Have TV Viewing Habits Changed?

Have TV Viewing Habits Changed?

Whether it’s called the “boob tube,” “telly,” or even “baby-sitter”, a TV by any other name is still a TV. And the talk on the street says that television is a dying medium, people aren’t interested in television, and everything is online.

Yet, the television remains one of the main hobbies of many people, rich or poor, educated or not. Companies still advertise heavily on television with the assumption that the average American spends at least several hours each day (or night) glued to the television set.  Viewers still want to know how the next episode of American Horror Story will turn out, what new recipe Martha Stewart has for this season, and if their favorite singers will stay on till the end in The Voice. Not to miss are the World Series, Superbowl, and other special programs often watched with friends, pizza, and cans of beer.

The question is not what people watch. TV shows are here to stay whether on cable or regular networks. The bigger concern is how people are watching TV nowadays. Given today’s technology, there are actually many alternatives available to access your favorite TV show, from cable to pay-per-view to live streaming. Some are free while others require regular subscriptions.

So what are some recent trends in television viewing? Nielsen and other surveys have come up with the following findings, some quite expected while others are mind-boggling.

• The majority of people age 35 or older, still turn to television to get news. However, younger people (Gen Y and Z) tend to resort to digital and online sources like CNN to catch the daily happenings.

About 75% of homes still have at least one TV set for regular viewing and for playing DVDs or video games.

Many young adults are dropping paid subscriptions (cable or satellite) for the cheaper Internet TV.

Some homes have reported to using the Roku box that connects to a wireless network and plugs into a TV set. This gives access to more than 100 cable channels. Only a few of the channels charge monthly fees for viewing their programs.

Some viewers use game consoles, tablets, PCs and Blu-ray players to access Internet videos.

Many prefer live streaming only because it is much cheaper than cable or satellite, and because the shows can be viewed in places that would have been impossible if a TV were used, such as airports, beaches, and parks. Viewers can easily access shows with their tablets and smartphones.

Cost and technology are the two main factors for the changing trends in TV watching habits. People are questioning why they have to pay between $50-$250 per month for traditional cable when modern technology allows access to free or low-cost TV shows and movies online. It’s no wonder that many viewers are cutting the cord.

So is this really the end of broadcast television? Not necessarily, as there are still many viewers who would rather be flipping through cable or satellite channels with their remotes than having to look them up on YouTube or other online sources.

The trends are just eye-openers to cable, satellite providers, and networks that today’s viewers are more prudent about money and conscious about convenience. It’s time that providers and networks figure out more attractive and less costly viewing packages, as TV viewers are only willing to spend if they get their money’s worth.

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