Even as the U.S. approaches the tipping point in which half of households no longer subscribe to linear TV services, new research released this morning finds that nearly half of internet users worldwide already have abandoned it altogether.
The findings, which are self-reported, are based on interviews with 54,000 internet users across 28 countries conducted by Ampere Analysis, which estimates that 45% no longer watch linear TV of any kind.
That's more than double the 22% who said they had given up linear TV two years ago.
The bright side, of course, is that most of those internet users have simply shifted one distribution platform (broadcast or subscription television services) for another (streaming, OTT, CTV, VOD services).
The analysis doesn't address what, if any, of the shift is due to internet users abandoning TV-ish programming altogether, in favor of other options: short-form user-generated video, social media apps, games, etc., but it's clear that we are approaching a period in which the majority of consumers worldwide are nonlinear in their use of media overall.
I'm not sure what the long-term implications of that are, but as someone who has been gradually cutting the cord for the past year, I was alarmed to find out that 14 years after the U.S. shifted to digital broadcast spectrum, I can't even receive one commercial broadcast signal vis a vis a state-of-the-art digital antenna (unless I install a 30-foot tower to mount it on).
This troubles me for a number of reason, including potentially national security ones.
Last week I received a press release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announcing that it had struck a deal with subscription satellite radio service SiriusXM providing "connectivity" of FEMA's "Integrated Public Alert & Warning System to Americans capable of receiving satellite radio signals.
In other words, I can no longer access a FEMA emergency broadcast signal via alerting me of natural or potentially unnatural disasters on my TV set, but I can access them via my digital satellite radio receiver, if I had one.
And yes, I know FEMA also has the ability to send alerts to mobile phones and over the internet, but if something really bad went down, I'm not sure how reliable mobile transmitters and internet servers might be, which is why I still have a battery-operated AM/FM transistor radio in my go bag.