Monday, May 12, 2008

EW survey reveals interesting TV-viewing trends

Today's includes the results of a study by Entertainment Weekly about TV viewing habits. The big news is that technology isn't having as big an effect as might be expected. For example:

Just 1% of people say they "most often" view TV by downloading or streaming shows...60% percent still watch their favorite shows live, while 14% watch their favorites later that week and another 9% watch later that day.
This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that they're hankering to see commercials. About two-thirds of those surveyed stated they preferred product placement to traditional ads. But before you go throwing all your ad dollars into product placement, keep in mind that only 3% said that it works.

Perhaps the most interesting finding, however, was what happens to all those recorded shows:
Fully 31% of people with digital video recorders say they watch "none" of the shows they record, the survey found. Maybe that's an echo of the Netflix effect, in which Netflix members clog up their queues with movies they think they should watch, like "Citizen Kane," instead of movies they actually would watch, like "Bad Boys 3." Maybe everyone is Tivo-ing "John Adams" while they actually gather around "American Gladiators."
My take is that all of this is another example of how we perceive that continuing to do something inconvenient is less inconvenient than changing our behavior--even when that change would provide significant benefits. Sites like, for example, provide many of the same advantages as live TV, but with significantly fewer interruptions. But because they're competing against decades of learned behavior, they're going to take a while to catch on.

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