Broadcast is Your Dad’s Medium

SAN FRANCISCO: Cue the Teletype; this just in: Old people watch more broadcast TV than whippersnappers. Internet TV viewing has doubled in the last year, and at least 500 folks plan to buy a 3DTV set in the next three years.

So says three-year-old “Peanut Labs,” an outfit that “connects researchers to social media.” Peanut connected Altman Vilandrie & Co. of Boston with 1,000 people in July for a video-consumption survey. They found:

- Broadcast TV viewing is age-related; 42 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds watched TV shows daily during normal broadcast times, versus 60 percent of those 35 and older.

- 16 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds watch full episodes of broadcast TV shows on the Internet daily, versus only 6 percent of those 35 and older. Overall, 10 percent of survey respondents said they watched full TV episodes on the Internet daily versus only 5 percent in a similar 2009 study.

- More online TV watching has not yet translated into cord-cutting. Just 3 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds have canceled their cable service. However, 25 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds “seriously considered” dropping subscription TV service because the Internet provided sufficient viewing opportunities.

- Despite Internet video viewing and potential cord-cutting, younger people preferred HD just as much not-as-young people. Spending levels on TV service is a significant driver of HD interest. The highest-spending segment was twice as likely to say they were “tremendously” bothered by a lack of HD, than as the lowest-spending segment.

- Interest in 3D is high across all segments. Of those who have seen movies in 3D, 34 percent agree that 3D is “significantly better,” and more than 50 percent plan to purchase a 3D-capable TV set in the next three years.

- Mobile video usage has grown significantly since 2009, with 13 percent of 18-to-34 year-olds viewing video on a mobile phone daily versus 5 percent in 2009.

Peanut and Altman Vilandrie drilled further into demographic details, living situations, spending levels and so forth--with an eye toward pay TV providers. Another research firm yesterday revealed that pay TV providers lost subscribers in record numbers during the second quarter of this year. SNL Kagan, the long-established market analysis concern in Monterey, Calif, said cable alone lost 711,000 net subscribers in 2Q10. Not because of the Internet, but the economy.

Altman Vilandrie’s Jonathan Hurd said pay TV opportunities remained.

“While the study shows the rumblings of seismic shift in consumer video preferences, there are clear opportunities for cable and satellite providers to differentiate versus online video alternatives,” he said. “Providers that can be nimble in adopting mobile video, 3D and other innovations will stem potential defections, especially among younger consumers.”

-- Deborah D. McAdams

August 23, 2010
: “SNL Kagan: Pay TV Subscribers Dwindle”
People abandoned cable TV in record numbers during the second quarter of 2010, according to analysts at SNL Kagan.