TV Viewership Declines Across All Demos

Traditional viewership for long-form video content, such as movies and television on a TV screen, has declined over the past year -- and not just with young viewers.

In a new survey, Accenture says there was a 13% drop worldwide and an 11% decline in the United States. Even looking at live TV viewing -- specifically at sports programming -- there have been cutbacks in usages on the traditional TV screen, 10% globally and 9% in the U.S.

Virtually all age brackets witnessed declines worldwide. Those 55 and older have seen a 6% cutback for movie/TV show content on the big screen and a 1% drop in sports programming. That said, younger viewers -- 14- to-17-year-olds -- have seen a steeper declines, down 33% for movies/TV shows worldwide and 26% for sports TV content.



Eighteen- to-34-year-old viewers have pulled back 14% for movies/TV and 12% for sports programming; those 35-to-54 gave up movies/TV by 11% and for sports, 9%.

Accenture says 89% of consumers watch long-form video on connected devices. But this isn’t entirely good news. More than half -- 51% -- say watching online video was a poor experience due to Internet services. Some 42% complained of too much advertising and 33% about buffering of video -- the time it takes for video to start playing. Thirty-three percent said there was a loss of sound or distortions during play.

New TV service entrants will not necessarily have an advantage over traditional TV players.

“New entrants, regardless of their brand, will have to prove their service quality to consumers to capture significant market share,” stated Gavin Mann, Accenture’s global broadcast industry lead. Accenture says new TV brands, like Apple, Netflix and Google, scored significantly lower than traditional broadcasters.

Accenture says research was conducted online in October and November 2014, with 24,000 consumers in 24 countries.

10 comments about "TV Viewership Declines Across All Demos".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 14, 2015 at 4:21 p.m.

    Before one accepts such findings it is important to examine their basis. I assume that this is the result of some sort of polling where people were asked about the amount ot time thay spent with various forms of TV/video. Respondents are often far from precise---or accuracy---in such studies and until corroborary evidence is offered from meterized studies, I wouldn't read too much into them. Still, the slow but steady shift towards alternative platforms must be recognized by the "traditional" program players as a sign of the times and a signal that targeting "mass" audiences, as they have been doing, may require some serious rethinking. Today's "mass" audience is actually a conglomeration of many selective interest mindsets. Until that obvious fact is recognized, more defections---in terms of frequency of viewing, first, and later, total reach, will ensue. The remedy is a more diverse program menu, including a fair share of edgier, more realistic content, coupled  with novel, more intellectually engaging formats and scheduling practices. For example, if one segment of the audience likes what is dubbed "binge" viewing, why not cater to it, periodically, by scheduling three episodes of a series in a row---on the same evening----and see if that aproach gains traction?

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, April 14, 2015 at 7:26 p.m.

    Agreed Ed.   It sounds like the self-assessed research that found that 81% of people are 'above average' drivers.

  3. Ruby Gottlieb from The Media Advisory, April 14, 2015 at 8:19 p.m.

    But it got you to read the article which is all MediaPost cares about!

  4. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, April 15, 2015 at 9:20 a.m.

    "Seroius rethinking" is a byproduct of having no clear meaningful strategy for innovation and audience aggregation. A legacy business historically using lobbying to implement favorable laws cannot sustain itself on a technology enabled landscape where the power of choice is at the fingertips of the many that just don't buy the valur proposition of the payTV bundle. Advertising is the canary in the coal mine.

  5. David Mountain from Marketing and Advertising Direction, April 15, 2015 at 1:29 p.m.

    But doesn't this just prove that TV Shows Are Dead? As somone who's made the rent with lots of dead stuff (email, banners, blogging, et al) for a long time, it seems only fair to see other parts of Adland get the same kind of Trenchant Analysis.

  6. Donald Napoli from St. Joseph County Public Library, April 15, 2015 at 3:16 p.m.

    Some popular TV programs have so many commercials in between its bits of content that I think many people have given up on watching TV. There is often more commercial time than their is content. Cable TV is the worst in this respect and my family has seriously considered canceling our subscription. I've gotten to the point where I instinctively mute the sound when the commercials start.

  7. Martin Focazio from EPAM Systems, April 15, 2015 at 4:16 p.m.

    There's this thing called a "heat curve" - it describes how materials abruptly change state (solid to liquid, liquid to gas). It also nicely defines how technlogical disruption works.

