Why are consumers turning away from TV ?

badmarketingIt’s not too surprising that broadcast TV ratings are down. The major networks have faced increasing competition for years from niche-interest cable channels and the better-quality programming on places like AMC and HBO.  Time Warner Cable lost 306,000 TV subscribers in Q3, and 24,000 broadband web subscribers, too.  And Tom Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications, told Wall Street analysts he was “surprised” that 1.3 million of his 5.5 million customers don’t want TV — just broadband internet. But why is this happening ?  Here are some of the reasons that consumers are drifting away from TV.A good friend of mine here in the Boston area sent me a top-line research report on why so many people are choosing to leave cable TV behind.  The findings are not really eye-opening to me because I have always felt that time is the new currency today.  Here is a list od\f the top reasons so many people are time shifting their viewing habits..

1ne: I just don’t have the time to watch my favorite shows when they’re on – With more American’s working longer hours, including commuting, they just don’t have the time to get home, eat dinner, take care of the family and watch their favorite shows.  It’s better for them to record the shows to A when THEY want to watch them.

2wo: I don’t have the time to sit through the same commercials over and over – I was surprised by the number of people who listed specific brands as intruding on their time with repetitive commercials.  Even men said that watching back to back NFL games on Sunday was “challenging” because the same commercials are repeated over and over.


3hree: Why am I paying for a channel that has so many commercials ?  Consumers have seen increases in their cable bills over the years and many are upset at the frequency of commercial breaks.  “It’s better to record them so I can skip the commercials” said a lot of people.  The worst offender was Fox but people who even watch highly rated shows like the Walking Dead or Mad Men said that the frequency of commercial breaks was troublesome.

4our: Now that I have an iPad I can watch what I want when I want – Apps like HBO and Direct TV allow people to turn downtime into entertainment time.

5ive: Advertisers are not trusted and advertising is intrusive – Enough said here.


6ix: The quality of network TV has declined – Networks are caught in a spiral of increased costs and lower viewers.

7even: My favorite TV show takes too many breaks – “I lose interest when they go off the air for awhile”, “I work all year why do TV shows have to take breaks that last for months ?”

8ight: “I would rather spend a couple of bucks purchasing commercial free versions than sit through mindless commercials”

9ine: The cost of cable has just gotten way too high compared to the Internet.

What does this all mean ?  It means that consumers want more control over on-air media and just don’t have the time for intruding advertisers whom they don’t trust.  Some networks like HBO have proven that the pay-for-subscription model can work with great series like The Pacific and Boardwalk Empire proving that content can overcome consumer complaints.  However there were a number of people who said that they stopped watching their favorite shows because of the increased use of commercials (perception).

One person remarked he liked to record NFL games because sitting through the commercials “was hell”.  We are seeing a major change in viewing habits that’s going to have an impact on all advertising.




About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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One Comment on “Why are consumers turning away from TV ?”

  1. I have been a Charter customer over 15 years….very tired of repetitive commercials and channels…I called charter asking to purchase antenns so I could terminate this toxic relationship with charter…was told, obviously, they dont sell antennas…this would cut into the thousands of charter commercials customers see instead of program
    intended…when you have a bad restaurant visit chances are you dont go back….aparently this needs to hold true for lousy service provided by charter…..wasted too much money over these years….

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