Create a free account to continue

xOD Capsule - August 10, 2005

xOD Capsule Newsletter CED Broadband Direct Current Issue Subscriptions August 10, 2005

xOD Capsule Newsletter CED Broadband Direct Current Issue Subscriptions August 10, 2005


The fact that homes with Internet connections (high-speed or otherwise) watch less television is hardly earth-shattering news. Just about anyone reading this can recognize that much just based on their own experiences.

But just how much time the Internet saps away from the television has been the bigger question, and one that Forrester Research has tried to answer with its recent "State of Consumer Technology Adoption" report. According to a Forrester survey of more than 68,000 households, high-speed users in North America watch two fewer hours of TV each week than homes without Internet access. Among homes that connect through syrupy slow dial-up connections, the difference drops to 1.5 hours.

Further, Forrester broke down consumer attitudes toward technology as "optimists" and "pessimists." Optimists, the report explains, include people who are more apt to use and enjoy the options that technology affords them, including streaming media, playing video games and visiting blogs.

After this info hit the wires, Chicken Littles flooded the boards with the same tired "death of TV as we know it." Once again, everything had to be lumped into a big "winner" pile and a big "loser" pile. The reality, of course, is that there will be multiple winners, and maybe a loser here and there. I seriously doubt linear TV will be among the latter. It just won't enjoy as much of the pie as it used to. Despite the evolving ad models, TV as we know it will continue on. And those broadband users? It's likely that they are spending time away from the TV streaming other forms of video…and receiving those ad impressions that keep the video world spinning just the same.

And those two hours of TV viewing that have disappeared? Broadband users are still watching 12 hours of TV per week, so clearly their lives haven't changed that much. Last I checked, analog radio is still around despite television, despite satellite radio, and despite the Internet. It may be weaker than it once was, but no one expects to wake up one morning and discover that the radio waves we grew up with just vanished in the middle of the night like the Baltimore Colts. Same goes for TV.

But DVRs and video-on-demand, whether through a cable operator or the Internet, will certainly alter, but not completely change, the way we watch television, and this is hastening targeted and interactive advertising. There is a wave of change coming, but it's becoming more and more likely that the television world will be ready to face it when it arrives.

?Jeff Baumgartner

Enhanced basic: Comcast's Trojan horse for VOD?
Putting video-on-demand (VOD) in every customer household appears to be a big driver behind Comcast Cable's "enhanced basic" strategy.

For an additional fee, enhanced basic customers will receive a low-end digital box capable of supporting video-on-demand and an interactive program guide (IPG). Comcast has not yet disclosed pricing