Commentary

Cheap Big-Screen Video Sets? Go Further - Mark Down The 'TV' Modifier

Ditch those big home TV-video screens. Video consumption might be getting smaller -- at least according to one closely watched young consumer group.

A recent Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) report says 6% of U.S. households watch TV “exclusively” on mobile devices -- which is a million more than in 2022. 

Smart TV set prices may not be the issue. Currently the cost for a discounted big-screen/smart TVs is around the cost of dinner for two in many upscale mid-market big-city restaurants.

That may not be the most significant trend in the media these days. But think long-term.

Looking on a slightly more granular level, heavy mobile phone activity is centered around young consumers' desire to have personal/private video time -- something that is, of course, very transportable in the digital age.

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It's not just mobile phone usage -- it pairs with other media activities. Younger viewers have pushed for big changes in streaming, especially as the market has matured, according to the study.

In 2023, 62% of younger households (18-54) had three or more streaming services, with nearly half of those homes also subscribing to advertising video-on-demand service. 

Younger households were also more likely than older households to add subscription and shift tiers within streamers -- perhaps going to cheaper ad-supported options. Older subscribers (55+) in households took a more drastic approach: Cancel SVOD platforms outright.

The authors of the study say: “The rise of device-only TV households highlights the need to redefine the basis of TV audience measurement to include all households consuming TV signals.”

Looking at all this, the ARF continues to recommend a move from traditional TV measurement, ‘TV Households,’ to the more comprehensive ‘TV-accessible’ households.

I reckon they should go further. When will the ARF move for the complete abandonment of the term ‘TV’ it applies to that one big home device?

Cross-media, comprehensive measurement is surely necessary. Perhaps the next step should be to eliminate certain media distribution names and products. We could add ‘TV’ to the list that includes video cassettes, eight tracks, and DVDs. 

And I'm wondering whether it's time to do more discounting on the "TV" word association. AI platforms might have a suggestion.

Think of the future -- MoffettNathanson Research says the time viewing of 2-to-17-years-old viewers for TV programs is down a massive 86% from 2015. 

How many 17-year-olds utter the word “TV” these days, anyway?

2 comments about "Cheap Big-Screen Video Sets? Go Further - Mark Down The 'TV' Modifier".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, June 24, 2024 at 7:47 p.m.

    I'll always call it TV which will never go away no matter what research & study groups say the smallest device I'd ever watch TV on would be a tablet no way I'd watch on a smartphone too small in my opinion. I prefer the old-fashioned TV that is where I watch my shows & sports on the big screen. 

  2. Jim Meyer from Golden Square, June 25, 2024 at 3:15 p.m.

    Thanks for a good article. "When will the ARF move for the complete abandonment of the term ‘TV’ it applies to that one big home device?" We already have! That's the point. With a few exceptions in the interest of editorial flow, our DASH reports use “TV” to mean “TV signal or content” and “TV set” to refer to the "big home device." - Jim Meyer, General Manager, ARF DASH

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