TV: The Movement to the Internet

The way we watch television is changing. I found myself one evening watching three episodes of different television shows on the Internet that I had missed during the week. I realized that I do this all the time and hardly ever watch my favorite shows at their aired times on traditional television; is the increasing demand and relevance of Internet TV and the use of it through On-the-Go media causing traditional TV to become obsolete? A report done by The Convergence Consulting Group claims that 800,000 Americans have cut their cable over the past two years in favor of online TV and these numbers are expected to double over the next year (Fleming, 2010). “Younger generations want programming on the go,” said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters (Taub, 2010).

It’s clear why this mobile trend is so popular. It’s easy, convenient, and most importantly, free! Utilizing this trend, consumers will be able to customize their television feeds, browse the Web while watching shows, watch programs on-demand and even control their televisions with a mobile phone (Arnold, 2011). In a new study, comprised of 1,927 people from age 12-64 this past April, done by Frank N. Magid Associates on what kind of people are watching online, a surprising 77% of U.S. Internet users were found to be watching online video with 43% viewing something weekly (Rick, 2010). I followed suit by interviewing a few of my friends around campus (18 to be exact) to get a more personal rough idea of how many people utilize Internet TV where I found even stronger results to support this.

But how does the factor of the advance of mobile technology play into this move away from traditional TV? Now people can easily watch their favorite shows on their smart-phones and iPods. Nielsen reported in a February 2009 report on mobile video viewing that the last quarter of 2008 saw an almost 10% increase in this type of media viewership (Waite, 2010). These numbers were from back in 2008; it would be hard to imagine how much they have increased in two years.

So how does the public view the potential of this growing trend? When I asked people in my interviews about the potential of this trend and the demise of traditional TV as we know it, there were mixed views. Many believed that traditional television is still viable and that networks will still produce shows and advertisers will still pay for time slots. Although Internet TV is a growing trend, innovations in traditional television are still being made; examples of this 3D television, HD, DVR, etc. Innovations such as these are becoming more common and could take away from the potential growth of Internet TV. Some described how they enjoy watching programs with others and doing this online or on-the-go makes it a solitary activity. Others, however, thought that traditional television will eventually become obsolete because people will instead be completely using online sources and mobile devices to get their TV fix. It all comes down to what consumers desire and what they’re willing to sacrifice. Whichever outcome is true the fact of the matter is, people are starting to use Internet TV sources more frequently.                           

Now the big question, “Where does advertising, the backbone of TV advertising fit into the equation?” Online advertising has many opportunities and advantages than other types of advertisements. Using the online advertisements through online television, providers will be able to market products all around the globe in a short span of time to the large global audience (laluls212, 2010). Many providers of internet-television services exist including conventional television stations that have taken advantage of online advertising. These websites remain free by using video advertising, short commercials and banner advertisements that usually play at the beginning of the show and in between breaks. “Online television presents a huge opportunity for advertisers because the targeting options are so much better than traditional TV. (Arnold, 2011)” However, advertisers are still increasing their ads on traditional television and are most likely not fully utilizing this option due to the fact that the corporate television giants are often slow to make changes; this will result in lost revenue opportunities. Whether or not this battle of trends between Internet TV and traditional television is hurting the industry or helping by pushing it to be better is up in the air.

Whichever way the situation with online television and on-the-go devices is looked at, the simple fact is that new, innovative types of media that give us the ability to consume wherever and whenever we please is extremely desirable. At the moment, traditional TV is still a viable source of entertainment due to its stability and enduring nature, however, as the trend continues to gain popularity, it is likely that this will change. The integration of this technology could be viewed as either a threat to the industry, resulting in the obsolescence of traditional television and advertising, or as a potential advantage and a chance to diversify the industry and create new money making opportunities. Regardless of the result, we as viewers will be intently watching.

  1. Arnold, J. (2011, January 14). 10 trends for online marketers in 2011. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217923

2.   Fleming , R. (2010, April 16). New report shows people dropping cable tv for web broadcasts. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/new-report-shows-that-more-and-more-people-are-dropping-cable-tv-in-favor-of-web-broadcasts/

3.    laluls212. (2010, June 23). Online advertising using web banners [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://guides.wikinut.com/Online-Advertising-Using-Web-Banners/9i4wve0k/

4.    Rick, C. (2010, April). Online video viewing trends [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.reelseo.com/online-video-viewing-trends/

5.    Taub, E.A. (2010, February 14). Local tv for devices on the move. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/business/media/15mobile.html

6.    Waite, J. (2010, March 1). Television in 2010: viewing trends and the impact of the internet [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2744173/television_in_2010_viewing_trends_and.html?cat=2

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