    The TV business was clearly starting to boil with disruption last fall, when a friend of mine called. He is definitively not a "technical" guy - he works in law enforcement, loves fishing, has kids, is middle-aged, does not know OTT from ABC.   He calls me up, annoyed about his increasing  cable bill -and asks me if there's "Some way to get TV on my TV without all these commercials I have to pay for and channels I never watch."  It was a tipping point.

    So I gave him an extra Roku box I had, showed him the scores of Fishing channels and religion channels they have, linked his Amazon Prime account to the box, etc. He dropped cable.

    Just last week I was over at his place, he's telling me that he has 4 Roku boxes, he loves them and between Amazon Prime, Amazon TVOD, Sling TV and his smattering of Fishing shows, he's actually paying almost the same on a monthly basis for LESS programming. But he's much happier with his 90% on-demand, commerical-light media experience, and he absolutely loves buying a "season pass" on Amazon for a few shows.

    If it was just him, I'd say, OK, sample size of one, but  I see a real shift in behavior of adults in my community and social circles - a definitive, permanent "opting out" of most ad-supported mass media.  But social circles are self-selecting and all then I move into my work life...and that's where I see the shift up close and personal.

    There's a real drop-off in traditional viewing - it's not anecdotal. It has bottom line impact and it's expressed in where dollars are being spent on (or removed from) budgets. It's not an illusion.

    And right now, as the pot starts to boil, some companies have realized that TV is increasingly looking and sounding like eCommerce, with automation and performance-based metrics that would be familiar to anyone in retail.

    Ultimately, you follow the money.  I look at all of the places where the revenue growth curve is up and to the right and I remember all the times in the last 22 years I heard people tell me that X industry "is different" and that "people won't change their habits, because the online replacement is inferior."  But in the end, TV is a multibillion dollar industry that is about to undergo a massive disruption, and after all is said and done, it will be a multibillion dollar industry. The only question is in 5 years which logos will be associated with what we used to call the TV business? I suspect 60% will be the same as today - but the other 40% will be the result of dramatic, wrenching changes. Some huge company is going to have a "Kodak Moment".

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 15, 2015 at 4:27 p.m.

    @David, while it is true that the amount of commercialization has increased steadily, albeit slowly, over the years and some shows are certainly clogged with ads and other promotioinal matter, on average only 25% of commercial TV's content consists of ads and another 2-5% is allocated tp PSAs or prmomtional announcements.Since the influx of non-program content has developed slowly most viewers have become accustomed to it; some avoid the ads more aggressively than before, but others don't. In fact, many advertisers now use humor or other engaging devices, rather than the "hard sell" to capture attention, as they know that their commercials can have entertainment values that mitigate against avoidance. Bottom line: Nielsen has not shown anything like the huge spike in commercial avoidance that is sugested by some of the posters on this forum.

  9. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 15, 2015 at 4:35 p.m.

    @Martin, there has been a relatively small decline in "traditional" TV viewing but it's true that more may develop----providing alternative platforms can supply enough interesting content ( which remains to be seen ). However, the declines you speak of, are, so far, hardly of a "sharp" nature, even among Millennials", who represent only 25% of the average TV show's viewers to begin with. As I noted, above, this may change----providing alternative sources offer a lot more worthwhile content than is now the case and the broadcast networks and cable channels sit idly by, in effect, fiddling while Rome burns. Somehow, I don't think that will happen----but I could be wrong.

  10. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc., April 19, 2015 at 2:10 p.m.

    Interestingly, no one discussed the methodology. Why was a "study" of this nature even needed? It was conducted online in 24 ccountries. Ok, so we can assume the US stats were taken out of this study and represented the US only, can we? Not sure as all the numbers are simply quoted as fact. It was conducted online during October and November 2014. Ok, so that also means that there is a bias to those who actually will take an online survey. (I do this stuff for a living, as much as we may say it's a wash, it's not.Trust me, I play a data scientist on TV.)

    Ok, next we have to realize that this whole thing was done by recall. Recall against what? What are the two points against which the decline has been measured? And how about this simple fact. Why do a study of this nature at all? Why ask opinions on one medium about another? Why not just look at two real calendar data points in the Nielsen sample and measure the difference for all these demos? Or in the other countries, same thing, use your own nation's ratings currency. I have done studies like this in the US (and other countries using ratings data for years. As it is the only currency that counts in the long runm why reinvent the wheel?

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