Gone are the days of your parent’s youth when the family gathered around the TV screen glued to every second of programming while they consumed still partially frozen dinners.
Today not only is the food better (thank goodness) but the television viewing experience has dramatically changed.
Television viewing is now fragmented on many levels. First of all, you can watch television from a variety of sources including the old standards of broadcast and cable. You can view it live or at your leisure using your DVR. If you still need more content to watch, you go to your set top box and search out VOD (video on demand). Still not enough options? You can go to a network site online and watch past episodes of your favorite shows. Just can’t find anything good to watch? Tap into Netflix or Hulu and select from their vast libraries. Don’t forget, you can still keep watching when you’re on the move on your mobile device.
Not only do we have more options to choose from but today’s television experience can best be described as an event fraught with distraction. According to one recent study, approximately 60% of television viewers use their phones while watching television. More than 30% say they use a computer while watching TV. How many just sit there and watch with no distractions? That would be only about 6%.
A better picture of today’s family viewing would be Dad checking his fantasy football team on his computer, Mom calling her Mom on her cell phone, daughter texting her friends (or boyfriend, yikes) while the son is gaming on another screen. All this is happening while the TV is on.
Viewing options have increased and serious viewing fragmentation is obviously here to stay. The real challenge for television networks and their advertisers is to use this fragmentation to their advantage and ensure all messages are consistent across all the new platforms. Developing better channel integration will allow for more direct connection with viewers on multiple screen fronts. It won’t be easy but the impact could be lasting.