I’ve heard it said that back when there wasn’t much competition for broadcast TV, soap operas got away with a lot of “adult” content because daytime viewers were usually home alone. Once-loaded topics such as pre-marital sex, extra-marital affairs or interracial romance were there for them to handle, if they wanted.
Home-alone moms weren’t required to be offended because their sons or daughters or husbands weren’t watching. In prime time, it was a different story. As a result, story lines on soap operas were riskier, earlier.
I thought about that again today reading the highlights from a new study from Adroit Digital titled “Online Video — Look Who’s Watching Now” that contains this nugget: 70% of those polled said they usually watched video content alone, and only 30% of the time did they choose to share.
This may mean nothing at all, but could mean that whatever predilections you might have—that, let’s say, your spouse may not—can be accommodated by the small screen/small world at your command. That could be kinky or illicit. Or it may mean you can watch a Cleveland Indians game on MLB.tv (yes, that’s odd), while your spouse watches a video montage of grisly, violent videos.
Whatever. In those moments of private viewing, content of the sort that once brought the whole family, or a couple, together, has become, instead, another way to stay apart.
The Adroit study is not filled with shattering information. It surveyed 2,000 people (34% of them between the ages of 18-24, and 37% between 25-34, so this sampling is pretty young).
One particular non-shocking observation: 63% of them would quit cable tomorrow if their online provider could fulfill their broadcast TV viewing needs (just 63%?).
Also, you won’t need nitro pills nearby to read that 68% of them consume YouTube videos and 49% of them subscribe to Netflix.
The survey is a little more remarkable about how much streaming video they watch. Adroit says 28% watch at least 15 hours or more online per week, and the age group doing the most viewing were the 35-44s. Among the “power-watchers” (Adroit’s term), 24% are 18-24s and (surprise here) that’s the same percentage of super-viewers who are 45 or older. Oh, the impatience of middle-age!
Those old folks are full of surprises—there’s a phrase you don’t hear much these days. Asked if they are likely to watch the ads in DVRed TV show, or choose to skip past them, 49% of all respondents say they’ll choose to fast-forward. But the age group most likely to skip are, again, those frisky 45+ people. Who knows what's going on in their heads?
With online ads, 56% say they are likely to skip most ads if possible with youngest online viewers leading that pack with 64%. Quizzically, respondents 25 to 34 are least likely to skip (24%).