Moving Channels of Distribution

28 12 2007

I had an interesting conversation last night with a director/producer friend of mine who was speculating on just how far away the “wired household” really is. We are, he said, still so far away from ubiquitous Internet penetration, that the idea of television shrivelling away while online viewership takes over, is just laughably distant.

Today, however, comes this word from the Hollywood Reporter:

About 38 percent of U.S. consumers are watching TV shows online, 36 percent use their cell phones as entertainment devices and 45 percent are creating online content like Web sites, music, videos and blogs for others, according to a new-media survey from Deloitte & Touche.

The article, as described on Yahoo today, reported that this is an increase from 24 percent just eight months ago. That’s an astonishing 50% up in less than a year. That’s fifty percent for those of you who like their exclamatory statements in words rather than numbers. The survey said that consumers 13-to-24 years old used the phones about 62% of the time for entertainment. Gen X’ers were up to 47% from 29% (an astonishing 46%).

Among the study’s other findings:

— 54 percent of consumers said they socialize via social networking sites, chat rooms or message boards, and 45 percent said they maintain a profile on a social networking site.

— 85 percent of consumers still find TV advertising to have the most impact on their buying habits, but online ads are second best, with 65 percent of consumers saying they have the most impact, beating out magazines at 63 percent.

The really interesting things about these numbers are the high percentage of people who are creating online content. Nearly one-half. My guess is that those numbers are higher than at any point in human history. I’m trying to imagine the percentage of people I knew when I was growing up in the 70s who created media for mass consumption. I’d venture a guess at — practically none, at most 5%. With numbers like these, the “wired household” (and the demise of the traditional television distribution models) can’t be far away.

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