I’ve just come across a survey carried out for Belkin, the maker of various computer and device accessories, that says that among 18 to 34 year olds, only 30% of them expect that the TV in the living room will be their prime source of news and entertainment this year, quite unlike the majority of Americans and particularly older ones. (Among all of us, 49% this year still expect to rely on what has unaffectionately been called the idiot box.)
I know you haven’t done a spit-take upon reading that news. It’s not news, not in the least, that younger media consumers are doing a lot of that consuming on laptops, tablets and smartphones, maybe even in inverse order of how I just listed them.
The news might be how younger consumers are not very sure that even a laptop has much security on that lap in the future. In this survey, 38% said they’d consider replacing their laptop with a tablet in 2013.
But that trend, or pre-trend or whatever, isn’t exclusively a young thing: among consumers 44-54, a significant 33% said they would consider swepping the laptop for a tablet this year. Almost a quarter of them say a smartphone, tablet or laptop is how they expect to get most of their news and entertainment in 2013, not wildly less than the younger users.
This has obvious ramifications for online video marketers, particularly as tablet and smartphone sales continue to rise, and OTT devices and enabled TVs gain a foothold in the market. We rapidly are coming to a time that it will be imperative for online videos —both in content and advertising—to work well on various screens, on various operating systems without a lot of pushback. Particularly for ad messages, there must be marketing strategies that address how viewers can watch ad messages on each screen, and how they want to. Almost my definition, it is different for each device.
The gender study, with charts was first noted by eMarketer. They made more of the age differences for devices than I do. It seems young consumers will always lead the way to new devices—it is a consumer rhythm built into their lives—but older consumers have by now wisely figured out that they are required to follow the trend by a sort of technological survival-of-the-fittest reality. (If I had $5 for every reluctant middle-aged Tweeter I’ve met, I’d have...well, lots and lots of money.)
So while it’s true 56% of the respondents aged 45-54 say TV is their primary source of news and entertainment, it’s pretty significant to me that 41% answer that question by citing their laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet—and these are consumers who really do remember and lived in a pre-digital world. Add up the figures of all the age groups and you see a mass market that online video makers and digital ad agencies know but that a lot of advertisers are missing badly. A lot of balking advertisers may think they’re just avoiding the online video trendoids at this point; really, they’re missing the boat.
HERE'S ANOTHER THING: This is not quite a full-fledged video online topic, but there’s an awful lot of self-righteousness out there regarding Seth MacFarlane’s performance at the Oscars, particularly his send up of full-frontal nudity, “We Saw Your Boobs.” In a tweet today, as reported by Salon.com, MacFarlane defended himself somewhat by noting his tastelessness is not exactly groundbreaking, tweaking Huffington Post’s ongoing obsession with that same area of the female body.
So far, it’s been a slow news year.