Defined by a Screen

I grew up with TV. My eyes prefer a larger screen. I focus on what I watch. I can’t multitask between screens and I have no tolerance for audio from multiple devices chiming at me concurrently. Who can even watch stuff on a tiny screen? Well, plenty do.

chet tv picWhen one watches TV as much as I do, it’s indeed tough to break the habit.

Sports, public television, movie classics, local and national news and weather — I consume a lot of content. Habitually, when I wake up, the TV comes on. When I go to bed, the TV goes off … unless I fall asleep first.

And while laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets (and movie screens) are also a part of my life, for work, info in transit, games and entertainment, it’s the home television that is my preference to consume content. I’m less scheduled to the TV these days than I used to be thanks to on-demand programming and the media bingeing that goes with it. However, I’m still, most of the time, passively engaged nonetheless by whatever channel is programmed to send to me at whatever hour of day or night.

It’s a matter of demographics. I grew up with TV. My eyes prefer (or were trained to prefer) a larger screen. I’m immersed in TV as if it’s a miniature experience inside a movie theater. I focus on what I watch. I can’t multitask between screens and I have no tolerance for audio from multiple devices chiming at me concurrently. Who can even watch stuff on a tiny screen?

Well, plenty do.

As reported by eMarketer, “Millward Brown, which surveyed — via smartphone or tablet — more than 13,500 16- to 45-year-old multiscreen users across 42 countries, found that half of all video viewing happens on TV sets — split between live TV and on-demand TV. The other half comprises mainly mobile devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Smartphones take the largest digital share, encompassing 22 percent of total daily time spent viewing video.”

Personally, I prefer my TV at home — I like to watch the world when I’m outside my house. Mobile video, however, is exploding. The survey states, “The rise in mobile video viewing is part of a larger transition to multiscreen usage. In fact, mobile users worldwide spend 52 percent of their daily internet and viewing video time on mobile phones. To compare, the share of daily time spent with computers makes up 21 percent, while TV accounts for 27 percent.”

Less tethered. Less structured. Less scheduled. Smaller screens. More on demand, with one exception. What’s happening to video content today is largely leaving me behind.

But, not for long.

Those other devices are creeping more and more into my leisure mainstream.

  • When I watch sports on TV, the tablet concurrently gives me real-time stats.
  • When a TV commercial pops on (and on and on), I clear my email on my smartphone.
  • I use caller ID to screen calls — and often send a text in response.
  • I reach for a mobile app when I hear a song on the TV (or radio) and I want to download it later.
  • And four out of five TV breaks most often involves Words With Friends or some other tiny screen pursuit.

I’m really getting tired of paying $200 per month for cable triple package, plus $170 per month for a smartphone/tablet and mobile wifi — and watching my 15 gigabytes of monthly data get chewed up in one or two movie downloads. This is not sustainable and it’s pretty dumb not to do something about it.

You know what I’m gonna do? I’ll look to cut the cord tomorrow, because right now I’ve got to get back to my program.

Author: Chet Dalzell

Marketing Sustainably: A blog posting questions, opportunities, concerns and observations on sustainability in marketing. Chet Dalzell has 25 years of public relations management and expertise in service to leading brands in consumer, donor, patient and business-to-business markets, and in the field of integrated marketing. He serves on the ANA International ECHO Awards Board of Governors, as an adviser to the Direct Marketing Club of New York, and is senior director, communications and industry relations, with the Digital Advertising Alliance. Chet loves UConn Basketball (men's and women's) and Nebraska Football (that's just men, at this point), too! 

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