The Paradox Of Broadcast Television In The 21st Century

May 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Internet TV, Video

One of the paradoxes of new media is that, even as people are spending more time online, even as they’re finding time to Twitter, even as they’re watching 50% more Internet video, people are watching more TV than ever.

How is this possible? Everybody’s online all the time now. When do people find time to watch four or five hours of television a day?

A new study by Solutions Research Group (SRG) suggests that people may have the TV on more than ever, but are actually watching it less.  Broadcast television is taking the place of radio as the soundtrack to other activities.

According to SRG Women and Digital Life report:

  • Fifty-eight percent of American women say they are spending more time with the Internet.
  • 38% say their spending more time with TV.

But, while statistics show that women have the TV on more, they aren’t watching it.

“How women are watching television provides some clues as to what is going on,” notes the report. “Ambient video entertainment is now everywhere, with TV providing the background to most activities.”

Multitasking with a laptop or wireless device is now commonplace as more women have one or both devices: half of women with laptops say they have their laptops with them ‘almost always’ or ‘frequently’ when watching TV in the evening. Another 18% use their laptops when watching TV in the evening ‘occasionally.’ In addition, 52% say they are using their wireless device while watching TV at least occasionally.

TV is more likely to be “in the background” for women 25-39 (64%) and moms (65%). And considering the amount of multitasking with laptops, it’s not a big surprise that even favorite shows are watched with only partial attention by some—52% agree that “they usually pay full attention while watching their favorite shows” but 28% disagree and 19% are in between.

The television is on, but no one’s paying attention

How long do you think it will be before advertisers catch on to this? And when they do, broadcasters face the same sort of carnage that’s happening in the newspaper industry?

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2 Responses to “The Paradox Of Broadcast Television In The 21st Century”

  1. msbpodcast says:

    I have a niece and nephew in the Dallas Fort Worth area who have a different TV in every room of their house and outside on their deck, that’s on and tuned to a different station.

    But they’re not at home most of the time because they need to work and the kid needs to go to school.

    Hope that is not too common ’cause there go the ratings…

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