm EMarketer recently lowered its outlook
for online ad-spending growth from
17.7 percent to 16.6 percent. Still a healthy
growth forecast, to be sure, but a little bit
Looks like the business outlook for many,
if not most, media outlets is growing, if only
by single digits, but we still, of course, have
the analog dollars/digital pennies phenomenon,
which might be restated as the television
dollars/online pennies phenomenon.
So as Mario said previously, don’t count
television, even old-fashioned broadcast
television, out just yet.