U.S. News and World Report April 9, 2007 (Pg. 46) had an interesting article on how the TV networks are using web-streaming to gain audiences by putting existing episodes of programs on the web – available in some cases by Itunes downloads and in others on their own website. For example, I just went to the ABC-TV website, clicked on “watch TV episodes now”, downloaded their web player and choose LOST as the one of 20-30 shows. I had several ones to choose from – the most recent April 11th!
Networks are just now realizing that allowing free streaming of their content is a plus – 78% of online viewers on NBC-TV’s streaming site have viewed an episode they missed on broadcast TV, 26% have watched on episode they originally viewed on TV and 34% when online to see a show they have never seen before! Networks are realizing that they have lost the 18-34 year old male (and the advertising dollars targeting him) and this is one to reach individuals who do not sit and watch TV. Advertising revenue jumped to $410 million in ’06 – an increase of 82% over ’05.
More than just convenience, fewer people are spending the time to sit for an evening in front of the TV. If they do, they “zap” the commercials out with digital video recorders or “TiVo it”. A visit to ABC’s site reveals that one can watch a program on Saturday night or see it online (on demand) from Monday onwards!
If eyeballs are the currency of the broadcast world, engagement is becomming the currency of the online one. Engagement in this case in the development of online communities of viewers who are passionate about a specific program. These online communities consist of blogs by the characters and chat rooms for the most part but stimulate viewer’s blogs also. This concept follows on to some of my other posts on Word of Mouth, Social networking and the popularity of these communication approaches in Asian countries.
IMPLICATIONS: This phenomena is not just US oriented. In a blog by a rather urban Filipino, Martin Perez about a study on technology and Filipino life I quote: Traditional forms of media are virtually obsolete to my brother and I because we often find them late and outdated. All I know about music, movies and comics I get from the pulse of the blogosphere. I no longer listen to the radio because it doesn’t play the music I want — that’s what the iPod is for. And I download all the TV shows I watch because I want to watch them when they come out. Basically the study ventures into the question of whether technology has made us less of a family. Individually, we answered with a resounding, “No.” As a matter of fact, technology has made us closer. So, how do we reach the Perezes of the Philippines? Certainly not by tradition means! Just as the networks are moving to the online world, we, as Christians, need to find ways to use the web to create online communities that will move people to Christ!