Surprise Surprise…TV Viewing Is Declining

Earlier this week I decided to cancel my Comcast (CMCSA) subscriptions, switching instead to Covad’s ADSL2 service, which is faster, for now. I didn’t even think twice about switching off my cable service, because frankly with the exception of baseball games and ESPN, I didn’t really watch regular old TV, opting instead to buy videos on the iTunes store or watch DVDs from NetFlix (NFLX).

2ipods.jpgApparently, I am not in the minority. A new IBM (IBM) survey of consumer digital media and entertainment habits shows that personal Internet time now rivals TV time.

About 19 percent of those who responded to the survey said they spend six hours or more per day on personal Internet usage, vs. 9 percent who reported the same levels of TV viewing. 66 percent reported viewing between one and four hours of TV per day compared with 60 percent who reported the same levels of personal Internet usage.

“Consumers are demonstrating their desire for both wired and wireless access to content: An average of 81 percent of consumers surveyed globally indicated they’ve watched or want to watch PC video, and an average of 42 percent indicated they’ve watched or want to watch mobile video,” said Bill Battino, communications sector managing partner in IBM’s global business services group.

While the findings shouldn’t come as a surprise to our readers, it is important to point out that the video market is going through a shift similar to what happened in the mobile world when kids started replacing their landline phones with mobiles because of the portability. As more and more people want their video portable, a comparable change is occurring in the video world. Saul Berman, who focuses on entertainment strategy and change at IBM, noted:

“The Internet is becoming consumers’ primary entertainment source. The TV is increasingly taking a back seat to the cell phone and the personal computer among consumers age 18 to 34. Just as the ‘Kool Kids’ and ‘Gadgetiers'(1) have replaced traditional landlines with mobile communications, cable and satellite TV subscriptions risk a similar fate of being replaced as the primary source of content access.”

Other key findings of the survey:

* 24 percent of U.S. respondents reported owning a DVR in their home and watching at least 50 percent of television programming on replay.
* In the UK, nearly a third of users who watch mobile TV reduced their standard TV set viewing patterns as a result of new mobile device services.
* In Germany, of those respondents who had watched mobile video, 23 percent said they prefer to view user-generated content.
* 9 percent of German and 7 percent of U.S. respondents claim to have contributed to a user-generated content site