What’s your favorite television show? The answer may not be so straightforward, unless you’re like me. I have one favorite: Top Chef. But I’ve got another five or six shows that I
enjoy when Top Chef is off the air, plus another 10-to- 12
shows I try to watch if I don’t have other plans.
And then there is the uncounted number of shows I
might watch if all I had was time. That list grows just about
every week. My wife and I will have dinner with my son
and daughter-in-law, or friends, and they’ll tell us about the
newest shows they found on HBO, Showtime, Hulu, Netflix,
Amazon Prime, or Amazon Fire. You get the idea, right?
Of course, none of this includes live sports. I watch live
baseball. (Yes, I am old school.) Also hockey and basketball
— and, of course, college and NFL football.
So my one simple question has a long, complex answer
that gives rise to other questions, including:
; How much TV can you realistically watch?
; How do you decide what to watch live vs. DVR or
; What impact does on-demand have on what you
watch and when?
; How much does content quality play into your view-
The parade of questions could be endless, but my space
is limited. My point is that legitimate, high-quality video
content is widely available — so much so that I don’t think
there are enough hours in a day to
watch everything that captures my in-
terest. And I’m just one old-school guy
who watches a fair amount of TV —
but less than nearly everyone I know
and far less than some of the daily and
weekly averages I’ve seen quoted in
various trade publications.
The picture, forgive the pun, gets
even murkier when you consider that
even better-than-average content is
available virtually everywhere, at any
time, online or from mobile apps. And
it isn’t necessarily tied to satellite or
cable, even though either of those services may be the gateway necessary to
accessing a lot of anywhere TV.
So we have some really interesting
dynamics at play here: virtually un-
limited high-quality content — available live, time-shifted,
or on-demand, from a cable or satellite box, over-the-top
(OTT) device, or mobile app. Never mind all the subpar
video that eats up even more viewing time. With all these
possibilities, combined with the limited time we have avail-
able to actually watch, we’re left with the reality that people
are making some significant viewing choices.
It’s in examining these choices, and understanding de-
mographics, that TV/video entertainment gets kind of fun.
Brand managers for key consumer products such as soda,
chips, beer, and fast food will tell you that consumers form
brand preferences in their teens (or earlier) as long as they
understand the messaging. It’s with that in mind that I can
categorically state that;for the time being, linear TV remains
the best place for you to spend your ad money and realistical-
ly have hope for a positive return-on-investment (ROI).
Linear TV’s decline has been slow and incremental —
not a steep free-fall. That could change, and likely will, not
long from now. It would be a simple function of demographics and how today’s youngsters are taught to consume video
entertainment. They will, on some level, follow in the footsteps of their parents — as much from force as desire — with
more radical departures likely to happen as they enter their
tweens and teens. I’ve seen it happen — first with myself,
then with my son, and now with the young but growing kids
of my friends. It’s inevitable.
That poses some significant challenges for ad agencies
and brands in trying to predict where to place media for maximum efficiency and effect — not so much for today as for
next year, two years, and five years down the road. Our mission isn’t to gnash our teeth at what’s coming; it’s to invent
strategies that assure the success of our clients, no matter
what media we’re choosing for them.
That requires brainpower, education, and training. Our
industry needs intelligent, well-educated people who possess
the ability to think critically, ask the toughest questions, and
seek answers that will provide our clients with maximum
value — no matter whether it’s from broadcast, cable, satellite, OTT, apps, or online.
Think back to 1992, when Bruce Springsteen wrote and
recorded 57 Channels (and Nothin’ On). I bet you laughed at
the reference to 57 channels; I did. Now think about where
we are today, and you’ll recognize the shift that’s coming
tomorrow. We’re confronted with more than a thousand
options and are responsible for helping our clients navigate
through these waters to safety and a positive ROI. ;
So Many TV Choices,
So Little Time
By Peter Feinstein